Of Love and Other Demons, by Gabriel García Márquez
My god, what a vivid tragedy! I swear, there’s nobody like the Latin American authors (maybe the Russians?) when it comes to fervid descriptions of suffering and desire.
Márquez wrote this novel after hearing of a skeleton, unearthed in a crypt, with flowing copper hair. It was said to be the remains of a twelve-year-old martyr, Sierva Maria de Todos Los Angeles. Márquez works up the story of Sierva Maria into a haunting fever dream. Márquez’s Sierva Maria is the daughter of a hapless Marquis and his wife, the drug-dazed shell of a formerly beautiful woman. The Marquis and Marquesa have grown so bitter that Sierva Maria, lost in the gap, is raised by the house’s slaves. She learns multiple African languages and spiritual practices. She sleeps where she wants, eats what she finds, and fights like a wildcat.
One day she is bitten by a rabid dog, and taken to a convent, where the nuns believe she is possessed. Father Cayetano Delaura, a priest sent to tend to her, soon falls irrationally, crazily in love with the spitting, shrieking, sometimes chillingly silent girl. They are bound together through miserable exorcisms, enigmas, holy oils, sacraments and rites. Márquez’s mesmerizing tale lets loose the agonies of life, love, faith, and all the other demons.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.
One year ago today: Read me a dream