Del amor y otros demonios

ISBN: 0307350444
ISBN 13: 9780307350442
By: Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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Classics Favorites Fiction Latin America Latin American Literature Magical Realism Novel Romance To Read

About this book

Premio Nobel de Literatura“Una obra atrevida y cautivadora… García Márquez retiene una voz admirable y vital, y la pluma de un ángel”.—Los Angeles Times Book Review El 26 de octubre de 1949 el reportero Gabriel García Márquez fue enviado al antiguo convento de Santa Clara, que iba a ser demolido para edificar sobre él un hotel de cinco estrellas, a presenciar el vaciado de las criptas funerarias y a cubrir la noticia.  Se exhumaron los restos de un virrey del Perú y su amante secreta, un obispo, varias abadesas, un bachiller de artes y una marquesa. Pero la sorpresa saltó al destapar la tercera hornacina del altar mayor: se desparramó una cabellera de color cobre, de veintidós metros y once centímetros de largo, perteneciente a una niña. En la lápida apenas se leía el nombre: Sierva María de Todos los Ángeles.  Cuenta el propio García Márquez: "Mi abuela me contaba de niño la leyenda de una marquesita de doce años cuya cabellera le arrastraba como una cola de novia, que había muerto del mal de rabia por el mordisco de un perro, y era venerada en los pueblos del Caribe por sus muchos milagros. La idea de que esa tumba pudiera ser la suya fue mi noticia de aquel día, y el origen de este libro".

Reader's Thoughts

Carmo Santos

Pobre Sierva Maria; odiada pela mãe e ignorada pelo pai, cresceu rebelde no meio dos escravos, com poucos vislumbres de carinho ou amor.Quis a sua pouca sorte que uma dentada de cão raivoso ditasse o seu futuro e a atirasse nas malhas da ignorância. Não foi a raiva felina que a derrotou, foi a intolerância de quem a devia ter defendido. Apavorada pela perseguição reage da única forma possível:dissimula o medo com selvajaria e dá razão a quem a acusa. Não fossem as contrariedades do destino, e a dedicação e amor do padre Delaura tê-la-iam salvo (mas isso seria um final feliz para livros banais).Morreu consumida de amor,vitima da imbecilidade e da superstição.Contado com a perícia habitual do autor e com a dose certa de magia e de sobrenatural, traz-nos personagens ricas e insólitas - cada uma delas presa na sua solidão inviolável - numa história a que me rendi desde a primeira página e que termina com uma sensação de tristeza.Já leio García Márquez há algum tempo, mas fico sempre fascinada com a sua capacidade de composição textual. É incrível como pega em palavras que todos conhecemos (com exceção de algum vocabulário típico da América do Sul, que por vezes nem o dicionário reconhece) e compõe frases com um sentido e profundidade que tantas vezes me desnorteia. Têm a honestidade de chamar as coisas pelo nome sem rodeios ou paninhos quentes, é direto e acutilante, mas com um sentido de humor incomparável.Dentro do segmento dos seus livros mais pequenos, 100/200 páginas, foi sem duvida o que gostei mais.

Christina Wilder

Take the disturbing tale of Lolita, add in the spiritual soul-searching of The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the horror of The Exorcist, as well as gorgeous prose, and you have this book. A man abandons his lover for another woman, who is struck by a lightning bolt and killed. His scorned lover, who used to communicate to him by way of leaving notes in paper folded into the shape of birds and left in a nearby tree, leaves "a storm" of paper birds, all written with the ominous message "That lightening bolt was mine."A holy man, tortured by his love and desire for a young girl thought to be possessed, seeks solace with a notorious atheist. "Do not torture yourself in vain...perhaps you have come only because you needed to talk about her," the nonbeliever soothes, to which the priest replies, "I could talk to you without stopping until the next century."(view spoiler)[When the priest begans to meet with the girl in secret, he confesses his love to her. He takes her hand and places it over his heart, and "she felt the internal clamor of his suffering." He tells her "I am always in this state."She pushes him, daring to do strange things to prove his love, the way a child naturally would. He is a slave to her and his own lack of faith. There are no happy endings. (hide spoiler)]The recognition of obsession, as well as the pitfalls of denying it and embracing it, come to life in this small gem of a novel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Pina Varriale

Un piccolo capolavoro di un grande della letteratura.

