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In Evil Hour by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In Evil Hour (original 1962; edition 1980)

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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1,191116,734 (3.56)15
Title:In Evil Hour
Authors:Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Info:Avon Books (Mm) (1980), Paperback, 183 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, colombian, translation, modern

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In Evil Hour by Gabriel García Márquez (1962)



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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A solid story with a claustrophobic, hot atmosphere; but to understand this you need to really understand a lot more about South American politics than I do to get the satirical thrust. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
A short novella for any fan of [a:Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez|13450|Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1397938106p2/13450.jpg].

Not really my favorite work of his. Or perhaps it was the translation? I don't know. I understood what was happening at a very basic level, but I think somewhere along the way the prose just didn't get to me. I found myself just reading the words rather than understanding the complexity of layers the builds upon one another. It's a story about a town, about the people, about history and violence, and about human nature. But that's all I can really say, since this text didn't speak to me as much as I had hoped it would. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
After reading Liam Howley’s The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone I felt the sudden (if not completely inexplicable) urge to read a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an author I’ve been wanting to read more of for quite some time, and as I’m a sucker for chronology, I grabbed his first published novel, In Evil Hour (only to find out later that he had published two novellas before that… ah well).

It is a very short novel but has a felt two dozen protagonists, so it is not always easy to keep everyone apart, and reading it is likely to require more attention than its language or structure might otherwise warrant. With that many characters in such a small space, you wouldn’t expect them to be fleshed out much, and indeed, they aren’t: Marquez is obviously not so much interested in portraying individuals but instead wants to give the collective portrait of a village, each inhabitant part of a whole rather than something in and of themselves.

The village itself is never named, which suggests that, just like he is not describing individual persons, Marquez’ is not to write about a specific village. Using the regional to portray the general while still staying true to regional idiosyncrasies is a method William Faulkner has perfected, and his influence is very, very noticeable here, not just in the way local peculiarities and wide-ranging allegory are folded into each other, but also in the way In Evil Hour never seems to be tackle its supposed subjects directly, but has a strange, and to me at least very Faulknerian way to write around them. The ostensible subject of the novel, what its claims its plot to be about and what keeps evens moving is a deluge of slanderous notes pinned to house walls the village is being plagued by. (The translator renders the Spanish word as “lampoon” which did seem a bit off to me, as the contents of the notes appears to be gossip rather than the satire the English term would imply.)

In Evil Hour starts off with a (literal) bang as the notes claim a first death (which will not be the last), and the main part of the novel shows how the village’s authority figures – the mayor (who, like the village, is never given a name), the judge and the priest – attempt to deal with the perceived threats to the village’s peace, attempts that lead to a downwards spiral of violence and oppression until the village finally slides back into the dictatorship it originally claimed to have left behind for a more enlightened and humane regime. While all this happens, we never get to see a single one of those notes (the only one that actually shows up is immediately torn into small pieces without the reader being told anything about its specific content), they are only referred to by others, and – of course – we never get to find out who actually posted them. The latter in particular seems to have infuriated quite a few readers, but I think it actually works in the novel’s favour, lending it a slightly off, unreal atmosphere, as if we were watching a dream unfold, a dream that inexorably descends into a nightmare.

So while there is nothing blatantly magical about In Evil Hour, it’s not simply realistic either – there is a pervasive sense of unreality shrouding the characters and events in the novel; it never really manifests itself but is felt all the more keenly precisely because of its intangibility. Even the characters themselves seem to be aware of that some times, it is like one of them occasionally lifts his or her head, wondering what it is they are doing, on the cusp of waking – only to sink back into the dream again an instant later. And here lies what appears to me to be a bit of an issue with In Evil Hour: It is undoubtedly an immensely political novel, offering what I think is a valid analysis of how power structures persist even after the circumstances and reasons that give rise to them have disappeared. But the political impetus would have to be one towards change, and for that the dreamlike quality of the novel which tinges everything with an air of fatalistic necessity seems very counterproductive. In Evil Hour demonstrates that change is necessary, while at the same time suggesting that it is impossible, thus getting in its own way and lessening its impact – although, of course, one also might read it as a profoundly bleak novel about the futility of political endeavour.
1 vote Larou | Mar 11, 2015 |
I keep trying to read GGM novels because I think they MUST be good! He must be a GREAT author. He MUST be amazing. Or he is great, but just for people smarter than me. I'm still not sure what happened in this story and I finished it! There were notices being put up on people's doors about affairs. Someone got shot. There was a mayor/police chief/military officer person...he didn't like the dentist. And there was a priest who rang a bell when he didn't want people to go see a movie. And the church had mice. Honestly though, nothing was resolved! I am so confused! If someone can explain this book to me...PLEASE do! ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 13, 2013 |
A small town, recently and brutaly ''pacified'' after a civil war, immersed in a thick, sticky, oppressively hot and humid tropical weather, is brewing a latent violence, expressed in the nightly postings of anonymous pasquines disclosing supposedly private secrets but in reality displaying gossip known to all. One of those sheets triggers the murder that is the starting point of this engaging Márquez's novel. ( )
  FPdC | May 27, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gabriel García Márquezprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cicogna, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morino, AngeloForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabassa, GegoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schalekamp, Jean A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Padre Ángel si sollevò con uno sforzo solenne. Si stropicciò le palpebre con le ossa delle mani, scostò la zanzariera di tulle e restò seduto sulla stuoia spelacchiata, assorto per un attimo, il tempo indispensabile per rendersi conto di essere vivo e per ricordare la data e il suo riscontro nel martirologio. "Martedì quattro ottobre" pensò; e disse a voce bassa: «San Francesco d'Assisi».
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060919647, Paperback)

Written just before One Hundred Years of Solitude, this fascinating novel of a Colombian river town possessed by evil points to the author's later flowering and greatness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Written just before "One Hundred Years of Solitude," this fascinating novel of a Colombian river town possessed by evil points to the author's later flowering and greatness.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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