“Revenge is mine, saith the Lord”, but how many of us could resist the temptation, when the day of vengeance is upon our enemies? Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story – practically a literary haiku – exposits by withholding all the usual explanations. Who needs a backstory when the story itself tells us all we need to know…?
One of These Days, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7:06)
The road to hell… You know the rest. As O. Henry’s classic story reminds us, “doing good” to others is fraught with peril – as is leaping to conclusions about other people’s life situations. There truly is something to be said for minding one’s own business…
If Alphonse Daudet enjoys a reputation as a cheerful, even sunny author, it is due to his popular collection Lettres de mon moulin, which I have drawn upon numerous times over the course of this podcast. But Daudet also had a darker side, reflecting the very dark times he lived in, namely the years 1870/71, when France was crushed by a superior German army in the Franco-Prussian War and its capital was reduced to starvation, rubble and eventually ashes during the German siege and the Commune, along with the latter’s brutal suppression by French government forces. This story, from Daudet’s collection Contes du lundi (Monday Stories), sums up the author’s bitterness over the French army’s and government’s behaviour during those traumatic events.