Read No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories by Gabriel García Márquez J.S. Bernstein Online


Written with compassionate realism and wit, the stories in this mesmerizing collection depict the disparities of town and village life in South America, of the frightfully poor and the outrageously rich, of memories and illusions, and of lost opportunities and present joys....

Title : No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060751579
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 170 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-07 18:37

    No One Writes to the Colonel is a prototypical nothing-happens short story in which the reader is swept up in the gorgeous writing and is more than willing to overlook the nothingness. It's the same kind of beautiful nothingness as the Grand Canyon. You walk up to the edge of this magnificent hole and marvel at the void and all its intricacies, the jagged edges, the visible layers of time, and the certainty that although all you see right now is inertia, you know that at one time something of great importance flowed through here.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-01-29 01:22

    No One Writes to the Colonel proves once again that no one writes like Gabriel Garcia Marquez (born 1927). At least for me. Oh I love his prose. This book, first published in 1961, is about an unnamed colonel who fought during the Thousand Days War (1899-1902). He and his wife are now old, sickly and have just lost their only son. They have no money so they have been selling their properties and now left with almost nothing except an old clock and their son's rooster. As a former respected colonel and optimist as his nature, he detests being seen as poor and hungry shameful. His wife, on the other hand, tries to be loyal, supportive and non-complaining. Until of course, towards the end.This book is short but it is meaty. My heart bled for the colonel when he is sick and already skin-and-bone but still maintains his dignity talking calmly with his wife and maintaining is positivity. That would be a tough thing to do. I normally become irritable when I am hungry and to think that I am overweight. But I love my wife and she always makes sure that there is something to eat on the table ha ha.The title refers to the waiting that the colonel is doing. He has been waiting for his pension for 15 years. Wiki says that Marquez is trying to show the effect of the Columbian government to its people in this book or I would say even in his One Hundred Years of Solitude. In fact, in No One, the colonel made references to a character in One Hundred, Colonel Aureliano Buendia.I find this amazing because: (1) the themes of being positive and poise under hunger; (2) Marquez, 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, writes in elegant yet easy to understand way that makes you imagine the complete scene without spending too many hours or days reading; (3) the memorable yet unnamed characters. How can one make a character stick to his readers' minds without giving names to them in the first place?; and (5) novels about Latin American countries always interest me. Maybe because we share a lot of things, e.g., names, religion, words, culture, beliefs, etc with them. Philippines was of course under Spanish occupation for 300 years.My second book by G.G. Marquez and he is still to disappoint.

  • Viji(Bookish endeavors)
    2019-01-23 20:41

    'Hope is a good thing,may be the best of things. And no good thing ever die.'This story is all about hope and whenever I think of hope,these are the lines that come into my head. Poverty.. It's a really horrible condition.. They might say that being poor in life is better than being poor in soul.. But going to sleep with an empty stomach every day will have a real negative effect on your soul. There is no dignity in being poor and having to beg for daily food,if one is not doing it our of mere whim or out of craving for spiritual enlightenment. For the latter it is a matter of choice and they don't feel the helplessness. But for the former,it's a necessity. The presentation of this book was as close to reality as it can be. Trying to find out excuses to cover one's bad appearance or dressing,the gritting of teeth when one goes to the grocer because one doesn't know if he will give any more stuff on credit,the constant searching of every nook and corner to find something to sell.. I do not know whether the author has a first-hand experience of poverty.. But his writing makes me feel so.. How else can one be so realistic.?! I liked the book a lot,both for its plot and presentation. May be I'll read it again,but it has already pushed me into a melancholic mood.. The same was the case when I read the previous book.. His words seems to bring out lost and forgotten things,creating a mood of passivity. Should I call it nostalgia.? I don't think so,because I don't want to relive it. I just remember them and think that such things had happened a long while ago. I don't think I'll recommend this book to everyone. It is good,it has touched me beyond words. But I'll be selective in recommending this book.

