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guiltlessreader

Strange Pilgrims - Gabriel García Márquez More reviews here: http://www.guiltlessreading.blogspot.com

This is a fantastic book! If you aren't quite ready to plunge into Garcia Marquez's full length books, this one will give you a feel for how he writes. Despite some of these stories being only a few pages long, the stories will stay with you. They are beautifully un-verbose and showcase his gift for storytelling in magical, mystical prose. That is Garcia Marquez's magic.

If you've ever been in a foreign land, you can easily empathize with these characters' feelings of alienation and dislocation; of existing yet being unrooted from your realities and somehow making ones' self fit. The fit may not be quite right, but one manages.

Being of some Spanish influence, I believe that Filipinos (especially immigrants, overseas workers, and simply those visiting Europe and Americas) will see themselves in these characters and how they will tend to cling to familiar and often comforting traditions. You can change the exterior, but deep down you know who you are.

One of the most disturbing stories for me was the one where a woman simply wanted to use the phone ... but nonetheless ended up in an asylum. Over time she did become half insane. It is the tragedy of communicating, yet not being believed.

I have many favorite short stories here. Each story can be read leisurely in a few minutes. I suggest you not to rush through the entire thing in one sitting but savor each story, let it stay with you, and maybe even re-read it.

I've marked my favorite stories, through I loved each story in its own way.

Bon Voyage, Mr President
The Saint
*Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane
*I Sell My Dreams
"I Only Came to Use the Phone"
The Ghosts of August
María dos Prazeres
Seventeen Poisoned Englishmen
Tramontana
Miss Forbes's Summer of Happiness
*Light is Like Water
*The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow

The stories in this collection were originally written in a span of some 20 years, during the 70s and 80s. It wasn't published until 1992. Garcia Marquez draws from his own experiences as he spent some years as an exile from his native Colombia.