Monday, July 21, 2008

Of Love and Other Demons

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 4 Number 4

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What an incredibly interesting book. It reads like a fable or a legend - the story of a South American girl, neglected by her noble parents and raised by her own African slaves. She is bitten by a rabid dog, and is subsequently believed to be possessed with a demon. She is taken to a convent for help, and immured in the strange, hostile, Catholic mixture of religion and superstition. The young ascetic priest, sent to the convent to prepare her for exorcism, falls prey to her magnetic beauty. The pair fall in love, and plan to escape together from the convent before the exorcism can take place.

This is a strange story. It's full of the kind of weird, miraculous occurrences that one feels could only take place in South America....or maybe in the Caribbean. There are voodoo rituals, animal sacrifices, plagues, odd languishing fevers, plants behaving in peculiar ways. There is an uneasy sense of wonder, a desire for it to be true and a fear that it might be. The characters are fascinating, but I wasn't sure why I was so attracted to them - was it because they were well-drawn, with a kind of reality that catches the interest? or is it the sensation you feel when you're driving past the scene of an accident and you're pretty sure you just saw a body bag?

There is a lot of cruelty and death in this story. At the same time, it's not horrific - the narrative style is quite distant, lending a kind of farsightedness to the book. Reading it, you don't find yourself wondering what happens next, but instead how does it end?

I won't spoil it for you.

Of Love and Other Demons gets:

Reread: Yes
Given to Others: Yes
Bookplate: Yes



Kristine said...

ZOMG -- it's mostly an online gamer thing, as far as I've been able to tell, or at least that's how it started. The "z" doesn't really stand for anything. Just "zoh my gawd"...if I were standing next to you, I could explain it much easier.

lizbon said...

As usual, the review seems just as literary and well-thought-out as ever the book might be.

Hope I can write a book someday that would garner such a review.

knititch said...

oh i want to read this. sounds great. loved some of his other books and a portrait of him in which he was asked what his favourite bird is, and the good man replied duck a l'orange. well that is renaissance living for me.

the wrap looks great. ms starmore's guidelines for gauge is a bit weird i have noticed. but the yarn is so great.