  • Knarik Avetisyan
    2019-01-31 21:15

    Unlike many other Garcia Marquez works, the novel mostly does not fall within the magic realism genre, as it includes only one magical event.The main characters of the novel are not named, adding to the feeling of insignificance of an individual living in Colombia. The colonel and his wife, who have lost their son to political repression, are struggling with poverty and financial instability. The corruption of the local and national officials is evident and this is a topic which Garcia Marquez explores throughout the novel, by using references to censorship and the impact of government on society. The colonel desperately tries to sell their inheritance from their only son who is now dead and eventually the only reminder of his existence is a rooster that the colonel trains to take part in a cockfight.Garcia Marquez has said in interviews that his characteristic storytelling style is the style of his grandmother, and that some of his best characters are patterned after his grandfather, whom he calls the most important figure in his life. Discussing literary influences, he has acknowledged his debt to Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway — all of whom lie behind the style of No One Writes to the Colonel.Although Garcia Marquez is a novelist, working within that genre’s basically mimetic pattern, his style is that of the modern romancer; it is lyric rather that realistic, highly polished and self-conscious rather than concerned only with mere external reality. His characters exist not in an “as-if” real world, but rather in a purely fictional world of his own making — a combination of the folklore conventions of his South American heritage and the realism of the great modernist writers. The result is that reality is seen as more problematic and inexplicable than everyday experience would suggest.That his fictions take place in a political culture that seems unstable and adrift is not as thematically important as the fact that this unorganized social world makes possible his exploration of reality as governed by inexplicable forces. Thus, his characters, deprived of the props of established social order, have only their most elemental and primal virtues to sustain them. He is a metaphysical and poetic writer, not a propagandist or a social realist.Garcia Marquez, primarily because of the popular and critical reception of "One Hundred Years of Solitude", is perhaps the best-known writer in the Latin American explosion of talent that has taken place since the 1960’s. Others in this modern tradition are Julio Cortazar, Carlos Fuentes, and Jose Donoso—all of whom have created their own version of a Kafkaesque modernist world which has fascinated general readers and critics alike. "No One Writes to the Colonel" is a minor masterpiece in this tradition, a precursor to the complexity and control of "One Hundred Years of Solitude".The ending is epic:"The woman lost her patience.- And meanwhile what do we eat? - she asked, and seized the colonel by the collar of his flannel night shirt. She shook him hard.It had taken the colonel seventy-five years – the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute – to reach this moment. He felt pure, explicit, invincible at the moment when he replied:- Shit.”The Russian rock band "Bi-2" had a big hit in Eastern Europe with the song "Полковнику никто не пишет" (Russian translation for "No One Writes to the Colonel") that was included in the soundtrack of the Russian film "Brat-2".

  • Nicola
    2019-02-19 20:11

    2 1/2 starsThis isn't one of Gabriel García Márquez's magical realism books no matter what the Goodreads genres say. This is a collection of vignettes showing the terrible state of a country after a grand revolution. In this case Columbia but it might have been any number of places, human beings being what they are all over the world. It's like a story that comes after the big wedding and everyone toodled off smiling about the 'Happy Ever After'. This books seems to say 'well you got what you said you wanted, how's it going?'. And the answer is: Not very well at all.The bleak reality shown in these stories show a country suffering from so many wounds and disappointments it's hard to believe that it still functions. In all of these stories it fairly much doesn't but I guess the country itself is managing to hold itself together. I didn't much like the stories themselves, even the title one (No One Writes to the Colonel). They don't really go anywhere and just seem to be vehicles for Marquez to complain fairly endlessly about how crap Columbia is now. The men are selfish and/or violent arseholes, the women are punching bags and/or doormats on which the men can wipe their feet and life is terrible for everyone bar the corrupt few. I'm also not such a fan of his writing that I can read lots of plotless short stories (and some of them are really really short) that start and stop so abruptly that I wasn't sure that my audiobook wasn't faulty.So all of these stories aren't the sort of things I really enjoy reading but it got an extra half star because of the details it gave about Columbian life, however grim it was pretty interesting.

