These days, short stories are my cup of tea because each one can be devoured in one sitting.
Strange Pilgrims is a collection of twelve stories compiled by GG Márquez from his travels in Europe. Let me approach this through constructivism: Marquez’s style always makes use of magical realism and symbols are present in every story. The main themes are death and its effects on the living, as well as light and its absence. The common recurring symbol is blood. This reminds me of his extensive use of blood and bleeding incidents in Chronicles of a Death Foretold.
My top five Strange Pilgrims stories are (this is ridiculous, with GG Marquez it’s impossible to settle for just five!):
“I just came to use your phone”: Maria is driving alone to Barcelona when her car breaks down and she gets on a bus transporting women to a nursing home. In her destiny, Maria is supposed to be one of them.
Maria dos Prazeres- An aging prostitute waits for death to arrive at her apartment in Barcelona with her dog that she has trained to cry at her grave.
Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane – A very beautiful woman sits next to the author on a flight. He is completely captured by her beauty, and here he expresses her reflections.
Ghosts of August: A family vacationing in Tuscany decides to spend the night at a friend’s castle where, according to legend, the builder killed his girlfriend in bed before setting dogs on himself. The family then discovers the truth of this story the next morning when they wake up.
The people of the Tramontana seek refuge from the Catalan wind that the locals call the Tramontana, bringing with it the paranormal effects on everyone.
I have a special liking for these death stories:
Miss Forbes’s Summer of Happiness: Two children enjoy the serenity of a quiet summer vacation until a strict German nanny arrives.
Light is like water: two children ask for a boat in exchange for their good grades at school. Due to the absence of navigation water, they break the light bulbs in your home and the light comes out like water.
Snow-Billy’s trail of your blood leads his new wife to a hospital to help her stop bleeding from a scratch on her ring finger from a rose thorn and he doesn’t know he’ll never see her again.
Márquez arranged the stories himself in the order he wrote them. Each one has a pilgrim story to tell, in beautiful cities like Rome and Paris. Naturally, save the best for last.
Even the prologue has to tell Marquez’s strange story, of him visiting his own funeral and finally seeing his closest friends, but once the funeral is over, he just can’t leave.
Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez is a Colombian novelist, short story writer, screenwriter and journalist. García Márquez, familiarly known as “Gabo” in his native country, is considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
He started out as a journalist and has written many acclaimed nonfiction and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and commercial success, not least for popularizing a literary style labeled magical realism, which uses magical elements and events to explain real experiences. Some of his works are set in a fictional town called Macondo, and most of them express the theme of loneliness.
“The true memories seemed like ghosts, while the false memories were so convincing that they replaced reality.”
With Márquez, the name of the game is magic and majesty, each pilgrim emerges spellbound.
Next on my reading list is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, unless someone wants to donate another book to read. What’s on your reading list?