Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Autumn of the Patriarch

I have the delight to be reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's The Autumn of the Patriarch, which is less often read than his One Hundred Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera, but very worth reading. The entire novel is one long prose poem, with neither chapter nor paragraph break, and it moves from one scene to the next with a mythic intensity. I offer a passage here to show what has delighted me and to encourage you to pick up a copy, as well, if you have not had the chance to read it. The passage is one of walking through the city -- a beautiful evocation of both the scenes of this city (its poverty and its vitality) and the mood of the observer:

...the fearsome tapestry of the woman who had been changed into a scorpion for having disobeyed her parents, the alley of misery of women without men who would emerge naked at dusk to buy blue corbinas and red snappers and exchange mother-directed curses with the women selling vegetables while their clothes were drying on the carved wooden balconies, he smelled the rotten shellfish wind, the everyday light of the pelicans around the corner, the disorder of the colors of the Negro shacks on the promontories of the bay, and suddenly there it was, the waterfront, alas, the waterfront, the dock and its spongy planks, the old battleship of the marines longer and gloomer than truth....

There are some writers that it is a crime not to read, and read fully.

3 comments:

Howie G said...

This book is awful. I got suckered into writing a study guide about it. It is horrible. No grammar, pure existentialism. Cut the crap, and tell me what is good about this freaking book?

Dante's Heart said...

Sorry you feel that way, Howie.

Ilia Stanchev said...

What is the grammar,Howie?