If Gabriel García Márquez had never put any of his novels to paper, wrote literary critic Gene H. Bell-Villada, his shorter fiction would have still gained him some niche in literary history. Bell-Villada puts García Márquez in the company of such acknowledged masters of short fiction as Anton Chekhov, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, John Cheever, and Grace Paley (Bell-Villada 119). However, the list of short story masters seems incomplete without the names of Edgar Allan Poe and Latin American short story writers such as Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes, and Juan Rulfo, among many others.
Gabriel García Márquez’s short stories that are most often read in high schools and colleges in the United States come from his first three books in this genre. It was precisely as a short story writer that García Márquez began to publish, starting in 1947. His early short stories, such as “The Third Resignation” (1947), were published in local newspapers (see Chapter 1). While he continues to publish books of short stories, some of the stories contained in his first three books in this genre are nowadays considered classics.
Of these classics, five stories have been selected for discussion here. The five stories are presented in chronological order of publication: they are “Monologue of Isabel Watching It Rain in Macondo” (1955; from Eyes of a Blue Dog); “Big Mama’s Funeral,”“Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon,” and “Tuesday Siesta” (1962; from Big Mama’s Funeral); and “A