Innocent Erendira and Other Stories

Innocent Erendira and Other Stories

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by Gabriel García Márquez
     
 

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This collection of fiction, representing some of García Márquez's earlier work, includes eleven short stories and a novella, Innocent Eréndira, in which a young girl who dreams of freedom cannot escape the reach of her vicious and avaricious grandmother.

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Overview

This collection of fiction, representing some of García Márquez's earlier work, includes eleven short stories and a novella, Innocent Eréndira, in which a young girl who dreams of freedom cannot escape the reach of her vicious and avaricious grandmother.

Editorial Reviews

John Leonard
It is the genius of the mature Garcia Marquez that fatalism and possibility somehow coexist, the dreams redeem, that there is laughter even in death. Not being a genius, I don't know how he does it, but I am grateful. -- The New York Times
Martin Kaplan
Garcia Marquez's fictional universe has the same staggerizingly gratifying density and texture of Proust, Faubourg, St. Germain and Joyce...Since the death of Neruda he is arguably the best of the Latin Americans. -- The New Republic

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060751586
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/2005
Series:
Perennial Classics Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,148,053
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

Innocent Erendira

And Other Stories
By Garcia Marquez, Gabriel

Perennial

ISBN: 0060751584

The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmotber

Eréndira was bathing her grandmother when the wind of her misfortune began to blow. The enormous mansion of moonlike concrete lost in the solitude of the desert trembled down to its foundations with the first attack. But Eréndira and her grandmother were used to the risks of the wild nature there, and in the bathroom decorated with a series of peacocks and childish mosaics of Roman baths they scarcely paid any attention to the caliber of the wind.

The grandmother, naked and huge in the marble tub, looked like a handsome white whale. The granddaughter had just turned fourteen and was languid, soft-boned, and too meek for her age. With a parsimony that had something like sacred rigor about it, she was bathing her grandmother with water in which purifying herbs and aromatic leaveshad been boiled, the latter clinging to the succulent back, the flowing metal-colored hair, and the powerful shoulders which were so mercilessly tattooed as to put sailors to shame.

"Last night I dreamt I was expecting a letter," the grandmother said.

Eréndira, who never spoke except when it was unavoidable, asked:

"What day was it in the dream?"

"Thursday."

"Then it was a letter with bad news," Eréndira said, "but it will never arrive."

When she had finished bathingher grandmother, she took her to her bedroom. The grandmother was so fat that she could only walk by leaning on her granddaughter's shoulder or on a staff that looked like a bishop's crosier, but even during her most difficult efforts the power of an antiquated grandeur was evident. In the bedroom, which had been furnished with an excessive and somewhat demented taste, like the whole house, Eréndira needed two more hours to get her grandmother ready. She untangled her hair strand by strand, perfumed and combed it, put an equatorially flowered dress on her, put talcum powder on her face, bright red lipstick on her mouth, rouge on her checks, musk on her eyelids, and mother-of-pearl polish on her nails, and when she had her decked out like a larger than life-size doll, she led her to an artificial garden with suffocating flowers that were like the ones on the dress, seated her in a large chair that had the foundation and the pedigree of a throne, and left her listening to elusive records on a phonograph that had a speaker like a megaphone.

While the grandmother floated through the swamps of the past, Eréndira busied herself sweeping the house, which was dark and motley, with bizarre furniture and statues of invented Caesars, chandeliers of teardrops and alabaster angels, a gilded piano, and numerous clocks of unthinkable. sizes and shapes. There was a cistern in the courtyard for the storage of water carried over many years from distant springs on the backs of Indians, and hitched to a ring on the cistern wall was a broken-down ostrich, the only feathered creature who could survive the torment of that accursed climate. The house was far away from everything, in the heart of the desert, next to a settlement with miserable and burning streets where the goats committed suicide from desolation when the wind of misfortune blew.

That incomprehensible refuge had been built by the grandmother's husband, a legendary smuggler whose name was Amadís, by whom she had a son whose name was also Amadís and who was Eréndira's father. No one knew either the origins or the motivations of that family. The best known version in the language of the Indians was that Amadís the father had rescued his beautiful wife from a house of prostitution in the Antilles, where he had killed a man in a knife fight, and that he had transplanted her forever in the impunity of the desert. When the Amadíses died, one of melancholy fevers and the other riddled with bullets in a fight over a woman, the grandmother buried their bodies in the courtyard, sent away the fourteen barefoot servant girls, and continued ruminating on her dreams of grandeur in the shadows of the furtive house, thanks to the sacrifices of the bastard granddaughter whom she had reared since birth.

Eréndira needed six hours just to set and wind the clocks.

The day when her misfortune began she didn't have to do that because the clocks had enough winding left to last until the next morning, but on the other hand, she had to bathe and overdress her grandmother, scrub the floors, cook lunch, and polish the crystalware. Around eleven o'clock, when she was changing the water in the ostrich's bowl and watering the desert weeds around the twin graves of the Amadíses, she had to fight off the anger of the wind, which had become unbearable, but she didn't have the slightest feeling that it was the wind of her misfortune. At twelve o'clock she was wiping the last champagne glasses when she caught the smell of broth and had to perform the miracle of running to the kitchen without leaving a disaster of Venetian glass in her wake.

She just managed to take the pot off the stove as it was beginning to boil over. Then she put on a stew she had already prepared and took advantage of a chance to sit down and rest on a stool in the kitchen. She closed her eyes, opened them again with an unfatigued expression, and began pouring the soup into the tureen. She was working as she slept.

The grandmother had sat down alone at the head of a banquet table with silver candlesticks set for twelve people. She shook her little bell and Eréndira arrived almost immediately with the steaming tureen. Continues...


Excerpted from Innocent Erendira by Garcia Marquez, Gabriel Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1927 in the town of Aracataca, Columbia.Latin America's preeminent man of letters, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. García Márquez began his writing career as a journalist and is the author of numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels The Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera, and the autobiography Living to Tell the Tale. There has been resounding acclaim for his life's work since he passed away in April 2014.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Mexico City, Mexico
Date of Birth:
March 6, 1928
Place of Birth:
Aracataca, Colombia
Education:
Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1947-48, and Universidad de Cartagena, 1948-49

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