Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a novella that recounts the details of the hours leading up to the death of Santiago Nasar.
Bayardo San Roman came to the town as a handsome stranger and decided to marry Angela Vicario, but on their wedding night he discovered she was not pure and so he returned her back to her mother's home. Angela claims that Santiago is the man who caused her dishonor, and so, disgraced, her twin brothers, Pedro and Pablo, seek out Santiago to kill him.
But they didn't really want to kill him. Killing someone is pretty bad, and they were generally good guys. The story describes all of the people who had ample opportunity to step in and stop the murder, yet because they were busy or distracted or didn't believe the brothers really would kill someone, they didn't.
1) The book can be a little mature at times, with topics like sex being discussed like talking about going to lunch. It's not that bad, but I thought I should warn you. Most Latin American literature I've read is very uninhibited compared to traditional American lit. I like it, but if you've never read Latin American literature you should know it could be a little shocking at first.
2) I wish you hear the accent I have (in my head) when I read this book. I say the characters' names (in my head) with such amazing Spanish flair. My college Spanish professors would be amazed. Even the author's name is fun - Gabriel Jose de la Concordia Garcia Marquez. Makes Stormy Hickman seem dull. Maybe I'll work this summer on developing my Latina name.
3) At first the large cast of characters was a little difficult to follow, but once I realized the premise of the book it didn't bother me as much. If you've never read Marquez, this is a good "starter book" because it reflects the writing style of one of his most famous novels, Love in the Time of Cholera, but it is shorter and can be read in just a few hours.
4) English teachers! This would be a great book for a timed writing for lit analysis. The concept of moral obligations is played out in just over 100 pages (ala Of Mice and Men). There's even a religious aspect as during the course of the book the town is waiting for the Bishop to arrive on a special visit to bless them. Make kids read this book and write papers. :)