Saturday, 19 April 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez in memoriam

There has been a lot written about the great Gabriel Garcia Marquez these days, and I cannot add much except one detail that made a deep impression on me when I read it, many many years ago. In fact, so many years ago I am not sure which book it was, but I believe it is The Autumn of the Patriarch. It is the episode with the lotttery, when each year a young child is asked to pull out a random ball with a winning number. Only it is not a random ball, but the winning ball is heated, and the child is instructed to choose the hot ball, and the dictator always wins. The children are kept in custody so that they cannot reveal the secret. At one point, they are all taken on a boat trip as a reward for their services. By a strange coincidence, the boat sinks.

I am sure most people outside totalitarian contries think that this is satire and grotesque. For me it was just another confirmation of the bitter truth.

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