Every last sentence in 'The Autumn of the Patriarch' offers a heroic demonstration of man's triumph over language -- unless it is language's triumph over man. The sentences begin in one person's voice and conclude in someone else's, or change their subject halfway through, or wander across the centuries, and, even so, conform sufficiently to the rules of rhetoric to carry you along. To read is to gasp. You want to break into applause at the shape and grandeur of those sentences, not to mention their length. And yet to do so you would need to set down the book, which cannot be done, owing to the fact that, just when the impulse to clap your hands has become irresistible, the sentence you are reading has begun to round a corner, and you have no alternative but to clutch onto the book as if steering a car that has veered out of control.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wow, look at Paul Berman, writing about Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the New York Times Book Review: