Review: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everyone in the town knew that Vicario brothers planned to kill Santiago Nasar in the morning. They weren't hesitant to tell everyone and the word-of-mouth traveled across the town in the span of hours.  Yet, in Nasar's morning venture to the town center and to the dock to witness the cardinal give his blessing on the town (from the boat), people largely were incapable of telling and protecting Nasar from the brutal death that awaited him.  Marquez's story unravels through an unnamed narrator who has returned to the town twenty-seven years later to investigate and explain why it was that Nasar dies. The narrative shifts in non-chronological order with each chapter, taking the reader from the Nasar's final walk to the mission embraced by the Vicario brothers to kill him and their efforts to get someone to stop them from committing the act to how the town reacted in the short time and long-term after Nasar's murder.  Marquez's choices are fascinating as he reveals the different parts of the story and where the story ends. The fullness of the novel raises intriguing questions about the community, the individual, the outsider, and custom; how do these intersect to create a tragedy that may have been preventable but are, as the title indicates, clearly foretold.  Published in 1981, it makes me wonder if the book was in any way inspired or influenced by the Kitty Genovese story from 1964; in truth, the story reads much like an episode of the Twilight Zone or some dark narrative about the complicity of society.

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