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De kolonel krijgt nooit post by Gabriel…

De kolonel krijgt nooit post (original 1961; edition 1984)

by Gabriel García Márquez

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Title:De kolonel krijgt nooit post
Authors:Gabriel García Márquez
Info:Amsterdam Meulenhoff 1984
Collections:Your library

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No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel García Márquez (1961)


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English (12)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
The problem I have with short stories are they're short. I'm still warming up to it, dipping my toes into the story then it was finished. I do not get to love them as much as I would love if it was a full length novel. This novella/short story was actually pretty good. It was heartbreaking. Nothing happy about this and I think that was the point, Columbia was an unhappy place back then especially for the poor people because of corruption and censors. This was different from other Marquez stories I've read. None of the magic I was accustomed to but a lot of realism. This is real. This happened somewhere in time. A short masterpiece by Senor Marquez! ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 11, 2014 |
Un clásico de García Marquez. Corto de leer y muy interesante. Si quieren leer un libro acogedor, fácil y corto pero con todo lo que García Marquez significa, este es el indicado.
  juanjaimes99 | Aug 20, 2013 |
The novella and eight short stories in this collection share the same setting, some of the same characters, and the same themes, but each story is independent. The setting is in or near Macondo, the imaginary town representing the author's Colombian birthplace in many of his works.

In No One Writes to the Colonel, a retired officer and his asthmatic wife wait for years in poverty for the Colonel's promised pension. As they near starvation, the only thing of value left to them is a fighting cock that once belonged to their now-dead son. They sell their last possessions to feed the cock while they, themselves, go hungry.

The other stories are similar depictions of people who are impoverished and powerless but not without pride and hope. In "One of These Days" the local dentist gets his revenge on behalf of the people when the town's mayor develops an abscess. In "There Are No Thieves in This Town" a desperate man with a pregnant wife tries to rob the local pool hall but comes away with nothing but three billiard balls. And in "One Day After Saturday" a strange plague of dying birds convinces the local priest that the end of the world is at hand.

With just a hint of the magical realism that would soon become his trademark, these stories would be a good introduction to the work of Gabriel García Márquez. ( )
1 vote StevenTX | Mar 13, 2012 |
I remember when I was first reading Gabriel García Márquez's books many years ago, I was fascinated by how the early novels and novellas built toward 100 Years of Solitude, introducing some of the characters who would later populate the Macondo of his most famous work and developing a portrait of a Columbia burdened by years of wars and uneven, unequal progress. I was looking at my bookshelf the other day, wondering what book to read next, not wanting to bite off something too substantial since I'm in the middle of a rather demanding read (Georges Perec's La vie: mode d'emploi. I went with this short novella about a military man waiting on a pension, a colonel who served under Aureliano Buendía in the wars later documented in 100 Years of Solitude living in poor health and poverty with his wife in a nameless town in Columbia.

The colonel has a rooster inherited from his recently-deceased son that may be worth a great deal of money when the cockfights of January begin, but it's only October, and the family's money has run out. For fifteen years, the colonel has been waiting for his military pension, going down to the dock each week to wait for the mail to arrive. Unfortunately, the colonel was not on the winning side of the war, and while the armistice signed by Colonel Buendía may have led his men to believe that they would receive compensation for their years of service to a losing cause, the pensions aren't coming, and may never come. The colonel's got stomach issues, his wife's suffering from asthma, they've sold nearly everything they own (and nobody wants the clock nor the painting on the wall), and still the rooster needs his ration of corn each day if he's going to win in January. The colonel is a proud man, and everyone in town is rooting for him, especially his son's friends. How could he sell the rooster? But what else is he to do?

It's a good book, and I felt the hunger of the colonel and his wife as I lay reading it this morning, telling myself I'd wait until lunch to eat anything even though I was really hungry myself. García Márquez does a great job of conveying the little day-to-day aspects of poverty, the exact ways that clothes fall apart from too much wear and the manners through which people trick themselves and their neighbors into thinking they've got enough to get by on. Setting stones to a boil so that the neighbors will think you've got soup to eat, while the chicken is eating the corn feed that your husband bought instead of food...I also enjoyed the author's handling of the political reasons behind the colonel's plight: the lack of mail for the colonel needed no explanation, everyone in the community knows perfectly well that the colonel is not going to get his pension, and his obstinate insistence on checking the mail was equal parts admirable and pitiful. I don't believe I'd ever really thought about how civil wars end, not in the United States in the 19th century, but in a much smaller country in the first half of the 20th century. I think I had the idea that everyone just went back home and went back to life, or something like that, but here there's no life to go back to, just an interminable wait for a pension promised by the victors who twisted your leader's arm into signing an armistice treaty.

I'm glad I chose this book, because it'd been too long since I read a García Márquez book and enjoyed it. Last year I read Chronicle of a Death Foretold and found myself looking for reasons to hate it (why does everyone have to have such a colorful name in this town, why isn't anyone named José or Juan or Pedro), although looking back on it maybe I was being too harsh. I just went back and read my thoughts on that one. I wasn't quite as negative as I remembered. One thing I mentioned then that is worth remembering now is that García Márquez didn't necessarily take his books as seriously as many of his readers did. He mentions in an interview that 100 Years of Solitude is full of gestures to his closest friends and completely lacking in seriousness, and those who seek to decipher the book's contents run the risk of drawing extremely stupid conclusions. This is a little odd now that I think about it, because when I think about the portraits of Macondo and of Colombia presented in 100 Years of Solitude and other books by García Márquez, they are serious, they're full of war and violence and cyclical political struggles for power between Liberals and Conservatives. But I think what he's trying to say is, the success of his books surprises him, and he didn't necessarily set out to write books that would later be assigned such great significance and moral weight by so many people around the world. This book is serious too: the colonel and his wife are starving, they're sick and wondering whether they'll make it through the winter, and the colonel's military pension has been blocked by the ruling political party. However, it's hard to read its closing line without laughing. The book ends with a single word, a word that expresses the colonel's defiance and refusal to compromise his moral rigidity even in the face of extreme hunger. Re-reading this book, I thought: "Of course! Now I remember, that's how this book ends!" ( )
  msjohns615 | Aug 20, 2011 |
More a novella than a novel, but again a brilliant work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. From the first page the heavy tragic atmosphere is expressed. The colonel and his wife are poor and only have one rooster, a fighting rooster. It soon becomes apparent that their son is dead. It was his rooster. Will this rooster save them?

Little by little it becomes clear how the situation has become this sad. Did the stubbornness of the Colonel helped to get into this situation? Or was he just terribly unlucky?

This book shows once again the power of the writing of Marquez. The story is visual, the story is easy to read, but there is depth as well and the story is touching deeply. One Hundred Years of Solitude, remain his best work for what I read this far, but this comes close.

http://boekenwijs.blogspot.com/2011/02/de-kolonel-krijgt-nooit-post.html ( )
  boekenwijs | Feb 10, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gabriel García Márquezprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernstein, J. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cicogna, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puccini, DarioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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El coronel destapó el tarro del café y comprobó que no había más de una cucharadita.
The colonel took the top off the coffee can and saw that there was only one little spoonful left.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060751576, Paperback)

Written with compassionate realism and wit, the stories in this mesmerizing collection depict the disparities of town and village life in South America, of the frightfully poor and outrageously rich, of memories and illusions, and of lost opportunities and present joys.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:38 -0400)

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"Un viejo coronel retirado espera que la patria le compense por los servicios prestados. Pero la patria permanece muda..."---p.[4] of cover.

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