Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Review

A wonderfully written little book. Marquez is obviously a master story teller but he also the the unique ability to make a story resonate with the reader long after the book is finished. Chronicle of a Death Foretold is certainly not epic on the scale of One Hundred Years of Solitude but it captures the same essence and evokes similar emotions within the reader. (There’s even a reference to Colonel Aureliano Buendia!)
I love the way Marquez wraps up his tales within the last few pages; the final depiction of the murder of Santiago Nasar is at the same time brutal and weirdly beautiful. Since this was such a quick read I’d definitely like to come back to it at some point in the future. A solid 4*.

Jorge Luis Borges: The Book of Sand – Review

I’ve been surprised to read that many people consider this as the ‘lesser Borges’. In fact I’m surprised to see so many reviews from Borges fans rating this as anything other than five stars. I’ve only read Andrew Hurley’s translation but I think what separates The Book of Sand (and Shakespeare’s Memory) from other Borges books is the intimate and personal aspect of the stories. The focus on the weary wisdom brought about by old age is what makes many of these tales so special. Almost all the stories were fascinating in their own way but in particular the ‘The Other’ and ‘August 25, 1983′ really resonated with me.

Maybe it’s because the idea of a young man being confronted with an older apparition of himself (or vice versa) puts our own trivialities into question in a way that only Borges is capable of.

Maybe it’s because the subjectivity of age really raises queries about our own selves.

Or maybe it’s merely because i’m fascinated by dreams…

I’ve loved all the Borges books I’ve read and The Book of Sand definitely stands apart from the others; it is definitely not the ‘lesser Borges’. All I know is I’m looking forward to re-reading this book again 50 years time…

‘When you next dream it, you shall be who I am, and you shall be my dream.’