The Hushed Desperation
The writings of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez have captured the embodiment of struggle: between the proletariat and the powerful, between the individual and the family, between morality and ideology, and between true justice and its façade. Contrary to Western ideals, good does not always triumph over evil. Reality is more complex and sour than the narrow, sweetness of a fairytale. Ambition, passion, and fear dilute the humanity of the soul quicker than religion or morality can claim to purify it. Truth lies in the acceptance that sense cannot combat zeal. Morals cannot stand in the way of desire. And the black snake of dread constricts justice and goodness, and swallows them into the depths of its murky abyss. Heroes are as misguided as their enemies, and outside of America, Conservatism is not defined by constitutional rights and Socialism is not the epitome of evil.
The writings of Allende and Marquez are raw and bitter and alive with their own coarse sentiments, perhaps because they were not born with the assurance of democracy and liberty. They did not grow up in an America of stocked supermarkets. And the promises made to them by their governments were oftentimes plastic falsehoods, transparently covering the barrel of a gun. The only escape left to them was writing. The result was One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of Spirits.
As holds true in history, the events that take place in the past affect those that occur in the future. The narrative saga is rooted in the human race’s most traditional form of storytelling, going back to the legendary tales spread by bards throughout the kingdoms of old. One Hundred Years of Solitude spans ten generations of the Buendia family, starting from when Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia first found the town of Macondo. It is necessary that the events surrounding Macondo’s founding are detailed to the reader because the Buendia story emerges from the reverberations of the Original Sin. Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia’s relationship is formed less from a prick of love, and more from a “prick of conscience” (20). The two are blood-related: first cousins. Ursula is tormented by the image of a child born with a pig’s tail, the price of an incestuous coupling. She refuses to sleep with her husband, and the couple’s frustrated sexuality leads to the murder of Prudencio Aguilar at the hands of Jose Arcadio Buendia. This is the ghost that chases Ursula and her husband from Riohacha, and spurs them to discover a new frontier, a new home. Yet, it is this Original Sin, encompassed by both incestuous sex and murder that casts a damning shadow over the future of the Buendia family. It is a dark stain that will not be removed. Marquez fully explores the ripples of the Original Sin and the effect they have on the family. Without starting from the very beginning and going until the very end, Marquez cannot justify any aspect of his tale to the reader. The passing years weave Marquez’s story together.
Similarly, The House of Spirits details struggles that are not born within merely a few years, but rather a few lifetimes. Esteban Trueba is raised in relative poverty, battling to rebuild the wealth his father drinks into the mud. His entire young adult existence is aimed at attaining a lifestyle that was stolen from him by the nymph-like power of liquor, and the weakness of his father’s mind. Through willpower alone, Trueba is able to transform the ruined lands of Tres Marias, his inheritance, into a wealthy hacienda. On Tres Marias, Trueba enjoys a God-like power, “[tolerating] no opposition…sowing the entire region with his bastard offspring, reaping hatred, and storing up sins” (63). It is this early rule, in which Trueba attempts to better the lives of his peasants through education and the insurance of food, but he also takes liberties with his power, which creates the breeding ground for the anti-Conservative, Marxist ideology that would, later on, pit the people of Tres Marias against their patron. In order for The House of Spirits to accomplish Allende’s goal of portraying Chile’s revolution from subterranean seedling to fully-sprouted tree, the saga is necessary. Marquez and Allende fully explore their respective subjects, and justify their novelistic design, without omitting details that are key to the plot and the precision of their stories.
The inspiration of both One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of Spirits lies in Latin American history. Marquez reaches into the past and draws out Colombia’s experience with colonization, and relates that experience metaphorically. Shortly after founding Macondo, the town deals with the unprecedented “insomnia plague” (43). The plague prevents the townspeople from sleeping, and the effects of the lack of sleep soon begin to show. The inhabitants of Macondo wander in a dream-like delirium, slowly losing the knowledge of the names and uses of commonplace items, and more so, their memories. The insomnia plague erases the pasts of Macondo’s people and forces them to rewrite their own history.
