Extracts of book reviews
Christiana Vellou and Christina Kelesidou
Christiana Vellou and Christina Kelesidou
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.
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 [...]
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|
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.
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.
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.
"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