Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Of Love and Other Demons

Gabriel García Márquez's Of Love and Other Demons is hauntingly beautiful and heart-rending to read. Set in a South American town in the 18th century, it tells the story of the life and death of Sierva Maria, the daughter of a noble whose life has fallen apart around him. She is bitten by a rabid dog, and the emotional disturbances caused by her neglected upbringing are diagnosed as rabies, and then as demonic possession. The tale leads inexorably to a tragic ending for all involved.

I love reading the works of Gabriel García Márquez - they are incredibly powerful - haunting and sad and tragic and subtly surreal, and at the end you're left with echoes of melancholy rather than ideas and plot. They need to be taken in small doses, as too much can overwhelm, so I only delve into his corpus every few years. They colour my whole mental picture of South America - I haven't read much other literature from south of the US/Mexican border, so when I think of South America, I think of sadness and lost love, of careful, gentle priests and dreaming girls, of magic and melancholy. It's a beautiful world, one I can ever visit because it only exists in García Márquez's pages.

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