Kirkus Reviews QR Code
STRANGE PILGRIMS by Gabriel García Márquez



by Gabriel García Márquez & translated by Edith Grossman by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-42566-7
Publisher: Knopf

Of the entire generation of Latin-American Boom writers, Garcia Marquez (The General and His Labyrinth, 1990, etc.) has shied away the most from writing about the expatriate experience he and his peers have so determinedly lived for decades. This book of 12 stories redresses that somewhat forced oddness. A lot is slight here, mere sketchery (Garcia Marquez admits in the preface that a number of the tales are reworkings of journalistic pieces or screenplays): "Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane" recounts a transatlantic flight with a beautiful stranger in the next seat, sound asleep and paying the infatuated narrator no mind; "I Sell My Dreams" is mostly an excuse for a portrait of Pablo Neruda; "Tramontania" pays homage to the madness-making wind of the Costa Brava in the form of a Maupassant-ish anecdote (much here, in fact, is reminiscent of Maupassant: little details that bloom into destinies). But included here are also two masterpieces. "Maria dos Prazeres"--the story of an old whore's mistaken premonition of death--is woven with those fluorescent touches that Garcia Marquez is known for (the interior of a car "smelled of refrigerated medicine") and with a leisure of wonder that, happily, never seems strained. The other classic is "The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow"--as acidic a portrait of French inhumanity as satire can accomplish, but also a wizardly capsule of the strangeness all travelers feel and only sometimes can surmount. Garcia Marquez's generosity more than his effect-making is at deepest play in both- -and they do his career great credit.