Marquez crafts the insomnia plague to represent the erasing of indigenous culture that follows European colonization of South America. Interestingly, the plague is brought by a foreign little girl who claims kinship to the Buendia family, though her claim is untraceable and doubtful. It is she who infects the town. The little insomniac, Rebeca, is Marquez’s embodiment of Europe. She appears unthreatening and claims to be of the same blood, confusing the indigenous Buendias, as the Europeans and Cortez presented themselves initially, not as conquerors, but as Aztec gods. The Buendias take Rebeca in, and as a result, the insomnia spreads, destroying their memories. Once the Europeans are invited into the unsuspecting native societies, diseases spread, killing off the Indians and destroying their cultural identity, and from then on, Europe remains firmly rooted in Latin America. Rebeca does not return to her blood family, either.
Another reality faced by Colombia during Marquez’s childhood was foreign industrialization, and Macondo faces the same threat in the form of the “banana plague” (229) introduced by the gringo Mr. Herbert, who had slipped into the Buendia’s house and who “no one noticed at the table” (225). Mr. Herbert brings with him the banana company, which soon begins bringing trains filled with gringos into Macondo, uprooting the original townspeople, and using Macondo’s land to plant groves of banana trees. The effect on the town mirrors the effect foreign companies had on Colombia. The businesses owned by the natives begin going out of business, bought out by foreign investors. Macondo’s red light district is shut down, and an important social hub of native society is eradicated.
As foreign companies stormed South America, eager to make their money off of resources such as sugar, rubber, and wood, native economies collapsed under the pressure of foreign markets. The quality of life for South Americans deteriorated. Macondo parallels this reality. The heads of the banana company begin building their own segment of Macondo. It is filled with large, white houses and swimming pools, and is fenced off from the rest of Macondo. On the other side of the fence, the homes of the natives fall to disrepair as nobody has money enough to fix them. The contrast between wealthy foreigners and poor natives is not overlooked by Marquez and he commentates on the larger reality for Colombia. Foreign industry crashed the local economies and the result was poverty.
The Conservative government of Colombia worked with European companies and that holds true in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The native labor unrest that follows the industrialization of Macondo leads to a large protest in Macondo’s town square organized by union leaders. The army is called in by the Conservative government and is “authorized…to shoot to kill” (304). The army sprays the crowd with machine gun fire- killing men, women, and children. Quietly, three thousand bodies are loaded onto “endless and silent” (306) black trains that carry the bodies to the sea, dark against the night sky. Jose Arcadio Segundo, present at the protest and assumed dead, is loaded on to the trains, and is witness to the slaughter. He manages to escape but returns to Macondo to find the inhabitants struck by a suspicious amnesia. No one remembers the dead. The government gives an official story that the protest was peaceful and the workers returned home safely. The blatant lie is quietly accepted by all but Jose Arcadio Segundo. The government rewrites history to suit its purposes. Marquez structures the amnesia to represent the attitude of forceful ignorance adopted by the Colombian people in order to avoid punishment at the hands of the government.
Following the town square massacre, the head of the banana company offers to sign a treaty with the union leaders. But at the moment of signing, a violent thunderstorm sweeps the horizon, and the banana company announces its decision to postpone the agreement until after the storm ceases. Following the decision, Macondo is bombarded by rain for “four years, eleven months, and two days” (315). Forged from Marquez’s own convictions, this is a metaphor representative of the Colombian government’s ability to conceal and eradicate all traces of the atrocities it commits. The torrential rain is a curtain that falls upon Macondo, washing away the evidence of the massacre and any hope for justice.
Isabel Allende is second cousin to Salvador Allende, and was a political refugee, escaping the Pinochet military regime that overthrew the Allende government. The Conservative government in Chile is deceitful and underhanded, as well. In the elections preceding the 1973 election, Esteban Trueba is firm in his knowledge that his right-wing candidate will win. Clara, his clairvoyant wife, affirms this by saying, “Those who have always won will win again” (334). Still to guarantee victory and combat Marxism, Trueba hosts a large celebration for the peasants. The peasants feast on fine food, drink expensive liquor, and listen as the virtues of the Conservative government are bestowed upon them. Trueba promises them that if the “conservative candidate [wins]…they would all receive a bonus, but that if he [loses] they would lose their jobs” (70). Trueba shamelessly manipulates and deceives his peasants, as the Conservative government did to Chile’s proletariat. Trueba buys the people’s good graces with food and plies them with alcohol, simply to ensure that Chile will continue to be ruled by the same party.
