5 Αυγούστου 2015

Gábriel García Marquez, Noone writes to the Colonel / Our readings (1st year)

Gábriel García Marquez,  Noone writes to the Colonel

Book 16th
A suggestion of Elias Koutsoukos



Extracts of book reviews
translated by
Christiana Vellou and Christina Kelesidou


Maria Triantafillidou
From the very beginning I got the impression that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was describing himself.

The writer’s script unpretentious, quick, even though it describes a stagnant atmosphere, lethargic, suffocating, it doesn’t get lost when it goes into detail: “…while he was prying the flora that burst into vivid greens, the tiny homes of warms in the mud, the colonel felt the damned month in his flesh” (p.10). And later: “He was a sluggish Middle-Eastern man dressed from head to toe in a smooth and stretched skin, with slow, drowning moves” (p.79) and in many more parts…

He handles words with mastership, “ in a marvelous hour, made by a light still intact” (p.79) and he is literal! He ponders in his own way “The illusions cannot be eaten; they cannot be eaten, but they can feed” (p.59), “Whoever can wait a while, can wait a little longer” (p.42).
A man in his loneliness which he faces little by little in a hectic crowd.
A man acting alone on stage, at his home, at his best man’s house, in the arena, at the port, with one distinctive object in each space, alone, completely isolated, the only actor conversing with the screenings around him, with the flat people of the screen, behind him, on his right, on his left. At his last word everything silences, the scenes freeze, only he stands in the bright light.



Stefania Veldemiri
Just an opinion, even though it is a shame to have one about that.

When I started to read the first sentence, it was like I had before me a dish that I had been told  before how delicious is and I was very hungry when they brought it to me and as soon as I put the first bite in the mouth I got pleasure shock and instead  of swallowing it, I chewed  it for such a long  time  and the bite turned into a wine, and at the end,  instead of eating it I drank it  [...]

 I loved the description, events, movements, everyday simply acts [...]

A hymn to dignity. A topical issue or spectacle. "And what are we doing now?" Others got it others will get it. The deadlock , that is. The answer, is the last word of the book. I loved the Colonel very much and the doctor too. And the rooster. I would say that the chest of the rooster is the dignity of the colonel and his nails  his perseverance and questions of his wife who ripped him apart.  The rooster for me was not tied to the foot of the bed, nor to the table nor to the chair leg but  to the Colonel's leg. And that's why I loved him so much that he had the rooster tied to  his leg, that is.

Painting by Stefania Veldemiri

Kleopatra Tsakouri
[...] It is a warm, moving story without commotion, with realism, with structured writing that flows; staccato when necessary, descriptive at other times. The pain, pride and dignity of the colonel are remarkable aspects of his character. Waiting for his pension as a veteran of the civil war for 15 years, demonstrates the absence and indifference of the country’s central administration. Not offering him a position to cover his everyday necessities and his considerable poverty is the service of justice to people with conscience and morality. His best man’s rise to the social ladder, who betrayed his companions and seized their fortunes in collaboration with the mayor, takes international dimensions; it exceeds the local level. In the end it leaves you with a bittersweet taste that you never forget.



Violetta Papadopoulou
A writing full of honesty, grievance, despair; a salute to death. Regardless of which side they belong to, poor people, hopeless, with all their dreams destroyed from all types of power; whether it is the government or the country they served without self-interest, or their close neighbours. And the only thing left to them is to feed their last remnant, the rooster; ending up eating crap themselves, the same crap that all the above have been giving them for so many years.  

Konstantina Chondogianni
I wonder whether the mailman knew that the well awaited letter would never come.
How much faith did this person had in the governors, believing that just because he had done his duty they would do theirs as well; Ending up living in distress. His wife, being more insightful, she didn’t believe in that miracle, insisting on eating the rooster since this was their only hope to fill their empty stomachs.  And on the other hand, getting revenge for the loss of her son; since this bird was in a way the reason why she lost her child. I don’t want to compare anything to my own country, but I find a lot of similarities regarding the poverty that many of our fellow citizens are going through daily.


Christiana Vellou
I am finishing the book and I realise, amazed, that it was written in 1961 but, still, it is as if many of the things that we read are happening in our own country today. Oh, our coveted pension that we do not know if it will exist tomorrow and what will we be eating then?
The story takes place in Colombia 50 years ago and in just 90 pages so many secret paths of soul and feelings are presented while the writer describes simple, everyday things.
Our hero, the colonel, fought in the civil war as a 20 year old young man and he has been waiting for almost 56 years to get the pension that the government promised him for his services during the war. In the meanwhile, life passes by him; him and his sick wife are getting older, his son is murdered during a cockfight, people around him move on and he only realizes the time passing by through the Fridays, when he goes to the port, waiting for the mail that will bring him the letter with his pension’s approval, that never comes. Years are passing slowly, in agony (at some points you think that the time has stopped from the heat and humidity) and the colonel only realizes it through the weather conditions and his bodily functions that change in season; and he waits with deep patience, without complaint, the letter that will change his life…
I would say modestly to the great writer, that the book is a hymn to human dignity and the unnoticed magnificence.

Arhontoula Diavati
"The colonel in the hammock"

A decadent city, the old colonel and his sick wife, orphaned  by the death of their son, with a rooster, which is what they left by the sale of a sewing machine, living their poor life, impoverished, almost marginally raising money for food and medication of the day. However,every Friday the  Colonel goes to port waiting for the mail. A letter, a "thank you" from his homeland for his contribution, a pension, that does not come around  and he always pushes away,quixotically,  the hope, their  life itself . The dialogue between him and his wife,is exactly   the dialogue between Idalgou and Sancho Panza. "What can we do if we can not sell anything," the woman repeated "We still have forty-five days to  start thinking about it," said the colonel. "And meanwhile, what will we eat?"  she  asked and grabbed the Colonel by the collar of  his shirt. She shook him firmly: "Tell me what we shall eat." And him, pure, clear, invincible, "Shit," he replied.

As Vladimir and Estragon, the two clowns from the absurd theater of Samuel Beckett's - ''Waiting  for Godo''- the Colonel himself,a symbol , continually shifts death under the sleepwalker light and the anguish of every day fights until the end. One day begins and another starts.Despair and frustration but until the last spasm , he fights sarcastically.

Published on 24/06/2012 at bookpress.gr