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Chronicle of a Death Foretold  
1st US edition cover
Author Gabriel García Márquez
Original title Crónica de una muerte anunciada
Country Colombia
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date 1981
Published in
Media type Print ()
ISBN 978-0-14-015754-3
OCLC Number 43223288

Chronicle of a Death Foretold (original Spanish title: Crónica de una muerte anunciada) is a novella by Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1981. It tells, in the form of a pseudo-journalistic reconstruction, the story of the murder of Santiago Nasar by the two Vicario brothers.



One of the unanswered questions in this book is who actually took Angela Vicario's virginity, for the narrator is unsure why she named Santiago Nasar as the one who committed the crime, although it is suggested by gossip that she did it to protect the man whom she loved. The crime against Santiago would not only be done to him by the Vicario brothers, but also by all those in his community. The fact that not one individual took it upon themselves to stop the crime shows that even in a community that revels in the coming of their bishop, there can still be wrongdoing. It's also possible to read the book as a Kafkaesque love and crime story: the beginning of the book is itself a variation of the start of The Trial and The Metamorphosis, both by Franz Kafka. García Márquez himself acknowledges this influence, saying that it was the reading of The Metamorphosis that showed him "that it was possible to write in a different way."

Magical realism

Chronicle of a Death Foretold exhibits many of the aspects of a novel written in the magic realist style. For example, the novel makes oblique references to God and clairvoyance. Additionally, it has the magic realism aspect of a warped timeline. The main plot plays out five times--once in each of the five chapters--and each time information is given from a different individual in the community. This allows for the storyline to portray the idea of fragmentation, thus bringing in this idea of reality and fantasy. While this is reminiscent of the traditional tragic format, it turns it inside out. The narrator's inclusion of personal judgments, as well as the events occurring many years after the drama unfolds, seems to breach the definition of a chronicle. The kaleidoscopic imagery found in the novel adds to this impression and, combined with the contorted chronological structure and the townspeople's anticipation of Santiago Nasar's murder, erodes the plausibility of mere irresponsibility as an explanation for the tragedy. This incongruity fits with the magic realism style; it may be put down to fate. The opposite of unlikely powerlessness, unlikely endurance, is also present as Santiago Nasar's stench permeates the town even after he dies. The subtle intersection of human values and the supernatural with the physical world is a hallmark of magical realism.


It was translated into English by Gregory Rabassa and by Edith Grossman. The book was adapted for the big screen in the Spanish language film: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1987), an Italian-French-Colombian co-production, directed by Francesco Rosi, starring Ornella Muti, Rupert Everett and Anthony Delon. In 1995, Graciela Daniele adapted it into the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical of the same name, which she also directed and choreographed.


  • ISBN 1-4000-3471-X
  • ISBN 978-0-141-03246-7

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