Minority of the Month: Gabriel Garcia Marquez – The Autumn of the Patriarch Book Review

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Author History:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in 1927 in Columbia. While he is most known for many of his literary works, he was also a very successful journalist. He has had numerous books published as well as his short stories. In 1982, Marquez became the fourth Latina to win the Nobel Prize in literature. It was rewarded to him for one of his most famous works, 100 Years of Solitude. Many have named him one of the best known Latin writers in history.

Author Works:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Love in the Time of Cholera

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Memories of My Melancholy Whores

The Autumn of the Patriarch

Living to Tell the Tale

The General in his Labyrinth

No One Writes to the Colonel

Leaf Storm

Of Love and Other Demons

News of Kidnapping

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor

Where are they now? :

Unfortunately, Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in 2014 in Mexico City. Without a doubt, he has left behind a great legacy.

The Autumn of the Patriarch


Rating: 4/4/ Stars

Title: The Autumn of the Patriarch

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Published: 1975

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 9780060882860

Favorite Quote: “Experiences as harsh as that confirmed his very ancient certainty that the most feared enemy is within oneself in the confidence of the heart, that the very men he was arming and raising up so that they would support his regime will end up sooner or later spitting in the hand that feeds them.”

If given all power over a nation, how would you handle it? With love, kindness, and benevolence? Or, would it be easier to use lying, deceit, fear? The narrator of The Autumn of the Patriarch chose the latter. The story follows the birth and death of General Rodrigo de Aguilar. He runs his country under the guise that he is doing them good, but with the constant attacks on his life, it becomes clear to the reader that he is a tyrant ignorant on ways to properly run a country or handle its citizens. He continues to lie and cheat his countrymen. He continuously rapes women and takes what he wants without the fear of repercussions. What is the most interesting about this story is that, as with all Marquez’s works, Magical Realism is present with General Rodrigo being killed on numerous occasions, and yet he lives to over 200 years old.

One thing about Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work is that it is not a quick and light read. You must pay attention to the reading or you will easily miss something. What I found interesting about this is that there wasn’t any dialogue. You never realize how much it breaks up the pages, until you do not have it in the reading. While a majority of narration took place in the mind of the tyrant, it would quickly become narrated by another character. There wasn’t a transition, just a quick jump into the mind of another. While this could be a deterrent for many, it did add an interesting element to the story.

What I really liked about this story is that it really gave an interesting perspective in the mind of a tyrant. Underneath all of the terror that he created, there is fear. That seems to be what drives it all. There is a fear of being overrun or losing your office. They choose to rule by fear, but of course this does not work as seen with the numerous attempts on his life. The tyrant things that they are doing well, but in fact harm to those they are supposed to protect. It almost makes evil relative. The other side often thinks they are doing best; it is all in the way that it is viewed. I am in no way saying that rape or death are justified, but for a tyrant or one you may view as evil, they don’t see their work as evil.

I really liked that Marquez highlighted the lack of power women had. Whether this was intentional or not, it added a great element to the story to see how women were almost indispensible. Respect was not shown for their bodies and they were used simply as tools to serve the men. They were forced to have sex and clean up after the tyrant and those in his regime.  It was also the element of racism that I found interesting. They were on a Caribbean island, and the n-word was used on multiple occasions. You never think of racism in other countries, but as seen in this book, it is a problem that can be found everywhere.

If one has never read Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I would not recommend this book to start. I would suggest Love in the Time of Cholera or 100 Years of Solitude first. He has a distinct writing style, one that takes a bit of time to get used to. If you are fan of Marquez, I would give this a try.


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