“They looked like two children," she told me. And that thought frightened her, because she'd always felt that only children are capable of everything.”
I'm not the one who reads a lot of literary fiction, I dabble here and there, but it's still not much. So, yesterday when I finished this book - I wanted to give it 2 stars because all I could think was "I have no idea whatI just read". But, as the hours wore on and I thought about it more and more I've come to realize that it is actually quite brilliant.
The book is very short, only a 120 pages, so I hoped to read it in a day, but that didn't happen. Because with Chronicle of a death foretold it's more about what's not being said than what is on the page. You have to look between the lines to find so much more meaning. The book itself is just one big allegory, but of what I won't tell because it is honestly up to the reader to decide.
“He was healthier than the rest of us, but when you listened with the stethoscope you could hear the tears bubbling inside his heart.”
I'm going to try and dissect the book a little bit here, so if you haven't read it yet and want to form your own opinions first - do not read past this.
When the whole town hears that Santiago Sazar will be murdered and does nothing to prevent it - it's like the whole town murdered him. And that's what the book really wants to stress across - the one single conscience of the whole town comprised of individual opinions and feelings. Did Santiago deserve to die? Who knows. But he was murdered because his name was spoken in a very wrong time. Now this is when things get political.
Angela, when asked who dishonored her, answers - Santiago Nazar and since the moment his name left her lips he was a dead man walking. The reader believes he did it, the whole town believes he did it. But as the book progresses we start to have doubts - why did we believe Angela so quickly? Because Santiago is a man? Because she said so? Then we start feeling guilty because now it seems that maybe an innocent man will die, all because we didn't check for facts, because we wanted to see justice done. But will there be any justice? In the eyes of Angela's brothers - sure. For them this is not as much about Angela's honor as it is about proving that they are real men.
Masculinity subject is so twisted in here - we condemn a man without questions because he's a man. A fiancé of one of the brothers (who did the killing) says that she wouldn't marry him if he didn't kill Santiago for his sister's honor because that wouldn't be manly. And the scariest things is that everybody thinks they are doing a good thing. A right thing. Because murder for honor is not murder at all. Unless the man is innocent.
As the book races to its gruesome and very macabre finish, one part was especially twisted - Santiago dies because his own mother locked the door in front of him. Not on purpose - which makes it even sadder.
Was Angela trustworthy? A lot of things we learn about her towards the end of the book definitely point in "no" direction. If anything, she turned out to be sex crazed woman who eventually lost her mind. Was Santiago guilty? He wasn't a nice person for sure, but did he deserve to die? Signs point to him being "crucified without questions" by the whole town because of the mob mentality. Did the brothers have any right to avenge their sister's honor with death? In their eyes they did - but in yours?