  • Jenny
    2019-02-13 18:23

    I find this book very interesting. For one, it taught me what I like and don't like about short stories. I'm not a huge short story fan, but I have found several authors whose stories I love (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, O'Connor...). What I don't like about stories is when they don't have a full plot and end abruptly without any real resolution or purpose other than presenting a snapshot of life. Those sorts of episodes belong in novels. I love stories that are fully plotted. They might not have a neat ending, or the ending might make me really think, but there's a purpose to the story, and it makes sense on its own. I can't stand finishing a story and feeling disappointed. I can just flip the page to the next without having to think.What I found interesting about this collection is that it showcases two Marquez's. There's Marquez the short story writer and Marquez the novelist. I enjoyed the stories by the short story writer because they're complete. The snapshot stories belong in Marquez's novels. There is a thread in that all these stories take place in the same town around the same time and even share some characters. But they are separate stories, and some just don't feel complete.No One Writes to the Colonel: two and a half starsTuesday Siesta: two and a half starsOne of These Days: three and a half starsThere Are No Thieves in This Town: four starsBalthazar's Marvelous Afternoon: four starsMontiel's Widow: two and a half starsOne Day After Saturday: two and a half starsArtificial Roses: two and a half starsBig Mama's Funeral: three starsThe ones with two and a half stars are well-written and have interesting characters, but I didn't feel like I was reading them for a purpose. I felt like I was wasting my time. The ones with three stars or more made me care. I felt like there was a purpose, and I enjoyed the stories, the characters, the plot, and the endings. So, overall, I wouldn't recommend this book unless you're already a Marquez fan. It's an interesting collection that offers snapshots of life in a small South American town after all the revolutions and civil wars. Marquez shows how the rich lived, how the political people lived, how the poor lived, how the average, non-politicized people lived. For that, it's definitely a worthwhile read. It at least made me want to keep the book, which I wasn't sure I was going to do at first.

  • Dipankar
    2019-01-26 18:16

    Once you've read enough of Gabriel García Márquez, you'll realise, deep down, it's all the same story. And even more strangely, even if you've loved each one of those, like me, you'll accept, it was not about the story. Never. And when you've reached that point, it doesn't matter if the story had 6 pages or 600. It's just the same. Because what Márquez presents, that others cannot, isn't bound by the limits of a story or the length of it. He's the master of the small. The little words. The short sentences. The pauses. I remember Roman Polanski's 1965 classic Repulsion. Words, were not the point. That uneasiness of the quiet, rising within you like smoke growing denser each second, and coiling around your heart. Márquez can make the reader's heart swell with joy or squeeze in pain by his whims. Because what the reader sees inside a book isn't where Márquez hides his magic. It's in the whiteness of the pages, the pauses. And that pierces straight through our skins and into our hearts. We can master the words, even beat them, but we are all equally defenceless against the pauses. That's how he lords over us, and we're grateful to him for that.

  • Oto Bakradze
    2019-02-14 19:27

    იმედი მაგარი რამეა, შეიძლება ყველაზე მაგარიც კი."სიღარიბის ყველაზე ცუდი თვისება ის არის, რომ ადამიანს აიძულებს იცრუოს".

  • Wafa
    2019-02-16 20:15

    في حوار بين شخصيتين في سيناريو لكلوديا مارشيليانأ: يا الله كم أنت مزيفب: أنا مش مزيف .. أنا ممسوح .. أنا مسفلتهنا هذه الرواية القصيرة عن رجل ممسوح يعيش حياة مزيفةلا حاجة بي أن أتكلم عن أسلوب هذه القصة القصيرة .. فهو أسلوب ماركيز المعتاد ذاته ..فإن كنت من محبي ماركيز فاقرأ هذه الروعة وإلا فابتعد لأن لا جديد تحت شمس ماركيز:أما عن القصص القصيرةأجمل غريق في العالمنذر الآخرةلغز عابرة المحيطستجد متعة جميلة ورعشة خفيفة عندمل تلتقي بعالم الفانتازيا الواقعية في بعضها والسحرية في أخرىماركيزبالرغم من قراءاتي المقلة لكتاباتك الرائعة .. لكنك ستبقى على رأس كتابي المفضلينشكرا

  • Larry Bassett
    2019-02-09 19:22

    I listen to this book in the audible format. I have read some of the reviews of others here on Goodreads and recommend that you do likewise. It seems that this author has a lot to say but I have to admit that I must've missed it. This is the story about poverty and hope. The old couple is still waiting for the man's pension after 15 years. He fought for his country and now has been forgotten. Poverty and the battle against it is a main focus in my intellectual and political life.