Pedro Tercero Garcia, the celebrated revolutionary song writer and singer, grows up in Tres Marias. Garcia’s famous song of the “hens who joined forces to confront [the] fox” (141) becomes the anthem of Marxist sentiment in Chile. His love affair with Blanca, daughter of the Conservative Trueba, leads to a violent confrontation with the latter, and ends with him “[disappearing] with a terrifying scream…[leaving] a trail of blood behind him” (206). The incident is metaphoric of the enduring struggle between the wealthy Conservatives of Chile and the peasants-turned-Marxists. Allende also stealthily comments on the resolve of the Chilean people against oppression and injustice. Garcia loses three fingers as a result of Trueba’s wrath, yet he learns to play his guitar without them and continues to be the vanguard of revolution. His spirit of Socialism remains unconquered by the maiming, as the Chilean people’s desire for justice does not dissipate in the face of the powerful opposition.
As the Conservative government in Chile becomes more corrupt, and the people more emboldened, the Marxist candidate who “had had his eye on the Presidency for the past eighteen years” (333) finally gains the momentum he needs to win the presidency. He is elected and “inside the mansions of the rich, the bottles of champagne remained unopened” (341). Horrified that a socialist has come into power, Esteban Trueba soon begins meeting with leaders of the military, Conservative congressmen, and the representatives of foreign nations. A military coup is organized and the Marxist government falls into the hands of the military. Seeing any opposition as a threat, the military Junta begins seeking out known Marxists. Soon enough, people begin to disappear, shantytowns are hidden by stone walls, and fear prowls the streets. The threat of faceless soldiers, the “distant screeching of breaks, the slam of a door, gunfire…a muffled scream” (389) mire Chile in terror. As the remaining inhabitants of Macondo suffer from an attack of amnesia after the town square massacre, the Chilean people suffer from willful blindness. If soldiers come for a neighbor, one can breathe a sigh of relief for he is not yet a target. Survival overrides the desire for justice and the compulsion to reach out to the victims, and the Chilean people “put pillows over their heads so they would not have to know what was going on” (403). Allende details a nightmarish world, but one that she has lived in.
Through the silence of the people, the Junta is given the power to trod upon human rights. Allende chooses to portray her protagonist realistically, leaving the heroics for another novel. Alba withdraws into her house when the soldiers come to carry out atrocities in her neighborhood. The great beast of the Junta grows fat and powerful, feeding on criminal success and the hushed avoidance of the people. When the faceless soldiers come for her, Alba understands that it is futile to resist imprisonment. She allowed fear to steal her voice and now there is no one to cry out for her. Allende parallels the reality of Chile’s society under the Pinochet regime with that of The House of Spirits.
Though Marquez and Allende weave similar political ideologies into their novels, the narrative lens through which the stories are told is fundamentally different. The Buendia men are the most important players in One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is through their children that the fateful Buendia family name is transferred and each male holds patriarchal value. The Buendia name damns each character to suffer a tragic end and the importance and morality of One Hundred Years of Solitude lies essentially in how the characters meet their demise. Thus, Marquez styles his novel to focus on the males of the Buendia family. They are the leads in his play, and the women serve as supporting roles.
Contrariwise, Allende gears her novel toward a lineage of powerful female characters. The female Trueba’s have the ability to maneuver around their domineering patriarch in order to accomplish their own goals. Clara uses her clairvoyance and the spirit world as a shield against Esteban’s desires. Despite his tireless efforts, he is never able to break into her reality and thus, she maintains the upper hand in the relationship. From childhood, Blanca uses her social status and presumed innocence to carry out an affair with the outspoken Pedro Tercero Garcia in her father’s domain. The product of this affair, Alba, manages to quietly turn her conservative grandfather’s mansion into a safe house for liberal revolutionaries. The Trueba women use the cult of domesticity as a veil to obscure their intentions and to successfully achieve their goals (Martin). More so, when faced with the problematic females, Esteban’s masculine demeanor works against him in every situation.
