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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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1,077127,750 (3.69)63
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 and Other Stories by Gabriel García Márquez (1961)


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
overall this was just alright for me, with some definitely brighter spots. most notably, most of the title story and the connections between some of these stories with each other and with one hundred years of solitude. (some of the stories take place in the town of macondo, and he mentions colonel aureliano buendia in 3 or 4 of the stories and jose arcadio buendia in 2 of them. i enjoy that wink at readers.) i found that the ending to many of these stories was jarring, in a way that i didn't like. not sure if that's his writing (as i felt it was when reading it) or me. even the title story, that i liked, ended in a way that was weird, but representative of the book. but enough parts were good to make this an ok read. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Mar 12, 2016 |
No One Writes to the Colonel Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This is a novella about a Columbian man living in poverty with his asthmatic wife, known as the Colonel he has been waiting every Friday for 15 years for the postman to bring him the war pension promised to him, every week the money fails to arrive.

As if the fact that he and his wife are slowly starving to death their only son has been killed for passing secret messages and all they have left of him is a fighting cock, a cock that needs to be fed and cared for. The Colonel struggles with what to do about the cock as its all he has left of his son and as a fighting cock it could be worth real money but with 2 months to go before the fight who will get priority in terms of food?

The Colonel is living on hope and the generosity of neighbours but it is not enough and the end is looking bleak for him and his wife.

I am not a fan of the short story genre and this is no exception, there is not enough time to get to know the Colonel and his wife or to understand the politics that have lead them to the situation there are in. This novel gives the reader a brief insight into a very short period of time in the Colonels life and that insight is bleak.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
A very quick read - took me about an hour- and one of those interesting stories in which nothing ever happens. The colonel is waiting for his pension to arrive and has been for the past 15 years. Meanwhile however he and his wife are slowly starving and are unable to sell any more of their property as they have none left. Their son was killed nearly a year previously, leaving them a fighting rooster upon which the family are depending. If they survive until it's fighting season that is… ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
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 |
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!" ( )
2 vote msjohns615 | Aug 20, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
García Márquez, Gabrielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alin, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bernstein, J. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cicogna, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leiva Wenger, AlejandroForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puccini, DarioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stentvång, EvaAfterwordsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -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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