  • Anamaria Koridze
    2019-02-16 17:37


  • Cherisse
    2019-02-22 21:15

    I actually encountered El coronel no tiene quien le escriba at the age of 18 as part of my Spanish studies in high school. After studying Crónica de una muerte anunciada (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) the year before, I thought that this was a waste of my time and absolutely hated this book because Chronicle of a Death Foretold was a sublime read and to me, at that time, No One Writes to the Colonel seemed like a bore. However, having read it a few more times before entering university to do my degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies, I realized how much of an idiot I was at the age of 18. It is absolutely brilliant! The colonel has been waiting for his pension for 15 years after having fought in a war for his country. With the loss of his son, the colonel and his wife live in poverty, selling stuff in her house so that they can survive as well as feed the cock that is the only memory that they have of their son. The cock is also a symbol of hope since cock fighting season is approaching and if the cock win any matches, the colonel and his wife can gain income. The colonel is sick and he and his wife face some challenges throughout the story and ultimately disagree on how they should improve their lifestyle. The situation of the colonel and his wife is something that constantly distresses me every time I read it (I still can't believe that after so much years, he still waits for the pension). The conclusion of the story, particularly the last line, is pessimistic and basically sums up, in my opinion, the life of the colonel and his wife as well as what probably awaits them in the future. It is highly recommended and worth the read.

  • Matt
    2019-02-08 17:29

    Sharper stories then you might think, since GGM is mostly known for his epics and sprawling narratives.You do get a sense that he's sort of warming up for the bigger stuff gestating in his subconscious. The writing, though excellent, seems a little bit pinched, as in cramped by limitations of form. Not too noticeably but still since you know the reputations of what's yet to come (I haven't read his huge works yet, just give me time!) you get a feeling that he's hampered by the condensed quality of what he's come up with."There Are No Theives In This Town" is one of my favorite stories ever. The title story is excellent, too.

  • Khalid Almoghrabi
    2019-02-19 00:19

    رواية خيبت أمالي وأنا انتظر نهايتها وإذ بي انتقل لقصة أخرى دون أن اعلم. الرواية - لا أحد يكاتب الكولونيل - مبتورة ومفتوحة لأي نهاية تريد وضعها وتكمن فلسفتها في إنسان يعيش على حلم الماضي ويصر انه يوما ما سيأتي متناسيا الواقع المرير الذي يعيش فيه أو يعيشه من معه.الرواية جميلة باستقاطاتها ضعيفه بحبكتها

  • TarasProkopyuk
    2019-02-05 22:23

    Повесть «Полковнику никто не пишет» наверное одна из лучших книг Габриэля Гарсии Маркеса.Столь длительные надежды и ожидания, боль главной потери, и главное надежда, которая порой выходит за рамки разумного…Данное произведение должно понравиться большинству читателей. А вот само окончание я бы немного изменил, всё же автор переборщил немного в самом финале…

