Of Love and Other Demons

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Author, Edith Grossman, Translator Alfred A Knopf Inc $25 (160p) ISBN 978-0-679-43853-3
The incantatory power of Garcia Marquez's prose is as potent as ever in this mesmerizing story inspired by an amazing event he witnessed almost 50 years ago, as a journalist observing the transfer of burial remains from the crypt of an old convent. When one tomb was opened, ``a stream of living hair the intense color of copper spilled out.'' More than 22 meters in length, it was attached to the skull of a young girl whose body had been interred for 200 years. Remembering his grandmother's tales of a 12-year-old marquise who had died of rabies from a dog bite, Garcia Marquez has imagined the girl's life and the circumstances of her death. As usual, the atmosphere is colored by magical realism: dreams and portents, inexplicable, miraculous events. The offspring of a melancholy, ineffectual marquis and a mother yoked to ``insatiable vices,'' Sierva Maria is raised by the family's West Indian slaves, who teach her the Yoruban language and magical practices. She is bitten by a rabid dog but shows no real symptoms; the local bishop, however, decides she is possessed by demons and orders her incarcerated in a convent where she will be exorcised by his gentle librarian, Father Delaura. But Delaura becomes possessed, too--by his love for this suffering child three decades his junior. Garcia Marquez describes the physical tortures inflicted on Sierva Maria as graphically as he does the rapturous--but chaste--love between the innocent, terrified girl and her confessor. A Jewish-Portuguese doctor says that ``killing her would have been more Christian than burying her alive.'' This tragic tale is in essence an outcry against intolerance and bigotry and an indictment of a degraded Church that used its power with narrow-minded cruelty. In the end, the power of love transcends the earthly sphere. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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FORMATS
Paperback - 147 pages - 978-0-14-025636-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-44324-7
Paperback - 214 pages - 978-0-679-76284-3
Hardcover - 978-0-517-39630-8
Paperback - 978-0-517-40509-3
Paperback - 978-0-14-771126-7
Paperback - 978-0-14-771155-7
Paperback - 978-0-14-771125-0
Paperback - 147 pages - 978-1-4000-3492-5
Hardcover - 978-0-394-28108-7
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