I am cherishing this desire to read the novel ‘No one writes to the colonel’ for long. It is a thinnest book Garcia Marquez wrote. To me, that is the point of attraction. I always hated fat books. They consume more time and concentration. Apart from this tiny character, I always have a fascination on what Marquez write. It never disappoints a normal reader. Simple as Latin America, his novels bear direct narrative, which if we dig in can find rooted strongly in the aesthetics of that part of the world.
DC books in Kochi were I always go to get a taste of new and international books, first gave me a glimpse of No one writes to Colonel. At that time, I was grapple by the novel One hundred years of solitude– masterpiece of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The magical spell of One hundred years of solitude, which of course a ‘fat’ book, gave me chills.
I have paid many visits to DC books but never touched No one writes to colonel. It took me almost 3 years to buy this tiny book and that too via online shopping in a discount sale. Marquez had quoted as saying, “I write One hundred years of solitude so that people buy No one writes to Colonel.” That did surprise me. It could be a gimmick of a celebrated writer to get more readers, I thought. Then came this feeling, Marquez never resort to gimmicks. There should be something special about Colonel.
“HE OPENED THE WINDOW. OCTOBER HAD MOVED IN ON THE PATIO. CONTEMPLATING THE VEGETATION, WHICH WAS BURSTING OUT IN INTENSE GREENS, AND THE TINY MOUNDS THE WORMS MADE IN THE MUD, THE COLONEL FELT THE SINISTER MONTH AGAIN IN THE INTESTINES. ”
– No One Writes to the Colonel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
When I got this book in hands I decided to read from page one. Normally I go research a lot about a book before buying. In the case of No one writes to colonel I bypassed my brain and relied my heart. After finishing chapter one, I had this feeling – Yes I know this story, I know the monotonousness called life, I know the omnipresence one calls solitude, and above all the meaninglessness of both desire and hope.
A retired Colonel, ailing and hurt, waiting for the mail carrier to come, to deliver the news of his pension has granted. A wait he is continuing for fifteen years. His son dead, wife ailing, he is waiting for justice to knock on his door. Bearing the burden of loneliness and nostalgia, No one writes to colonel is a masterpiece, truly is.