Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time Cholera, The Autumn Of The Patriarch, The General In His Labyrinth, and News Of A Kidnapping. He died in 2014. This book is translated by Edith Grossman, widely recognized as the preeminent Spanish to English translator of our time.
The incantatory power of García Márquez's prose is as potent as ever in this mesmerizing story inspired by an amazing event he witnessed almost 50 years ago, as a journalist observing the transfer of burial remains from the crypt of an old convent. When one tomb was opened, ``a stream of living hair the intense color of copper spilled out.'' More than 22 meters in length, it was attached to the skull of a young girl whose body had been interred for 200 years. Remembering his grandmother's tales of a 12-year-old marquise who had died of rabies from a dog bite, García Márquez has imagined the girl's life and the circumstances of her death. As usual, the atmosphere is colored by magical realism: dreams and portents, inexplicable, miraculous events. The offspring of a melancholy, ineffectual marquis and a mother yoked to ``insatiable vices,'' Sierva María is raised by the family's West Indian slaves, who teach her the Yoruban language and magical practices. She is bitten by a rabid dog but shows no real symptoms; the local bishop, however, decides she is possessed by demons and orders her incarcerated in a convent where she will be exorcised by his gentle librarian, Father Delaura. But Delaura becomes possessed, too‘by his love for this suffering child three decades his junior. García Márquez describes the physical tortures inflicted on Sierva María as graphically as he does the rapturous‘but chaste‘love between the innocent, terrified girl and her confessor. A Jewish-Portuguese doctor says that ``killing her would have been more Christian than burying her alive.'' This tragic tale is in essence an outcry against intolerance and bigotry and an indictment of a degraded Church that used its power with narrow-minded cruelty. In the end, the power of love transcends the earthly sphere. (May)
In this new novel, already available here in Spanish (see review in "En Español," p. 77), a priest becomes passionately attached to a girl dying of rabies.
"A brilliantly moving tour de force." --A.S. Byatt, The New York Times Book Review"A work of considerable beguilement and edge. . . . Garcia Marquez retains a vital and remarkable voice, and the pen of an angel." --Los Angeles Times Book Review "Captivating. . . . Evokes the texture of a civilization, while its emotional range, from the comic to the mystical, exhibits a reach rarely found in fictions on a larger scale." --The Boston Globe"Luminous. . . . Demonstrates that one of the masters of the form is still working at the height of his powers." --The New York Times