El coronel no tiene a nadie que le escriba, Gabriel García Márquez


Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most famous writers in Latin American history (and part of the Latin American Boom movement), has published many novels and novellas - a short novel that is generally under 100 pages. This book is a novella, which is partially why this is the first Márquez work that I’m recommending. Many of his others are much longer and complex, but this is a great book to start if you want to really understand and appreciate Márquez’s style of writing. I used it in the same Independent Study where we read Memorias del subdesarrollo, and my student enjoyed this. It’s about a colonel who served time in the war and waits day and night for his pension, which he was promised 15 years ago. Meanwhile, both he and his wife are living in poverty, with barely enough money to get by. In a short yet immense novella, we feel the colonel’s solitude and desperation as he waits for the gratitude of his time served.

This novella was inspired by Márquez’s grandfather, who also was a colonel who never received the pension he was promised. It’s also possible that Márquez used his own life experiences to write this novella, as he was unemployed for a while, too.

As I mentioned, this is a great book for anyone studying Spanish past AP Spanish Language and Culture or in their third year in university. It’s the perfect book to ease into Márquez’s rich writing.


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