Behind the Trueba women’s femininity is power and Allende gives The House of Spirits a feminist slant. After being raped and tortured at the hands of the General Garcia, Alba is rehabilitated at a women’s camp. Though many of the women have endured similar horrors, they rebelliously sing songs to ease their pain and fiercely protect each other. Allende portrays men in her novel, even the protagonists, as ideological zealots. Whether their hunger is for power or justice or revolution, their souls are equally turbulent. Miguel is Alba’s lover and a guerilla. The constant danger he is in makes Alba “[shake] in her bed” (389). She is sick with fear, though he is fighting for a cause she supports. Allende fashions the men in The House of Spirits as sources of unrest, violence, and heartbreak. T
Marquez prefers to insinuate in One Hundred Years of Solitude, writing the novel in an ambiguous manner. Yet it is this very same ambiguity that lends the novel its grace. When imagining Remedios, Aureliano feels a “[pain] in some part of his body…a physical sensation that… [bothers] him when he [walks]” (58). Marquez is above using basic words such as erection. He dances around his intended meaning, teasing the reader into using their imagination, and successfully manipulates the reader. Marquez’s decision to imply rather than say is an intimate method of protecting the virtue of his characters. Were Marquez to bluntly state that the thought of the young girl gave Aureliano an erection, the reader gains an impression of pedophilic lust. But through Marquez’s delicate description, Aureliano is painted as being passionately in love, so much so that he is physically in pain.
Allende’s only ambiguity lies in her omission of specific titles when alluding to historic people or events. The opposition candidate to the Conservatives is referred to only as “the Candidate” (334) or “Companero President” (367). Historically speaking, the victor of the 1973 presidential elections was Salvador Allende, but Allende never refers to him as such. The House of Spirits is a close historical retelling, but by excluding all actual names and dates, Allende attempts to preserve some remnants of fiction in her novel. The “Candidate” becomes anonymous and the “timid spring…day of the coup” (366) is not September 11th, 1973. There is still a sliver of room for the reader to use their imagination.
In every other aspect, Allende’s writing is blunt. Euphemistic language is left to Marquez. When detailing the escapades of the great dog Barabas, Allende writes, “Nothing could hold him back…when he sniffed a bitch in heat…He [would] return with the dog hanging off of him…impaled by his immense masculinity” (78). The reader is not spared the image of bloody corpse hanging from the concupiscent dog. In that lies the beauty of Allende’s prose. The facts are presented and examined under a phosphoric light, illuminating an unbiased truth. Esteban Trueba does not take advantage of a peasant girl, he “[attacks] her savagely, thrusting himself into her…with unnecessary brutality” (57). The reader is aware of Trueba’s violent actions, but is still feels a certain warmth for the angry old crone. Allende’s masterful manipulation, different from Marquez, is thus revealed. The presentation of the absolute truth lends Allende credibility as an author and the novel a humanity that is both vicious and real. The reader’s tendency to judge is stripped by the wind of the novel’s bare tone.
Marquez is famed for his incorporation of magical realism into his novels, and especially in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Macondo is a town where it “[rains]…tiny yellow flowers” (140) and “after many years of death... [one ends] up loving his worst enemy” (77). Supernatural occurrences, such as the friendship between Jose Arcadio Buendia and the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, add a dream-like quality to the world of Macondo. The impossible becomes possible. This is the underlying message behind Marquez’s magical realism. Throughout Colombia’s national history, many things occur that leave the Colombian people blindsided. Barefaced government corruption. Foreign infestations. Bloody revolts. The insecurity felt by the Colombian people is based on the experience that the unimaginable can and does happen. Thus, the instances of magical realism scattered throughout Marquez’s novel are representative of a truth experienced first-hand by Marquez. He uses the fantastic to portray reality.
Clara Trueba was born a clairvoyant. She transforms Trueba’s mansion in the city into a sanctuary for spiritualists and it is there that she builds a life-long friendship with the three Mora sisters, clairvoyants also. Combined with Clara, the women’s predictions foreshadow events in the novel and guide the reader to pay attention to key details in the novel. Luisa Mora comes to Esteban Trueba and Alba months after the military coup. She receives a vision that “death is at [Alba’s] heels” (365). Allende uses the prophetic visions to draw her audience deeper into the novel. The visions hang like bait before the reader, daring him to continue reading. By knowing what is to come, the reader is thrust into a God-like position and the novel has a greater emotional impact on him.
