Of Love and Other Demons, another gem of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez... This man is out of the world! He creates a world of his own that is so different, remote from reality, twisted, comic and funny, but so life like. That is what I like about his novels, right from One hundred years of solitude, which is the first of his that I read, to this one. The ability to make people and places and objects that are so different from those we see, and at the same time narrate the story in a way which makes us readers resonate with that.. Genius.
Of Love and Other Demons, which the author claims is a retelling of a legend heard from his grandmother, about a girl whose hair kept on growing after her death, is wrote after he witnessed the skeleton of a girl with very long hair attached to her skull in a grave yard. The story set in a Latin American port, chronicles the life and tragic death of Sierva Maria de Todos los Angeles, the daughter of a Marquis and a cocoa and sex addicted withered woman, who gets bit by a rabies affected dog and is believed to have got supernatural powers afterwards. The girl never got any affection from her disturbed parents and grown up among African slaves of her father. She could speak their languages, perform their rituals, could dress and behave like them.
After getting bitten by a dog that had rabies in her twelfth birth day, her father starts taking care of her, with the help of an impassioned doctor. But her father gets forced to leaving the girl in a convent, where the inmates hates her, for her supposedly super natural powers. Bishop decides to exorcise her and the duty falls on a scholarly priest, Cayetano Delaura. And they fall in love.
The novel, while on one side explores the themes of religious hypocrisy, on the other side tells a passionate love story that ends tragically. Unrequited love, which is an often important plot in Marquez novels, is portrayed here also. And there is a demonization of love here as the title "Love and OTHER demons" indicates. Love is a demon as the other (religious intolerance, superstitions) demons that destroys life...