by Ali Azam Khan
Concealment is not the same as deception. It is also not a euphemism for deception because their consequences differ accordingly.
The book in review In Evil Hours by the legendary Colombian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist Gabriel García Márquez, explains how a society with a small number of people, and almost cut-off from the outside world, can swing between the two. Counting the innocent, too, of course. From the very first page, the reader may try to deduct who is putting lampoons up on people’s doors.
However, as the story progresses, it’s fun to see how people of different mindsets take this drama. Surprisingly, their reactions are almost similar to a situation where they would have a gun pointed to their face, with the shooter concealed and the gun empty. At that point, the only thing to savor is their emotions. The absence of a protagonist makes the reader observe with an eye of God, with the inability to see through thoughts which is one of Garcia’s likable traits.
This ultimately adds up to the reader’s ability to grasp the atmosphere because, throughout the novel, the characters’ convictions would not be on the platter. Not being able to sympathize with anyone, in particular, can make this read so soothing.
As the story develops, the histories of most characters start to reveal during the conversations exchanged between people. This stirs doubt in the reader’s mind because the characters themselves are two-faced as well. This all adds up to keeping the reader in the dark and is what keeps the wheels turning. Realistically speaking, no one labels himself or herself as good or bad, even inertly. At some point, they stop acting, accept who they are and from there forth all their deeds depend on their intensity on the belief of conscience. They give themselves a personal justification to the courtroom we all have inside us with a lawyer who knows how to blend colours well. The storyline of the mayor is the simplest and explicit way to elaborate on the theme.
It will make many people realize that at a societal level, they are not much different from the characters themselves. Apart from this, there are tons of morals that people might not be aware of, but the elephant in the room still idealizes. Contrarily they should be because, in the long run, oblivion usually adds up to a big mess.
Garcia’s humour has so many attributes to it. It’s not as obviously funny but it is sarcastic, disturbing, revealing, and most importantly dark as well. However as mentioned before, it depends on the reader’s ability to grasp the atmosphere, because the laughs lie between the lines.
In a nutshell, the experience is revealing. Even for critics of society, a simple story explains how the mingling web of happenings affects everything. From homemakers to judges to priests, every word and action has an influence which has an unpredictably crooked after effects. Therefore, from a perspective, even the critics themselves are at fault.
Verdict, today this book is a need for people who wanted to see the elephant in the room. Nevertheless, everyone must.
Ali Azam is a student at the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gilgit.