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Gabriel García Márquez: La Mala Hora (In Evil Hour)

Originally titled Este pueblo de mierda, [This Village of Shit], it is set in the same unnamed town as El Colonel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba (No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories). Things have been very calm, despite the predictions of the widow Monteil, but, suddenly, things start going wrong. Someone is putting up posters revealing all the gossip about the local citizens, a young lover is shot by a jealous husband and it rains and rains, causing serious flooding. Tensions rise, everyone is at everyone else’s throat, the mayor has toothache and soon corruption – both physical (dead animals as a result of the flood) and, in particular, moral – envelops the town. This is García Márquez’ first novel and though by no means his best, it is still a very worthwhile novel as the quirkiness and the attacks on the abuse of power – hallmarks of his later work – make their appearance.

Publishing history

First published in Spanish 1968 by Editorial Sudamericana
First published in English 1989 by Harper & Row