PatriarchThe Autumn of the Patriarch/Gabriel Garcia Marquez/Harper & Row/San Francisco/1976/269pp/Finished 10/6/7/rating 4

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is, I think, the writer of the most beautiful prose in print. But just as he is able to capture romance and beauty, in, say, Love in the Time of Cholera, his has captured in this book despair. Consequently, it was not a joy to read like others of his. It was a chore, that got more difficult as I progressed through the pages. Had it not been for a commitment to read everything Marquez has written, I would have quit a quarter of the way through. Darkness upon darkness and confusion upon confusion.

This is the story of a despotic lunatic who rules an unnamed South American country – but it is obviously Colombia, and who causes things to happen on a whim, and ends up alone and crazy and not knowing what is true from what is false and who is friend and who is foe. A very painful book to read.


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