Book Review: No one Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


I love Marquez’s novels. I like the way he builds a story’s structure, plays with it, makes fun with the reader, keeps it simple but impressive and mocks us with his surreal characters.

When we were discussing with a Mexican friend he told me “I do not understand why they call Marquez surreal. The characters that he brings to life are very real for us.”

His characters are a part of Latin American beliefs, culture and history which my Middle Eastern side does not find hard to believe. Also as a sociologist, I like the way how Marquez narrates common reactions of his society to certain events. For instance, in Chronicles of a Murder, he follows a person who is going to be murdered in streets of a Columbian city. Although everyone knows (even we know from the first sentence of the book till the end) this guy is going to be murdered, people prefer to keep silent. This is not because they hate this guy but because most of them thinks that someone else will take responsibility to tell him about his fate.colonel

In No One Writes to the Colonel, we observe a waste expectation of a Columbian colonel for his retirement salary. While time passes, poverty, illness and hardships of life overcomes colonel’s and his wife’s expectation for this salary. Everyone loses their belief in his chances to get his salary while colonel keeps his faith in it.

Colonel’s long expectation reminds us that emptiness in age’s heroic sacrifaces. Although Colonel had given much for his country, as is presented tragic comic way, his efforts are not appreciated in return. This short novel is also a literal critique of the day’s politics and corruption.