Bogdan Liviu

Dezamagirea e colosala pentru c-am fost extrem de entuziasmat s-o citesc. Nu m-a captivat absolut deloc, mi-a fost cu neputinta sa ma atasez de vreun personaj. Poate-s prea batran pentru a mai citi cu pasiune despre superstitiile oamenilor "religiosi". Nici relatia bolnava dintre preot si fata respectiva n-a avut impact, dar inteleg de ce unora le-a placut atat de mult, sunt teme interesante abordate, imi pare rau ca am avut atatea asteptari - poate de-asta sunt si atat de drastic in rating, n-am detestat-o, dar nici n-am intrat in lectura NICIODATA. Nu spun ca e o carte proasta (mai degraba as spune ca eu sunt prost), spun doar ca nu-i pentru mine. 1,5!


Marquez begins his story with a note. In this note, he describes arriving at a convent in the process of being emptied and turned into a luxury hotel. Laborers unearthed "three generations of bishops and abbesses and other eminent personages" until, at last, they came to a niche of the high altar where they found the tomb of a twelve-year old girl called Sierva Maria de Todos Los Angeles. She had hair the color of copper and it flowed out of her head twenty-two metres long. And so a story is born. Marquez imagines a life for a two hundred year old corpse. He replenishes her flesh and restores her bones and puts her through a time that can only be received with a heavy heart: Sierva Maria is born and neglected, then bitten by a dog, thought to have caught rabies, put through tumultuous medical examinations (which include drinking her own urine), then thought to be possessed, locked up in a convent presided over by a stern and irrational abbess, is then introduced to a priest, falls in love, and...well, this is the part when you read the story yourself. Love, here, is equated to illness...demonic possession to be exact. Marquez is an author of magic realism and the lines between the realms are effectively fogged. Is Sierva Maria possessed or she not? The complexities of this question is impressively elicited in readers. Church and science are reflected in two astute and interesting characters.But that is not truly the epitome of this story. For it is about love and the turmoil of it that surrounds these characters. Sierva Maria is a young girl born to the Marquis. She is dismissed as a baby and left to fend for herself. It is a slave, the housekeeper of slaves, named Dominga de Adviento who takes the child into her care. Waking, sleeping and everything in between, Sierva does with the slaves; she learns their languages, their dance, their songs and traditions, rituals and beliefs. She is a feral child who slits the throats of goats and eats their organs. And it is the cruelest of actions to take her away from it all, only to be abused, misunderstood, rejected, and perceived as a demonic being. But she is a child, with an altered imagination because she was not raised with her people. She does not conform to general etiquette, she does not act, think, or speak like her color. She is different because she was orphaned by her living parents. And when one of them decides to extend his heart, it is much too late. Sierva represents the abandoned in all of us; the part left alone for so long it's forgotten to wish. She has no concept of love or truth, and when she finally does receive it, it is from a source forbidden with no future. Perhaps, however, the storyline I found most gripping, with an almost all-consuming fear, was that of the Marquis. He grows up just as discarded as Sierva, with the exception that he had social, familial, and political obligations to fulfill. Having grown up in disappointment and inadequacy, he is turned numb by the sudden loss of his wife; numb just as he was learning to feel. He becomes a widower and this defines him for much too long of his life. He grows complacent, laxed and forgets to live. He lets life and its glory slip through his fingers without a single taste. Near the end, when he searches for his estranged second wife, if only "so they might at least each have someone to die with" -- the absolute desperation and loneliness of the image and the words and the intent and the deeply-rooted truth behind it was enough to make my heart constrict in sympathy, empathy, and panic. It made me hesitate in turning the page, made my eyes linger on the period, wanting but scared to read the coming passage. Would this bend my heart anymore than it already has? I was in a battle...afraid to consume the story that had me oppressively, yet tenderly, facing a mirror.


