Monday, December 3, 2012

And FINALLY, a period.

I finally finish reading The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I feel like I have run a marathon up the highest mountain; endured sleeting rain in freezing cold temperatures wrapped in nothing but a measly scarf;  lived on twigs, gruel, and piss for nine months and survived it all. I want some medal.

The Autumn of the Patriarch is Gabo's third masterpiece...if you are counting Leaf Storm as one, which I am, and One Hundred Years of Solitude as two, which everyone else is (I have't read it yet).

It is an awesome and prodigious work. I see four layers in the story.

1. At its most basic, the story is a psychedelic oozing of mixed consciousness', a seething mass of point of view violations.

2. Next, it is like the most brain-bursting collection of metaphors, images, phrasing, words, and writing that I have ever attempted to digest. Often it left me staring at the ceiling, or out the window, or just plain dazed.

3. Then, there is the detailed riveting stomach-churning rubber-necking timeless classic essential portrait of the dictator. When I finish reading, I think...Gabo has captured the inner workings of every single dictator who as ever lived, still lives, is in diapers, and is yet to be born.

4. And the hard reading of the sentences that go on forever, and there is no respite, and you think just the onslaught of all the words is going to make you go crazy which makes the structure of the novel as inaccessible and inscrutable as the psyche of the subject itself.


I am left with memories of that patriarch wearing the denim uniform without insignia and the gold spur on the left heel, who is always dragging his feet through the government house full of chickens and cows to the latrines where he and no one else writes on the the toilets long live the general, long live the stud who after selling a sea, sought in native science the only thing that really interested him which was to discover some masterful hair-restorer for his incipient baldness whose life had been seen in the  premonitory waters of basins by his mother of mine Bendicion Alvarado of my hearthe was as deaf as a post not only because I would ask him about one thing and he would answer about another but also that it grieved him that the birds were not singing when in fact it was difficult to breathe with that uproar of birds which was like walking through the jungle at dawn and they created newspapers and tv shows for him just the way that he liked them and every night he slept in his office behind three bolts, three locks, and three bars which is where they finally found him stretched out on the floor, face down, his right arm bent under his head as a pillow where he had realized at the moment of his death his incapacity for love in the enigma of the palm of his mute hands and in the invisible code of the cards and he had tried to compensate for that infamous fate with the burning cultivation of the solitary vice of power.

And FINALLY, a period. That is kind of how you start to feel, and by the end of the book, you are gasping, yearning, craving, needing, dying for that little dot.

Brilliant. But not light. Very heavy.

I am going to indulge in something  extra-super-duper-extremely lite and fluffy for my next read.

Thank you Gabo, wherever you are, for giving up the law. You and Gaugin.