One of the characters in this collection, which includes a novella and eight short stories, complains that. "To the Europeans, South America is a man with a mustache, a guitar and a gun." The author, an expatriate Colombian who has lived mainly in Mexico and Europe, doesn't do much to dispel that myth but he does manage to present the stereotypical figures of backwater life everywhere in a way that is touching, amusing, and in the title story, memorable. With just the right degree of detachment the 75-year-old Colonel is portrayed as a figure of both comedy and pathos as he waits for the veteran's pension which will never arrive, meanwhile sustaining himself and his asthmatic wife on the hoped-for riches which will be theirs when their fighting cock proves itself in the ring. The characters of the stories, the inhabitants of the town of Macondo include Big Mamma, the absolute sovereign of the area whose much-delayed funeral is attended by the Supreme Pontiff; a dentist without a degree who takes revenge on the town's corrupt Mayor by extracting his tooth without anesthetic; a thief who steals the pool hall's billiard balls, thereby disrupting the town's social life; and the ancient priest whose Masses no one attends since he claimed to have seen the Devil. Garcia Marquez' style is direct and matter-of-fact; in attitude, he accepts these characters with the same inevitability as they accept the heat and the rain.