While artfully portraying Latin American history, The House of Spirits and One Hundred Years of Solitude serve the greater purpose of shedding light on the complexities of the human soul and the darkness within it. Sin is defined as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law” (Dictionary.com). It is of no wonder then why Amaranta wages an internal war against her desire and her morals. She falls into lust with her nephew Aureliano Jose and they engage in an “autumnal passion” (143). Yet her soul is restless. She is “[drawn] out of her delirium” (143) and ends the relationship, though she is unable to maintain her cold demeanor. Amaranta and Aureliano Jose engage in a battle of hunger and morals. Until the very end, Amaranta’s religious fervor cannot override her yearning for Aureliano Jose. Physical craving conquers mental aversion. Marquez reveals the uncomfortable truth that most human beings are fundamentally weak when faced with desire.
Esteban Garcia finds himself caught in the same web of animalistic want. As Trueba’s unacknowledged, illegitimate son, Garcia feels a smarting hatred for Trueba. When he finds himself alone with a young Alba, he is swept up into a maelstrom of hate. “He [wants] to hurt her…but he also [wants] to continue having her soft skin within reach…He [takes] her hand and [places] it on his stiffened sex” (286). Garcia stands on the cusp of committing a life-changing crime. He refrains. Though he initially controlls his lust, Garcia is unable to fully overcome it. After the military coup- now a general in the army- Garcia abducts Alba and rapes and tortures her. His actions are ruled by the savage hunger to consume Alba that remained from years ago, and once again, the human inability to combat desire is exposed.
The extensive Buendia and Trueba families live together in sprawling houses and the members of both families are affected by this close proximity. Esteban Trueba endures an inner conflict when earning the love of his family is put at odds with pursuing his political career and managing his hacienda. To be a successful politician and landowner, he must be vicious and dictatorial. Yet it is impossible for the rest of the Trueba family to open their hearts to such a man. Trueba’s individual ambition makes him unable to connect with his family and his aspirations take precedence over his wife and children. By achieving his personal goals, Trueba is able to distinguish himself. It is these distinguishing factors that form the core of Trueba’s individuality. Though isolated, Trueba does not forsake his individuality in favor of assimilation into his family.
Colonel Aureliano Buendia relinquishes his ties to the Buendias order to lead the Liberal army in its many wars against the Conservative Colombian government. The colonel leaves Macondo to join the revolution with blood warm with passion and eyes ablaze and with love of family and country in his heart. He returns a cruel and calculating man, carrying an “inner coldness which [shatters] his bones” (166). Ursula is distraught by the communistic regime her son plants in Macondo and even more so by the change her blind eyes see within his soul. Colonel Aureliano Buendia sacrifices his ability to love in order to “win a defeat that [is] much more…bloody and costly than victory” (170). The Colonel’s dedication to the downfall of the Conservative government defines him and he is set apart from his family. Because character is shaped by ambition, the quest for self-identity supersedes duty to one’s family. Colonel Aureliano Buendia leaves to fight, not one revolt, but “thirty-two armed uprisings” (103). He is away from Macondo for years at a time and neither love nor familial obligation can call him back.
Contrary to her grandfather’s stringent political views, Alba falls in love with Miguel. She assumes his socialist views and takes part in the “[seizure] of a university building in support of a strike by workers” (320). Esteban Trueba is distressed at Alba’s association with those that he considers the “Marxist cancer” (306). In love and inspired, Alba is undaunted. Even her deep adoration of Esteban Trueba and his extreme conservative views do not sway her to change her character. Family is important, but cannot prevail against the power of individuality.
Spinning throughout The House of Spirits is a cycle based on the political power in Chile. Trueba’s rape of Pancha Garcia demonstrates the authoritarian position Trueba holds at Tres Marias. He is able to rape the young Pancha without facing any consequences. Trueba fathers a son, Esteban Garcia, as a result of the violent coupling. Unaware of the child’s existence, Esteban Garcia is raised with the black seed of hate in his heart. He knows that under different circumstances, he would have been privy to the wealth of his bourgeois father. From this stems his hatred of Alba: she “[embodies] everything he would never have” (286). After the military coup, Esteban Garcia strips Trueba of his authority through the kidnap and rape of his granddaughter. The cycle of power is thus complete.
Incestuous relationships do not allow “new blood” (Bhalla). A bloodline will eventually be destroyed through means of inbred diseases and a lack of a healthy gene pool. It is a heritage with “no future… [a] denial of history” (Bhalla). Both Amaranta and Aureliano Jose have spells in which they resist their attraction to one another, often futilely. Their relationship causes Amaranta to ignore the attempts by appropriate suitor Colonel Gerineldo Marquez and thus weaves a web of solitude around her and cuts off the promise of a future.
