As you open Of Love and Other Demons are met by “an ash-gray dog,” you may search the pages for men with enormous wings or the travelling show of an enslaved prostitute or, at the very least, a little town named Macondo.
Stop now, lest you’ll be disappointed.
The biggest complaint Márquez fans may have regarding this short novel is the lack of magic and the fantastical. García Márquez substitutes these elements instead with a mild suspicion of “the otherworldly.” There are, of course in true García Márquez fashion, the unquestioned explanations for medical phenomenon, such as an aching heart, and the mundane turned fantastic, like the addictive drug of fermented honey. However, the novel, revolving around religion and racial divides, does not present its magical elements as García Márquez normally does: without question or explanation. Instead, the characters themselves offer explanations to magic and you must decide whether these characters are correct or if these are the unexplained laws of the world presented.
Sherman Alexie said that all stories revolve around identities. Of Love and Other Demons isn’t so much an exploration or discovery of an identity; instead, it is a collection of reactions to a definite identity. A short and easy read, this is a story of ties between the rest of the world and a young girl. You’ll fall in love with the strange girl, Sierva María, and you’ll long to save her from the world that won’t simply let her be.
If you are looking for the intensely fantastical, search elsewhere. But if you want a heartbreakingly beautiful read, take this book, rest with it beneath a shady tree, and enjoy.