Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel García Márquez

When newlywed Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Román are left to their wedding night, Bayardo discovers that his new wife is no virgin. Disgusted, he returns Angela to her family home that very night, where her humiliated mother beats her savagely and her two brothers demand to know her violator, whom she names as Santiago Nasar. 

As he wakes to thoughts of the previous night's revelry, Santiago is unaware of the slurs that have been cast against him. But with Angela's brothers set on avenging their family honour, soon the whole town knows who they plan to kill, where, when and why. 

Genre: Fiction, Colombian, Crime
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 1981
Rating: 3/5

Chronicle of a Death Foretold was a strange story. It follows a narrator who is recounting and attempting to reconstruct, the events surrounding the murder of his friend many years before. He does this by talking about his own memories of this day and through interviews with not only the main players in the crime, but bystanders.

Angela Vicario is courted by a man new to town, Bayardo. He decides as soon as he sees her, that he is going to marry her and she is forced to agree to this marriage, against her will, as her parents feel he is a good catch.

Little does Bayardo know, Angela is not a virgin. When he finds out that she is not  a virgin, he is outraged and drags her back to her parents house on their wedding night. Her mother beats her and her twin brothers, out of moral duty, declare they will murder the man she named as the person who took her virginity. Santiago Nasar. 

Little by little, the whole town finds out about this plan. The twins tell anyone who will listen, from shop owners to the mayor. No one takes them seriously or tries to stop them. When Santiago is killed, everyone has an excuse as to why they did not do anything... which makes me question, are the townsfolk accomplices to this crime? Does their inaction amount to a crime within itself? If not a legal crime, is it not a moral one?

It is also hinted at that Santiago could not have been Angela's lover. So who was? Did Angela just throw out any old name in order to protect someone else? 

All of these questions are explored in this novel...which makes for an interesting read. It is only 122 pages long, so I was able to read it in about an hour or so. Considering the story is about one event and the events surrounding it, Márquez was able to explore these issues quickly. The story jumps around a bit, but it is easy to follow and even though you know what is going to happen to Santiago from page one, there is still enough tension and drama in this novel to keep you reading.

It takes talent to give away the ending and main plot point of a story, on the first page, and then keep your readers reading.

If you are looking for an introduction to Márquez then this may be the best place to start, as this novel is short. I haven't read anything by him previously but have heard both good and bad reviews so I was a little apprehensive about reading this title. However, this book contained some good questions and a lot of action, which kept me interested. I would be willing to try another Novel by Márquez in the future.
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