[F] Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel García Márquez
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel García Márquez’s 1982 novella, tells the story of a man who, like García Márquez himself, returns to his hometown twenty-seven years after a murder about which the entire town knew in advance. The narrator wants to understand who was really responsible. The drama unfolds over three days of a wedding, recalled by the narrator and various townspeople. Readers know the ending, but Márquez nevertheless builds to a climax. The book raises provocative artistic questions about genre: Is this slim novella fiction or some strange hybrid of documentary and fiction that defies categories—detective novel, murder mystery, long-form journalism? Márquez’s first-person narrator is omniscient yet not all-seeing, not a perfect knower but a flawed witness to an entire community’s complicity in a racially-charged murder. The book’s 120 pages have much to teach any writer, from the arts of narrative compression and novella structure, to the nature of tension, to the protean potentials of voice and point-of-view.