I don't regret having delayed completing Of Love and Other Demons for several years as I don't think I would have appreciated this novella half of much when I first started. My impression then was that this was a slow-moving story with much description but little happening. How wrong I was!The title is so apt as this is an exploration of how obsessions can take precedence over basic humanity. The enigma that is Sierva Maria is the catalyst for upheaval in a coastal Colombian town (a fictionalised Cartagena) of a couple of centuries ago: bitten by a rabid dog but surviving against the odds, her very existence seems to infect all she comes into contact with. Many of these individuals then exhibit a rabidity that has nothing to do with a physical ailment and everything to do with diseases of the mind: irrational superstition, jealousy, inhumanity and, yes, love, but obsessive love akin to that of a stalker. Young Sierva Maria gets taken by her father to the convent of the Santa Clara nuns where she is imprisoned before her exorcism, an exorcism that is deemed necessary because she speaks various African languages and appears different, from her long unshorn hair to her unconventional behaviours. Marquez exposes several human frailties in the local populace, from xenophobia to snobbery and from drug addiction to political expediency. After her incarceration and the witnessing of the eclipse of the sun the downfall of Sierva Maria is sealed by the reverberations her mere existence has occasioned: the unexplained deaths of the innocent and not-so-innocent, the collapse of the interrogating bishop, the leading astray of the studious young priest. In amongst it all are the magical events that one can almost accept as real, epitomised by the belief that hair continues to grow after death when the young girl's tomb is opened in the mid-twentieth century. Such examples of so-called magical realism are of course metaphors, for Marquez is indicating that stories and rumours also grow even and especially after death. In all of this the one truly rational voice is that of the atheist Spanish Jew who, though he has escaped to the colonies, is still the subject of suspicion and hatred. In this scholarly and gruff medical man we can dimly make out an authorial figure, an outsider whose observations point out the absurdities of conventional thinking and living.My first Marquez tale, Of Love and Other Demons is beautifully narrated, certainly in this translation by Edith Grossman, with memorable characters and profound questioning of the status quo. As the tragedy moves towards its inevitable conclusion, with a shocking short burst of violence, Marquez still manages to infuse the tale with a sense of optimism despite its critique of human nature. If he manages to avoid any real suggestion of paedophilia (one of the charges levelled recently by the Russian Orthodox Church against his writings) it is done with enough subtlety and ambiguity to escape the notice of all but a few suspicious minds and certainly with no suggestion of approval. The real tragedy is that so few people visit Sierva Maria with the love that all humans need and want, and that those who do, like her father, are often too late.The original convent which inspired the news story which inspired the novella is still standing and still functioning as a hotel, and Gabo readers make literary pilgrimages to stay there and marvel at the crypt where Sierva Maria de Todos Los Angeles was buried in a niche. For me her real memorial is this beautifully crafted fable.

Fabio Osorio

Me encanto leer este libro!En el amor no importa la postura política, tampoco importan las diferencias sociales o la edad o la tradición, pareciera decir García Márquez. Pero no explicita. Simplemente pone en juego elementos contradictorios que se resuelven con la muerte. Describe minuciosamente las diferencias, los choques, las distancias que conviven en una cultura que se muestra homogénea ante los ojos del mundo, pero que está carcomida en sus entrañas más profundas. La vida de dos pequeños personajes que podrían no modificar en absoluto el discurrir de la humanidad pero que, en su intenso amor, en su propia tragedia, ponen de manifiesto la injusticia de las verdades innertes que rigen la vida actual. Una luz de esperanza que se apaga con el sufrimiento y la muerte, reescriben a Romeo y Julieta en el seno de las sociedades latinoamericanas, donde las diferencias y las supersticiones deberían reconciliarse a partir de un relato que nos pone a pensar qué sería de nosotros sin el amor, qué absurda injusticia vive en los prejuicios que no entienden de otra cosa más que de su propia indiferencia para continuar vivos. Y Sierva María debe morir para que nosotros lo entendamos de una vez por todas.


Ogni tanto sento il bisogno di leggere Marquez, autore che non riesco ad affrontare sempre perchè ho bisogno di essere ben predisposta per dedicarmi ai suoi temi. Qui l'introduzione cattura più di tutto il resto: il ritrovamento del cadavere di Sierva Maria De Todos Los Angeles dal cui cranio crescono ancora metri e metri di capelli rossi fiammanti. Da qui, parte tutta la storia che vi porterà a conoscere questa bambina che, in seguito al morso di un cane rabbioso, verrà rinchiusa in un convento perchè creduta posseduta dal demonio. I personaggi sono tanti, diversi e ben caratterizzati e il linguaggio di Marquez è persuasivo e avvolgente. In definitiva, una buona lettura.


Almost a fairytale, this book is an incredible bed time story. Makes you wonder if Garcia Marquez was told this story by his Grandmother or another elder woman in his village. It is dark and sad and ultimately love becomes a demon. A demon that you can't live with or without. Despite it's depressing denouement Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite writers for his lyrical and romantic sense of plot. The barriers between the living and the dead are sheer at best and the extreme power and control of love is truly everlasting.


