I read One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was 19, because it was on the Oprah list, and I was still fairly new to adult fiction (true story). Becoming an English major unleashed me in college, and though I was not quite “mature” enough to really grasp the book, it’s stayed with me in the last eleven years. So I was delighted when A’s husband B choose Of Love and Other Demons as our February selection for my book club. We tend to read a lot of nonfiction, so I’m excited to bring something new into the mix. I’m especially curious to see how the hardline nonfictioners are going to respond to the magical realism in the book.
The novel focuses on young Sierva Maria, who is bitten by a rabid dog on her twelfth birthday and subsequently believed to be possessed. She comes from a crumbling aristocratic family who ultimately shunts her off to a convent to be isolated. There, she meets the priest Cayetano Delaura, who has been assigned to her exorcism. But as he gets to know her, he is drawn to her, obsessed by her magnificent copper hair, finding himself drawn deeper into the misery and passion of love.
If you like vivid imagery, evocative language, and slowly-building stories that crescendo to a dramatic conclusion, then you will probably like this book. I didn’t like it as much as One Hundred Years of Solitude, but Marquez is a fantastic writer who knows how to create an image with words. Of Love and Other Demons is certainly an interesting short novel, and I’m glad I read it.