  • Vishal
    2019-01-25 21:40

    There isn’t really much left to say about Senor Marquez. He is the supreme storyteller, the master of transforming the most simple and spare prose into something so magically vivid and colourful. Latin America grows in mystique every time I read him, and it’s a life goal for me to discover the continent in person (although in mind and soul, his writing has already transported me there). Much like the Southern Gothic writers, he has the ability to create a unique and dizzying sense of place (albeit not as inhabitable and intimidating as the worlds of Faulkner and McCarthy!)No One Writes To the Colonel is a collection of nine stories – the mention of which also brings to mind another collection of short stories that are among my favourites, written by J.D. Salinger - that are centered on life in Macondo, the village that came to prominence in his masterful 100 Years of Solitude. Although that was not my first exposure to Marquez (it was, in fact, News of a Kidnapping - the ‘Gonzo style’ chronicling of kidnappings and murders orchestrated by Pablo Escobar in Colombia), 100 Years was where Senor Marquez and I became good mates. I can definitely imagine the great man and myself seeking refuge from the oppressive Latin American heat and sharing a beer or a bottle of rum under the shade of one of those many almond trees that populate his stories. Shame that he passed!In terms of short stories, the only other collection of Marquez I’ve read (and thoroughly enjoyed) is Innocent Erendira and Others, which were faithful to his renowned style of bizarre and magical realism. The stories in this collection, however, seem rather more grounded in reality. The collection is bookended by two novellas. There is the title story, about a colonel who has been waiting for 15 years to receive a letter that has still not arrived (thus the title!), yet doggedly refuses to give up hope. This stubbornness of his extends to the refusal to sell a potentially profit-generating, fighting rooster until the one-year mourning period for his dead son has passed. This is much to the annoyance of his wife, who repeatedly questions the colonel about what they can eat when they have no money to buy food with. The colonel’s definitive response to this persistent question found right at the end of this story is an excellent example of Marquez’s wry humour!The next 8 stories are a mixed bag. Tuesday Siesta continues the theme of the loss of a son, while those who hate trips to the dentist should approach the exceptionally brief One of These Days with caution. Despite its brevity, I thought this piece was a great metaphor for the struggle between an oppressive state and the individual in Latin America, with an ending of rather satisfactory retribution for the latter! In There are No Thieves in This Town, a young, hot-blooded amateur thief pays for his impulsiveness by being outwitted by the person he has robbed. A common character connects both of the stories that follow, Balthazar’s Marvelous Adventure and Montiel’s Widow. One Day after Saturday is heavy with religious symbolism, where the lives of three characters are intersected by a biblical rain of dead birds, and an aging and senile pastor (who also makes an appearance in another story; using recurring characters in many of his stories is a favoured technique of Marquez and adds to our feeling of intimacy we feel with his world) who claims to have seen sees visions of a traitor walking through town: this being the Wandering Jew, who mocked Jesus on the way to his crucifixion. Artificial Roses is about an all-seeing blind grandmother who uses her keen sense of perception to discover that her granddaughter’s pretensions to modesty are just a guise.“Drowning in the pandemonium of abstract formulas which for two centuries had substituted the moral justification of the family’s power, Big Mama emitted a loud belch and expired’.And thus ends in true ironic Marquez fashion the life of the grand, monumental, omnipotent, almost tyrannical figure aptly named ‘Big Mama’, in the final (and perhaps richest) piece in this collection. She is a matriarchal figure with a vice-like grip over the people and property of not just Macondo, but of the entire country and even beyond. In one of the stories funniest moments, Big Mama (before her death) bequeaths her vast fortune to her trusted circle of nieces and nephews, and lists in her estate items such as ‘national sovereignty’, ‘the rights of man’, ‘the colours of the flag’, ‘free election’ and ‘Christian morality’. Her death creates such ripples that even the Supreme Pontiff himself is moved to undertake a journey from the Vatican to the distant land of Macondo. The attendance of the President of the Republic at the funeral even becomes a debated topic in parliament, suggesting that even his power is secondary to that of Big Mama. I read this story as an allegory for the fall of dictatorship and the passing of the colonial era in South America. As in colonial times when despotic leaders had a fierce stranglehold and power over the people, Big Mama’s reign of power inexplicably holds those in Macondo and beyond in unquestioning awe. And, as with the fall of colonial times when people are desperate to break the shackles of tyranny, Big Mama’s grandiose two-day funeral - rather than being a somber affair - is depicted almost as a celebration and explosion of pent-up relief. In the final analysis, I actually give this collection 3 and a half stars, but had to veer towards the 4 stars just because it was Marquez. Why so low? Well, I thought the stories on the whole just lacked that little bit of colour, vivid characterization, memorable dialogue, and moreover quirkiness that I’m used to from Marquez. He is undoubtedly on form here, but in a slightly more sedate manner. As readers, it is our duty to not only love our favourite writers in all their guises and forms, but to be critical enough to be able to distinguish between their great works and truly exceptional works. It might be worth mentioning that the version I read was translated by J.S. Bernstein and not by Gregory Rabassa who brought countless South American writers to the attention of English speaking readers. Whether that ends up making a difference I’m not so sure. I intend to read Marquez in Spanish one day, but my level is still quite elementary at the moment! Anyway, I’m now off to acquaint myself with the works of one of the (supposedly) undisputed kings of the short story, Anton Chekhov. This is my first exposure; hopefully not my last. Life is great when there is a certainty of numerous books ahead of you!

