In Evil Hour (Magill's Literary Annual 1980)
Gabriel García Márquez sets In Evil Hour in an indefinite time and place, but given his description of the mysterious setting, we can assume it to be a town in his native lowlands along the Caribbean coast of Colombia during the late 1950’s. The action thus occurs during that tempestuous period of Colombian history known as La Violencia, a period of anarchic struggle between factions roughly paralleling the traditional Colombian Liberal and Conservative parties. Most of the novel, however, takes place during a long lull in the hostilities while the town is experiencing an uneasy peace and wondering when the general killing will begin anew. This foreboding, in the effective imagery of García Márquez, pollutes the very environment of the unnamed community which suffers from the humidity, rains, and floods of its tropical climate. The floods leave carcasses strewn about the town, at one point befouling the air with the stench of a dead cow. The foreboding is such that even in the church a dead mouse is found floating in the holy water.
Within this ominous environment García Márquez develops his plot around the mysterious appearance, on doors throughout the town, of posters lampooning the unmentionable “secret” sins of the inhabitants. These lampoons, though seemingly innocuous gossip, so terrorize the townspeople that...
(The entire section is 1902 words.)
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