The entire town knew that the Vicario twins were planning on murdering Santiago Nasar, and nobody stopped the brutal murder. Determined to understand how a man liked by the town and his murderers could be killed without anyone stopping it, the narrator sets out 27 years after the event to talk to the townspeople and reconstruct what happened that fateful day in Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Nasar’s fateful ending began when the marriage between Angela Vicario and the wealthy Bayardo San Roman ended in disgrace when the bride was returned to her family hours after her wedding. Angela pointed to Nasar as the perpetrator of her shame, and her brothers vowed to restore the family’s honor by murdering the man with whom they had socialized the previous night. The Vicario twins searched the town and laid in wait for Nasar, not bothering to hide their intentions from the townsfolk who later claimed to have known nothing about their intentions or to have thought them the ramblings of drunken men.
Speaking with the family, friends, priests, police, and other inhabitants of the town, the narrator recreates the events on the day Nasar dies and lays out a story for the reader about how the town could allow the murder to occur and the consequences for those who are left behind and are ultimately complicit in Nasar’s murder.
Márquez, who is well-known for his epic One Hundred Years of Solitude and his novel Love in the Time of Cholera, has a talent, which is thoroughly showcased in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, to craft fully-developed stories without needing to use a plethora of words, yet to create in the story rich character development and an in-depth look into societal and self-imposed codes, which in this novella spelled tragedy for a town. Without such codes, a bride and groom would be happily married, a family would not live with dishonor, two young men would not go to prison, and a seemingly innocent man would not have been murdered.