Published in 1981, the year before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, this book is slim. But I remember hearing about it, and wondered how it could be lauded so much, in comparison to One Hundred Years of Solitude or Love in a Time of Cholera, with their grandiose and sweeping narratives.
But though we don’t get to know the many characters in this book as well as in his longer novels, the stories of love, honour and fate are no less powerful because of it. Each sentence is captivating. Each of his characters, drawn at times in brushstrokes, undoubtedly have a history of their own that could be told in a separate novel.
And the way the narrative is told and retold, circles back on itself, reveals insights and then surprises: it is a magical thing. I almost feel like I should not read anything else for a while and let this book seep into my consciousness, or else just start reading it again from the beginning.