Books: Numero Uno

THE AUTUMN OF THE PATRIARCH

by GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ

269 pages. Harper & Row. $10.

"Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screen on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside ..."

These are the first words of The Autumn of the Patriarch, and what a way to begin a novel: the theme is artfully insinuated, an atmosphere instantly evoked like a puff of stage smoke, and all conveyed in language that generates a charge of expectancy. Admirers of Colombian Novelist Gabriel Garcia Márquez have come to expect...

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