Now Playing: RE: finishing
Topic: January 2005
I come away from the rereading of this story marveling at the way in which Gabo's simple style, upon successive readings, reveals the complexity of human nature. I've read enough of the short work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to not be surprised with this finding. One of his shortest stories, "Tuesday Siesta," is also one of the most dense even as the narrative style remains so simple. His novella, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, reads in much the same way: easily and yet nuanced, like the story itself is a thin film hiding a much larger story. This stylistic prestidigitation is one of the main reason's why I love Gabo's work--and why some people do not love it at all.
As for fallen angels and women changed into spiders, I continue to find these curiosities engaging, but must defer to the particularity with which Gabo selected his language to tell their stories and the story of the community at large (including Elisanda and Pelayo's). To me, this remains a classic standard for magical realist short fiction, and one of the best stories for revealing the core of Gabo's worldview.
I'd like to thank Joe Benevento for his essay on teaching magical realism, which is widely read in university classrooms. From his essay, I read his deconstruction of "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," not too long after first encountering that story, and it was illuminating. I also enjoyed reading the entirety of his comparative analysis and hope you'll check out the essay for yourself.