Amy Reads Books

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gregory Rabassa, Gabriel García Márquez So, about a month ago The Book People was running a promotion where you could buy the complete works of Garcia Gabriel Marquez for £9.99. I'd really wanted to read Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude, and so it seemed like a reasonably good deal to collect the whole set. I picked Chronicle of a Death Foretold up first because it was reasonably short and had some good write-ups on it. I was a little unsure as to what to expect, but I did really enjoy this novel.From the very beginning the reader knows that Santiago Nasar is going to be murdered by Pablo and Pedro Vicario. The motive for this crime is the return of Angela Vicario to her home on the night of her wedding when her new husband, Bayardo San Roman, discovers that she is not a virgin. Angela names Santiago as the 'perpetrator', and so Pablo and Pedro decide to avenge her honour.You would think that knowing the entire plot of a novel from about the first page would make the reading of the rest of the book seem pointless. However, Marquez manages to keep the novel compelling, through the protaganist's (an unnamed friend of Santiago) search to discover the truth about what happened to his friend, and why it took place. This means that almost every person in the small town where the murder took place has a say in what they thought happened; from workers at the market where Pablo & Pedro were seen sharpening knives, to Santiago's mother, to Pablo & Pedro themselves and even Angela herself. It is certainly interesting to see the basic plot seen from different ways, and to get into the heads of numerous characters and perspectives. Plus, Garcia Marquez also touches on issues of community guilt; in many cases the community at large agreed with the actions of the Vicario twins, however, certain individuals attempted to warn Nasar, yet didn't for various reasons, many are still haunted by their inaction some years later.Chronicle of a Death Foretold also raises some interesting ideas (at least to me) about sexual activity. The very fact that a woman is expected to be a virgin on her wedding night says something about the society (the novel takes place some time in the past), as does the fact that there is a brothel, where a prostitute is said to be responsible for the majority of the young men losing their virginity when they were around 16. Further, it is seen that the women who work in the brothel are mixed-race (so seemingly, it's okay for them to have sex with many men, because they wouldn't be seen as 'pure' anyway) and also that men such as Santiago Nasar almost expect to be able to sleep with their servants, because that's apparently the done thing.There have been many associations, at least on Goodreads, between Santiago and Jesus (apparently a common theme in Garcia Marquez's novels is to have a 'Jesus' figure, which makes me slightly less keen to read them). Whilst I see the connection (innocent man, died because of someone else's 'sin') to me, Santiago is an example of miscarriages of justice that happen every day, all over the world. His blindingly obvious innocence makes his brutal murder, which was seen by many in the town as the just thing to do, only furthers that connection for me.Ultimately, Chronicle of a Death Foretold leaves as many questions unanswered as it does answered: Why does know one know anything about Bayardo? It is almost hinted that Angela has history with him, but that's never developed. Why did Angela name Santiago at all? Was she not away of how her brothers would act? In doing this, Chronicle is a depiction of the feeling felt by many after a great tragedy: Why?