  • RanenduDas
    2019-02-14 21:25

    || বুড়ো কর্নেলের কিস্যা ||(No one writes to the Colonel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Penguin)লাতিন আমেরিকা দেশগুলো যেন আমারই দেশের মত...মানুষগুলো হতচ্ছিন্ন গরীব, রাজনীতি আর সামাজিক শোষনের শিকার...তবে, আমার দেশের সাথে পার্থক্য এই যে সে দেশের বুড়ো কর্নেলের হার মানে না, সে সান্তিয়াগোর মতই জেদী, তারা সব কিছুর শেষ দেখেই ছাড়ে...তাদের ভেতরে যেন সবসময় লড়াইয়ের স্পর্ধা কাজ করে, হার মানতে চায় না তাদের হৃদয়...তাদের এই হার না মানা হৃদয়ের জন্যই, যখন মন অন্য কিছু চায়, তখন বুড়ো কর্নেলের সাথে, তার সমুদ্র-ঘেরা শহরের পাথুরে পথ ধরে হাঁটি! ঘামে জারানো, রৌদ্র তপ্ত-দগ্ধ, অন্যরকম এক নোনতা জীবনের স্বাদ পাওয়া যায় মার্কেজের কলমে...

  • Matthew
    2019-01-25 23:17

    A great way to start the year. Spend some time with the Colonel, a man who spends his days waiting for his retirement pension from the government to finally begin to arrive, hoping against hope that the mad bureaucracy of the government will pull it together before he runs out of money. Poor guy's son even got take from him; the only thing he has left of the boy is a fighting rooster on its way to the pits. His wife wants to just get rid of it, it eats their food, which is expensive, and they don't have the money for it! But the man just can't bring himself to give it away. The rest of the stories deliver tales of stolen billiard balls to a storm of dead birds. The actions surges and drains, characters give gifts they can't afford to give, people die, dynasties fall apart, but the world moves on. While Marquez's writing isn't what I would call spellbinding, his efforts demonstrate the love he has for this little province, Macondo, and all the people in it. Even those who hurt the city bring the citizens joy in the end.

  • Mimozë
    2019-01-26 20:40

    Excellent nothingness! 😃

  • Simay Yildiz
    2019-01-27 19:19 Garcia Marquez has been my favorite author for eleven years now. When I was a sophomore in high school, there was a book called Red Monday (English title: Chronicles of a Death Foretold) on our reading list. You know how they usually make you read physically big and heavy books in world literature class? Well, this one was a tiny book, and I suspected two things: 1) It was going to be such a tough book and we were all going to flunk the test; 2) It was such an amazing book that it didn't need that many pages. Of course, my second suspicion turned out to be true. After that I started down hunting down anything Marquez wrote and sucked on them like a fat kid sucks on ice cream.I know this turned into an anecdote when I'm supposed to be writing a review, but I just really REALLY love Marquez. Especially when the weather starts getting warm, one must read one of Marquez's works, doesn't matter which. He always meets expectations and exceeds them, and No One Writes to the Colonel is no exception.This story takes place within the same time line as Hundred Years of Solitude and My Melancholy Whores, during the Thousand Days' War. The fact that we never found out the names of the main characters of the story is proof of how insignificant human life was during those times in Colombia. The Colonel has been waiting for his pension payment to arrive for fifteen years. Whenever the postman is due to arrive in his town, he gets all dressed up and goes to get his pension payment, but he never receives any letters. The Colonel's son is dead, and he and his wife sell their belongings to make enough to live, yet after a while they run out of things of value to sell.His wife suggests the Colonel that they should sell the rooster, which is the only thing their son left them. The Colonel is a man with pride, and he doesn't like doing such things, but he has to. Later, his son's friends suggest that he should not sell the rooster and enter it to rooster fights instead. The story reflects what life was like during those times, how there was a lot of censorship going on and how a lot of people were in the same situation as the Colonel and his wife. Of course they weren't good times for those who were living it, but with Marquez'a beautiful story telling I found myself wanting to go and see it for myself.I suggest you read this book on a hot, lazy day and then take a good long nap.

