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Leaf Storm Summary

Leaf Storm by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a story that focuses on Macondo, a little town that is characterized by emerging businesses and a growing population. The novel is inspired by the author’s memories of his childhood in Aracataca. Most of the characters are non-fictional save for their names. The outcome of the many activities that take place in the town is pollution; the town reeks of decaying food and rubbish.

One of the major characters in the book is the Father, the village colonel, who wants to give his friend a respectable funeral.

The colonel finds it difficult to bury his friend, who was a doctor, because of the alleged crimes he committed to the people of Macondo. For instance, he refused to treat injured victims during a political uprising in the town. The colonel is the only person that had good relations with the doctor. Using the colonel and his family, the author conveys themes such as honor and friendship. It is noteworthy that Marquez uses satire in the story. For instance, instead of writing that the doctor was a vegan, the colonel recalls an instance where the doctor asked for grass to be served to him during dinner.


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Leaf Storm is narrated through three alternating interior monologues: those of the colonel, his daughter Isabel, and her son. Through this structure, García Márquez chronicles the founding of the imaginary coastal town of Macondo in the late nineteenth century, its prosperity during the 1910’s, and its decadence after 1918. This is the story of the arrival and exit of the “leaf storm,” the hordes of outsiders and foreigners who descended on the Colombian coast as the region grew rich on the banana industry during a short period of wealth that ended as quickly as it had begun.

As the novel begins, the doctor has hanged himself and the colonel prepares to oversee the burial of the body. It is learned that ten years earlier, the rest of the townspeople had sworn to oppose this burial, and that the colonel is honoring a personal pledge he had made earlier to the dead man to defy the will of the others. The reason for the town’s hostility is only made clear later, as each of the three narrations goes back in time and tells the story of the doctor’s twenty-five-year stay in Macondo. At the novel’s close, the family prepares to form a funeral cortege with the coffin: What the reaction of their neighbors will be is left unknown.

The three ongoing monologues do not proceed in a linear manner. Many incidents mentioned by one character are taken up later by another, and thus the reader is engaged in a constant process of reevaluation and reconsideration of prior clues. The effect is somewhat like that of a mystery novel, in which facts are revealed by one character and corroborated later by another, but in Leaf Storm there is no suspense. The plot is circular, for as the twenty-five years between 1903 and 1928 unfold, little changes for the people who describe the events. The colonel and Isabel relate dispassionately the events of those years in a matter-of-fact tone that reveals little emotion. The child provides the perspective of an innocent observer who understands nothing of the facts, while intuitively seeing what exists beneath the controlled exterior of his elders.

Leaf Storm, then, serves as an allegory for the broader upheaval in the life of the Colombian coast brought on by foreign investment in the early part of the twentieth...

(The entire section is 861 words.)