Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez described the effects of the Balkanization of America in a surreal manner. It would be too painful for the inhabitants who survived poverty and military dictatorship. In a remote coastal town, such tales would be forgotten. But the Colombian author knew otherwise.
Readers would find it hard to believe that GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez thought of a tale of a nonagenarian looking for a young woman to spend his last days. She could be a virgin to many people, but those who read this particular story would be surprised at how the author described the outcome. "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother" was a collection of shorts set in a seaside community. It could be Colombia, where GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez grew up. It may be Mexico. It wouldn't make a difference, as Latin Americans have the same struggles.
Let's have a look at the shorts that revealed the unusual history of this village:
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. Pelayo was worried about his infant son, who was high with fever. He was distracted by an angel in the beach. He was an old man who spoke an old Norwegian dialect. His wings have an awful stench. But his little boy was saved from near death, while the couple nursed this angel back to health. Some readers would see a good omen, which seemed remote in this part of the world. Elisenda, Pelayo's wife, was annoyed at the old man, but she knew his presence would bring hope to the household. On the other end, cynics thought of fatalism.
The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World. He was an enormous human being, with the whitest skin that the villagers laid their eyes on. And they couldn't helped but identify with him. He could be the mythical entity from the depths of the sea, who was washed ashore after a violent storm. The higher gods might have banished him. This might be a secret desire of the villagers, which they nurtured for years. The elements would tempt them, but their wish was granted in an unexpected manner.
The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship. It could be a vision of the villagers during sleep, which would be an escape from their hardship. It might be the image of the community of yesteryear. GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez didn't describe a Flying Dutchman, but it could be his distant relative. He was reaching for the stars. There was hope for this town.