Book Review: The Autumn of the Patriarch

by Wendy McElroy

The Autumn of the Patriarch is a novel of style. And it is a style that I generally dislike. A style in which sentences run on for three page, and in which there are no paragraphs. Dialogue is not indicated by quotes. Pronouns change in mid-sentence. And the narrative point-of-view is in constant flux. I used to think that I dislike this style because it seemed to violate principles which make English intelligible to no apparent advantage. I have come think that this is an extremely difficult style to master and this is the first time I have seen it handled properly. Gabriel Garcia Marquez ignores many conventions of the English language which are meant to provide structure and coherence. But he is so skillful that his novel is not difficult to understand. It is bizarre; it is disorienting. But it is not difficult.” (09/01/23)