Saturday, January 19, 2008

Triple Espera

This is a collection of three short novels, No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel García Márquez, Aura by Carlos Fuentes, and Goodbyes by Juan Carlos Onetti. They are all writers from the latino 'boom.'

No One Writes to the Colonel is one of García Márquez's most popular short works. It depicts a poor, retired colonel living in an impoverished Colombian town controlled by a corrupt government. The colonel's last hope for making enough money to eat is his prized gamecock. A good novella; I also like One of These Days which is much shorter but just as good.

Aura was my favorite of the three. It's a gothic story set in Mexico City. Think Edgar Allen Poe meets Voodoo. The most interesting part is that it's written in second person. "You wake up." "You read an ad in the newspaper." "You take a job." "Then all sorts of crazy witch doctor stuff happens to you." It works even better in Spanish, because there are two forms of "you" that kind of signal who is talking to who.

Goodbyes is a really confusing story. It's about a guy in an insane asylum that gets letters from people. You never know what's real though. It's all about whether you trust the narrator, the characters, the letters. Probably deserves a second reading on my part.

No comments: