Leaf Storm | Gabriel García Márquez
‘SUDDENLY, AS IF A WHIRLWIND HAD SET DOWN ROOTS IN THE CENTRE OF THE TOWN, THE BANANA COMPANY ARRIVED, PURSUED BY THE LEAF STORM’
As a blizzard of warehouses and amusement parlours and slums descends on the small town of Macondo, the inhabitants reel at the accompanying stench of rubbish that makes their home unrecognisable. When the banana company leaves town as fast as it arrived, all they are left with is a void of decay.
Living in this devastated and soulless wasteland is one last honourable man, the Colonel, who is determined to fulfil a long standing promise, no matter how unpalatable it may be. With the death of the detested Doctor, he must provide an honourable burial – and incur the wrath of the rest of Macondo, who would rather see the Doctor rot, forgotten and unattended.
Leaf Storm is the common translation for Gabriel García Márquez’s novella La Hojarasca. First published in 1955, it took seven years to find a publisher. Widely celebrated as the first appearance of Macondo, the fictitious village later made famous in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Leaf Storm is a testing ground for many of the themes and characters later immortalized in said book. It is also the title of a short story collection by García Márquez.
The other stories compiled in the English translation are “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, “Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles”, “The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship”, “The Monologue of Isabel Watching It Rain in Macondo”, and “Nabo”. Several of these short stories appeared elsewhere before being put into this compilation. “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” first appeared in Playboy magazine in 1971. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” first appeared in New American Review and “Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles” was first published in Esquire Magazine.
The narrative of Leaf Storm shifts between the perspectives of three generations of one family as the three characters (father, daughter and grandson respectively) find themselves in a spiritual limbo after the death of a man passionately hated by the entire village yet inextricably linked to the patriarch of the family.