  • Joel
    2019-02-02 21:25

    Having read with some alarm my book review of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, my wife – who hails from Latin America herself – gave me for Christmas this year a copy of Gabo’s short story “No One Writes to the Colonel”. Her hope, naturally, is that I would find in that short story the magic that I found so lacking in “One Hundred Years”.This short story by Gabo is much simpler than his longer works. The story follows the life of a retired colonel who is slowly starving to death as he waits in tandem for a check from the government (for his years of service in the military) and for the cock fight that he is sure his prize-winning bird will win.I found this story charming and sad; and impregnated with the realities I have come to know in many years living all around Latin America. So many people around the region face similar struggles; getting their constipated bureaucratized governments to honor their commitments; fighting to make ends meet after they are too old for others to have use of them; desperately seeking an unlikely providential solution that will lead to prosperity.Gabo captures the suffering naturally, telling a story about which he knows a great deal. Colombia, Gabo’s birth home, has always been a hard land; a land of pain and desperation. Their almost constant political experimentation with violence is a testament to this.But there is something else that comes through in this story – for it is a story about hope. And this is something that I also have grown accustomed to in my interactions around the region. I find in the stories of gentle waiting a reflective sense of hope. Though people suffer, going hungry or facing setbacks, they never let their spirit be destroyed. They are never robbed of their sense of humor, of their buoyant anticipation of something great just around the corner, and their resilience to survive such tragedy without cracking.I won’t tell about the end of the story – that would be unfair. However for those interested in learning more about life in times of poverty; and how the poor in backwater places deal with such transcendental issues, I recommend you read this book. It won’t take you very long.

  • Lukasz Pruski
    2019-02-11 17:32

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez' masterpiece "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is one of my most favorite books. His "No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories" is certainly not of the same caliber, although - to me - one of the stories is a gem that redeems the whole collection.The plot of the title novella takes place during troubled times in Colombia - the 1950's La Violencia that claimed lives of more than 100,000 people. The novella presents a grim and extremely sad story about an elderly couple: the colonel has been waiting for over 15 years for the pension that is due to him because of his participation in the Thousand Days' War almost 60 years ago (1899 - 1902). The colonel and his asthmatic wife have no means of support except for a very promising rooster that they plan to sell when the cockfighting time arrives. Colombia is under martial law and curfews. The bells in the tower ring out the censor's movie moral classification and most movies are "unfit for everyone". It is a captivating story, yet I find the ending cheap and trivializing.There are several other stories in the collection, and the last one, "Big Mama's Funeral", is totally charming - one of the best short stories that I have ever read. Subtle wit, humor, generous doses of magical realism transcend the skillful storytelling and raise the story to a high level of literary art. "At dusk the resonant pealing of St. Peter's Basilica mingled with the cracked tinklings of Macondo. Inside his stifling tent across the tangled reeds and the silent bogs which marked the boundary between the Roman Empire and the ranches of Big Mama, the Supreme Pontiff heard the uproar of the monkeys agitated all night long by the passing of the crowds."Three and three quarter stars.

  • Arwen56
    2019-01-31 17:35

    Prove tecniche di trasmissione. Sì, direi che questo è il modo più sintetico per definire questa raccolta di racconti. Che ha, intendiamoci bene, una sua ricchezza e una sua completa autonomia, ma che è certo, anche, evidente segno che Gabo stava già, forse ancora a sua stessa insaputa, elaborando quell’universo particolare che, di lì a qualche anno, sarebbe diventata la straordinaria Macondo di Cent’anni di solitudine. E Macondo è, come la gabbia di fil di ferro creata da Baltazar in uno di questi racconti, “un’avventura della fantasia”, uno di quei miracoli della letteratura che non si ripetono tanto spesso.Il più articolato e compiuto scritto è, senza dubbio, quello da cui la raccolta prende il nome: Nessuno scrive al colonnello. Una figura, quella di quest’uomo, di fortissimo impatto emotivo. La sua dignità e la sua rettitudine morale si respirano, palpabilmente, assieme all’aria umida che grava su questo abbozzo di Macondo.Tuttavia, come ho già detto parlando de “La hojarasca”, per me che ho letto come primo romanzo di Márquez proprio “Cent’anni di solitudine”, il tornare indietro nel tempo, cioè ai suoi scritti precedenti, ha lasciato un senso di insoddisfazione e credo di non essere riuscita ad apprezzarli nella giusta misura.

  • سلمى Selma Mohaimeed
    2019-02-18 21:20

    أكثر ما يلفت في هذه القصص القصيرة نهاياتها العبقرية .