Garcia Marquez has the remarkable ability to take the reader into a surreal world where the decaying remnants of empire, the suffocation of religion, superstition, prejudice and the underbelly of human existence replete with bodily emissions and odours are laid bare. He also reveals the consequences of living in a world without love.In this book, based on a discovery he reported on as a young journalist, of a 200 year-old skeleton with a growing head of copper coloured hair discovered in an old church crypt, Maquez weaves a tragic love story of what might have been.The young girl in question, the daughter of an aging and idle Marquis in Colombia, is bitten by a dog and everyone fears that she will go mad, when all that afflicts her is a lack of love. And when she finally finds love, in the form of the young priest sent to exorcise her, societal, religious and family forces conspire to rob her of that love - a telling indictment against a closed colonial society.In the process, Marquez creates vivid characters: Sierva Maria, the girl, with ankle length hair, who prefers to spend her days in the slaves quarters than with her parents; Bernarda, the matriarch, addicted to fermented honey and cacao and walking around her house naked, screwing the slave Judas Iscariote like a bitch in heat while her husband naps in a hammock in the garden; the old Marquis himself, who is destined to fall in love with insane women and lives next door to a lunatic asylum where his former lover bombards him with letters in the form of paper butterflies; the young priest Fr. Cayetano, obsessed with books and learning and discovering that love can be an equally overpowering experience; his asthmatic bishop and mentor who is at cold war with the Abbess of the Santa Clara convent over a 100 year old misunderstanding; Dr. Abrenuncio the Portuguese-Jew, who is able to predict the exact moment of death of his patients. Abrenuncio brings rationality to this superstitious world by making some interesting observations to counteract the suffocating cloak of the Catholic Church that is firmly draped all over this novel, when he says that there is little difference between exorcism and witchcraft, and advocates that "happiness as the best medicine" for most of what ails us, and that "crazy people are not crazy, if one accepts their reasoning." The narrative style is omniscient and Marquez is firmly in control, making side comments on his characters along the way as well. The only downer for me was that this very short book got a bit bogged down in Church procedure towards the end and concluded with a sudden rush of “telling”, as if Marquez, having set us up with an interesting premise and engaging characters, was anxious to finish this book and get onto the next one.


Freshman year in high school we were assigned Marquez's "No One Writes to the Colonel", which was not exactly an easy read (a description from Wikipedia: "the story of an impoverished, retired colonel, a veteran of the Thousand Days War, who still hopes to receive the pension he was promised some fifteen years earlier.") The experience turned me off to reading Marquez until I was forced to read "100 Years of Solitude" a few years later. It's too bad "Of Love and Other Demons" wasn't available back in 1990 (it came out in 1995), because it's a much better introduction to Marquez. It's kind of a distillation of all his favorite themes- ruined colonial estates, alluring virgins, the hallucinatory magic of the tropics, the hypocrisies of Catholicism- and it weighs in at slightly less than 150 pages. In fact, the only Marquez trope it seems to lack is an abundance of wise whores- they've been replaced here with a a bunch of wise slave-women. So in short, it's what "The Crying of Lot 49" is for Pynchon- find a precocious 14 year old and give them this book.

Lynne Norman

I honestly cannot put into words what it is I love about Marquez - perhaps that's why I read books, rather than write them! But, for the sake of the review, I will have to try... His beautifully written prose, colourful descriptions and very distinct form of magic realism honestly do transport the reader to another world. When working through a GGM novel, I have to confess that I get so caught up in the pure joy of reading that I forget to think about the metaphors and the messages behind the words. Once the reading's done though - the book lingers on for days in my head...'Of Love and Other Demons' is another excellent piece of fiction from the great Marquez. It's an extremely sad tale of love and obsession that is made all the more poignant by the author's introductory note, explaining that he was inspired by a real-life experience. In a relatively short novel, Marquez deals with many different subjects, including religious hysteria and the demonising of innocence and pure love by the corrupt Catholic church. The characters are all wonderfully well drawn and the tragic young heroine commands the readers' sympathy.


Of Love and Other Demons is Marquez's magic realism at its best, it gives you a historical context of the turbulent time in a small town of Colombia, and when the raw reality of its work get just a little overwhelming he turns and adds a touch of the "mystical and supernatural" so ingrained in these people to explain the calamities in their lifes.


this is my favorite book of all time. i really like marquez and how he mixes the fantastic with everyday life. it's like he and his characters are from another planet... one that's very similar to earth, but just a bit off. like a planet you'd find on an episode of sliders. (i feel that recently i've been using sliders to describe a lot of things...)anyway, i can read this book over and over. it's been a while since i read it so i would feel silly giving it a comprehensive review here, but maybe i will after the next time i read it


I must admit that while I enjoyed this immensely, I did not enjoy it as much as most other Marquez. It isn't just that I have grown tired of his pedophilia storylines, though that doesn't help, but rather that this story doesn't do as interesting job of blending the real and the fantastic and the moment that opens the story, so beautiful in its absurdity, seems to bear little resemblance to the story that follows, which is a shame because a concentration on the fantastic, rather than the mundane with a tint of the strange, would have helped this.Nonetheless, this novel does sparkle. It tells the story of a family, of a father who had loved in insane woman, but who was forced to marry another, of how his love for her blossomed until it was full before she died and how he was then tricked into marriage with another woman and how the daughter of that liaison was despised. It is the story of demon possessions and illicit priestly love and it is, all around, the kind of love that destroys, that rends and sunders, and there is something frightening and beautiful in that.

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