The repeated activities of the characters, the cycles they engage in, represent the lonely path towards death (Bhalla). Colonel Aureliano Buendia crafts his famous gold fishes, but as soon as he reaches seventeen fishes, he melts them down and begins anew. It is within this period of time that the robust warrior finally begins to shrivel and become decrepit. Similarly, Amaranta is told to begin weaving a shawl. Upon completion of the shawl, Amaranta knows she will die. In a futile attempt to prolong her life and defy death, Amaranta weaves, unweaves, and reweaves the shawl. With this act, she attempts to “[rebel] against time” (Bhalla).
Marquez condemns the Buendia family by submitting them to one hundred years of solitude. The source of this solitude is the cyclical dance in which the Buendia family is forced to take part in. There is no escape, and each member is trapped within their own cycle, achieving the epitome of solitude. Each family member is fated to die at specific moment, and until his time comes, is imprisoned within his own cycle. Colonel Aureliano Buendia “[survives] fourteen attempts on his life, seventy-three ambushes, and a firing squad” (103). The attempted executions carried out by the opposition force fails in killing him and he returns unscathed from his thirty two wars. The colonel dies at an old, lonely age in the Buendia house in Macondo. Marquez removes the option of death as an escape for his characters. They are forced to endure long years of solitude as punishment for Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia’s Original Sin.
The culmination of One Hundred Years of Solitude is the “biblical hurricane” that obliterates Macondo. Marquez offers the Buendia family one hundred years of solitude to remedy their sins and purify their souls. Yet the members of the family are unable to break the cycle of incest due to the inability of morality to conquer desire. Nearing almost one hundred years after Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, the remaining Buendias- Amaranta Ursula and Aureliano- become lovers. Their passion is carnal and ferocious and they do “more damage [to the house] than the red ants: they [destroy] the furniture… [tear] to shreds the hammock…disemboweled the mattresses” (405). It is this final act of careless indulgence that leads to the birth of a child with the “tail of a pig” (412). The cycle has been fulfilled and time has run out for the Buendias. Amaranta Ursula dies while birthing the monster and the biblical hurricane annihilates Aureliano.
At the heart of this retribution is the prophecy of Melquiades, the gypsy. The tomes containing the prophecy are given to the Buendia family. Melquiades’s prophecy is made to be undecipherable until the moment of destruction arrives. In the last moments, Aureliano understands that he would “never leave that room… [would be] exiled from the memory of men” (416). It is a warning that is decoded far too late. This is often the case in human history, and a realistic aspect to the novel. Marquez attests to the unalterable reality of fate. The Buendias are given a century to remedy their Original Sin. They fail to do so and retribution is swift. The Buendia family is so utterly destroyed that anything and anyone connected with them is destroyed, as well. Marquez ends with a blaze of “poetic justice” (Clark).
The zenith of The House of Spirits is Alba’s shattering of the cycle of power. Reflecting upon the bloody history endured by her, her family, and her country, Alba writes that “[her] revenge would be just another part of the same inexorable rite. [She has] to break that terrible chain” (432). Alba recognizes that to continue the struggle for justice would lead to more death and the cycle would repeat itself. Instead, Alba understands that the past must be laid to rest before the future can be embraced. It is then that she is able to eclipse her thirst for vengeance with her hunger for peace. Allende imparts her last message on the reader: no amount of blood paid or prison time served can restore the lives of the thousands who died under the Pinochet military regime. Humanity can only learn from history’s mistakes and try with all might and power to avoid them in the future.
Between the lines of One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of Spirits is a hushed desperation. It is the anxious fever of a protester pushing against the police line. It is the frantic dread of a mother watching her son kicked into an unmarked van. It is the sweat filled breath of a boy facing the firing squad. Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez challenge their readers to step into a realm where happy-endings are not assured. Where fiction represents a broader reality. Where safety is a poison-colored lie. Where staying quiet is safer than seeking justice. In Allende’s world, there are no second chances. And in Marquez’s world, humans given a second chance are fated to make the same mistake. But both agree: for every choice made, there are consequences to be paid.
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