Sunday, February 13

The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother by Gabriel García Márquez

A longer story - and a very powerful one indeed.  Márquez is obviously better-known for his novels, and this is one of his earlier works, but it makes it into the list of 75 best short stories at The Short Story Campaign.

So, the story.  In the desert, there are two surviving members of a family in a huge mansion.  A girl, Eréndira, looks after her grandmother like a servant, but when she accidentally causes a fire that destroys the house, her grandmother forces into prostitution to repay her debt.

The house was far away from everything, in the heart of the desert, next to a settlement with miserable and burning streets where the goats committed suicide from desolation when the wind of misfortune blew.”

There proceeds a surreal and shocking account of the pair travelling the country like a circus, with a troop of Indian servants, the remains of her father and grandfather in a casket, and a steadily building collection of artifacts to replace the lost family treasures. Everywhere they go, a long line of men builds up waiting to use the girl for 50 pesos a time.

Stunningly bizarre turns of phrase (see quote) and a novella-length story.  The plot is basically quite simple, but the story deserves the long, rich telling.

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