Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

12 short stories about Latin Americans in Europe.

Back blurb: In Barcelona, an aging Brazilian prostitute trains her dog to weep at the grave she has chosen for herself. In Vienna, a woman parlays her gift for seeing the future into a fortune-telling position with a wealthy family. In Geneva, an ambulance driver and his wife take in the lonely, apparently dying ex-president of a Caribbean country, only to discover that his political ambition is very much intact.

In these twelve masterful stories about the lives of Latin Americans in Europe, Garcia Marquez conveys the particular amalgam of melancholy, tenacity, sorrow and aspiration that is the emigre experience.

My take: This is a fantastic book! If you aren't quite ready to plunge into Garcia Marquez's full length books, this one will give you a feel for how he writes. Despite some of these stories being only a few pages long, the stories will stay with you. They are beautifully un-verbose and showcase his gift for storytelling in magical, mystical prose. That is Garcia Marquez's magic.

If you've ever been in a foreign land, you can easily empathize with these characters' feelings of alienation and dislocation; of existing yet being unrooted from your realities and somehow making ones' self fit. The fit may not be quite right, but one manages.

Read more on the Read the Nobels. Also crossposted on my blog.