Yes, the title is in Spanish and the review in English. As I read the book in Spanish, but my audience is predominantly English-speaking, I’ve decided this is the best compromise. So on to the good stuff. Del Amor y Otros Demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was an interesting read. I haven’t read anything by him before but I am familiar with the magical-realism through my reading of Isabel Allende’s work. I enjoy this trademark of contemporary Latin American and I like how Marquez added in the historical Spanish-colonial layer to the novel.
Sadly, most of my Spanish-major classes were about language acquisition and less about the literature. I’m glad I took the plunge and read this one in its original language. Not only was the story odd (I was warned Marquez likes it weird) but the historical background was intriguing as well. What seems to be the main point of the novel is that love makes people do weird things and some of those weird things may get you accused of being possessed. And being possessed during the Colonial era, could get you hanged or burned at the stake.
Marquez makes every one fallible including the nuns and priests who are in charge of deciding who is possessed or not have strange sides to themselves as well. Two of my favorites were the Mother Superior, Josefa, and Cayetano, the priest who ends up being the center of the love story. And that’s where it gets weird. He ends up falling in love with a twelve-year-old who seems to be possessed. While they don’t have sex there’s a lot of making out and groping. Did I mention that Cayetano is 38. And a priest? Ultimately, all of the weirdness makes us sympathetic to the love stories and that may be why Marquez employs the weird factor. Ultimately I think it just shows that in life, love doesn’t always make sense, and all that we call love isn’t actually love.