Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Life is Like Water" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez-Project 196-Columbia

"Life is Like Water" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1993, 4 pages)

Project 196

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
22 of 196 Countries

  1. Georgia 
  2. Canada
  3. U. S. A.
  4. The Republic of Korea
  5. Antigua and Barbuda 
  6. Haiti
  7. Trinidad and Tobago 
  8. Ukraine
  9. Cameroon
  10. Botswana
  11. Sudan
  12. Dominica 
  13. Israel
  14. Syria
  15. Ethiopia
  16. Zimbabwe
  17. Peru
  18. Chile
  19. South Africa
  20. Turkey
  21. Argentina
  22. Columbia
As we stop over in Columbia for Project 196 we are happy to find a really interesting, very strange story by one of the great masters of world literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Marquez won the Nobel Prize in 1982.  Among his most famous works are One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.   Thankfully for my project, he has also written a lot of great short stories, a few of which can be found online.   (I have previously posted on four of his short stories and there is some additional background information on Marquez in these posts.)

"Life is Like Water" is totally a work of magical realism, something Marquez is heavily identified with.  I am partially posting on this wonderful very strange story (I will provide a link where you can read it at the end of the post) in the hope some will read it and explain it to me.   My first reaction to the story was, "wow that was a tremendous lot of fun to read" and my second reaction was "Huh?".  

The people in the story are two school boys and their parents.  They are from Cartagena, Columbia but are at their apartment in Madrid for the school term.  They are obviously very wealthy.  As the story opens the two boys are asking their parents for a boat.  The parents tell them, we will get you one when we get back to our waterfront villa in Cartagena.  The boys won't accept that it makes no sense to get a boat when you live in an apartment but they win out in the end and their parents buy them one.  Now things turn really wonderful strange and to use a Colombian literary cliche, we venture straight into the heart of magic realism.  The father says the boat will have to stay in the garage but somehow when the parents are out they get it as far as the maid's room.   When the parents go to the movies Wednesday the boys bring the boat into the main room of the place, they break a light bulb by accident 

    On Wednesday night, as they did every Wednesday, the parents went to the movies. The boys, lords and masters of the house, closed the doors and windows and broke the glowing bulb in one of the living room lamps. A jet of golden light as cool as water began to pour out of the broken bulb, and they let it run to a depth of almost three feet. Then they turned off the electricity, took out the rowboat, and navigated at will among the islands in the house. 

Things get stranger as we go on.

As I read this story, I wondered if the idea should be to grasp a deep symbolic meaning in the events that take us into the realm of magic realism or should we just revel in the sheer strangeness and beautiful creations of Marquez.

You can read this story here.

1 comment:

Rosaria Williams said...

Ah, boys have an easier time imagining their adventure than the reader. I shall look for it.