  • Jee Koh
    2019-02-17 19:24

    No One Writes to the Colonel is a collection of short stories. The title story is quite long, however, and is the most substantial of the lot. The eponymous colonel and his wife live in the most penurious circumstances while waiting for his government pension. They share the little that they have with a fighting cock, whom everyone in town believes will win the coming cock fights. The animal very quickly becomes the symbol of hope for a hopeless community. The colonel's wife tries to persuade him to sell the cock so that they could get some food. He relents but repents in time to retrieve the bird. The conclusion is powerfully poignant. He is asked by his wife about what they would eat in the meantime.It had taken the colonel seventy-five years--the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute--to reach this moment. He felt pure, explicit, invincible at the moment when he replied: "Shit."The other stories are all set in the same town of Macondo. My favorites are the heartbreaking "Tuesday Siesta" and the heartwarming "Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon." The first is about the death of a thief, the second about the gift of a beautiful bird cage. In both, human emotions are "pure, explicit, invincible" too.

  • Eric Kennedy
    2019-01-22 17:16

    My thoughts on "No One Writes to the Colonel" are summed up by saying that the book was simply okay. The title story is the most interesting one in the collection, but the remaining stories, collected in the section, "Big Mama's Funeral," are nothing more than short character sketches that were plodding and uninteresting. Many of the stories ended abruptly, and I felt that I had very little idea of what, if anything, happened. The most interesting parts of the characters' lives seemed to have been left out in favor of a more mundane sort of afterthought. For instance, in "One Day After Sunday," amongst a number of events, a priest claims that he has seen the devil three times. I was more interested in the priest's meetings with Satan than I was with what the story was about, but we never hear any details about said meetings.This is my first experience with Marquez's work and I have "One Hundred Years of Solitude" queued up to read soon. "Solitude" is highly revered, so I'm holding out hope that it is more interesting than this collection of stories.

  • Danelle
    2019-01-25 21:16

    A slim volume containing the following stories: No One Writes To The Colonel, Tuesday Siesta, One Of These Days, There Are No Thieves In This Town, Balthazar's Marvelous Afternoon, Montiel's Widow, One Day After Saturday, Artificial Roses, Big Mama's Funeral.Written in Gabriel Garcia-Marquez's typical style, which, if you are familiar with him, is both lyrical and nostalgic, magical and yet somehow specific, No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories isn't a heafty read, but it is heavy on it's themes - which include: corruption of local and national governmental officials, dignity, poverty, foolishness, and the isolation that results from both rural-ness and poverty. Filled with bits of dark humor, it was a treat to read.She bore the conscientious serenity of someone accustomed to poverty. (p. 66)...her movements had the gentle efficiency of people who are used to reality. (p. 80)

  • Regina Andreassen
    2019-01-24 19:16

    What a simple but magnificient work! Since I speak a few languages, I read El Coronel No Tiene Quien le Escriba (as it is called in Spanish) in both Spanish and English. The first time I did was probably when I was still in high school, but not because the teacher told me, but because my father had hundreds of book in his studio. There were wonderful collections, one of them was Garcia Marquez's. All of the works Garcia Marquez wrote by that time were there. I was captivated by this one, but not as much as I was by Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which is definitely my favourite.I think No one Writes to the Colonel is underrated, I hope by having it in Goodreads will help it to reach broader audiences.I don't want to say much, because people have disclosed the plot already...just some extra words: This book is a touching and fascinating story written with simplicity but beautifully.

  • Shadin Pranto
    2019-02-03 00:21

    An old veteran colonel waiting for 15 years for his pension. He lives with his sick wife and his son killed by the autocrat government because he was preaching leftism. Old colonel saw a deadbody, he saw a normal death after many years. Every week he went to the launch station to the post office, he found every time that no letter came to him. Then he said "No one writess me".In a local doctors chembar he read newspaper, he found all important were vanished from newspaper because Columbia was then in sensorship.Old colonel has a fighter cock, somedays later a cock fight event will be held. Colonel strongly believed that his cock his win the game and he will get much money. But they were in extreme poverty and his wife suggested him to sell the cock but colonel did not agree to sell the cock, then his wife asked him what they will eat? Colonel replied "shit! "

  • Carol
    2019-02-05 21:31

    Read this novella in one sitting. A proud and stoical colonel, un-named veteran of the Thousand Day War in Colombia has waited 15 years for his military pension. Each week he meets the mail boat, but no one writes to the colonel. Utterly poignant in a Dickensian way; the helplessness and solitude of the individual is at the centre of this powerful piece. The denigration of the individual is maintained vividly, throughout.