Context: While reading this, I fitted floor tiles in what was left of our garage after the extension.
A book of short stories which is far, far more satisfying than ploughing your way through the tedium that is One Hundred Years of Solitude. What Garcia Marquez has done here is depict the psyche of South America in fine detail through vignettes of characters such as the eponymous Colonel.
Each tale is told with a delicacy that brings the characters and their deeply felt sufferings alive. The humid air permeates each scene, and the relationships between the characters are stretched just as tautly as they need to be. The writing has an elegant poise that is perfectly measured.
The cumulative effect is to realise that South American suffering is far more psychological than anything to do with poverty or disease. The characters are tortured by historical events, unfulfilled desire, unrealised ambition, the iron bars of status, the burden of regret and that damn humidity again.