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Literature: The Autumn of the Patriarch
The Autumn of the Patriarch is a 1975 novel by Gabriel García Márquez (of One Hundred Years of Solitude fame) about the life of a ruthless dictator in an unnamed Caribbean country. The book is written in a long, drawn-out way, exposing the thoughts of the dictator, in what has been called a poem on prose, where it’s stated that even the powerfuls are Lonely at the Top.

This book provides examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Curiously, not the dictator, who’s stated to have only killed one person by is own hand; but José Ignacio Saenz de la Barra, who regularly sends him the heads of opponents.
  • Banana Republic
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: At the end, they become the only contact with reality the dictator has.
  • Big Fancy House: The dictator’s residence.
  • Bishōnen: José Ignacio Saenz de la Barra.
  • Body Double: Patricio Aragonés. The dictator pardons his life because Aragonés can impersonate him in public.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: José Ignacio Saenz de la Barra’s favorite method.
  • Crapsack World
  • Dark Mistress: Leticia Nazareno, who’s curiously a nun. The dictator kidnaps and marries her and she gives him a son. After that, she starts enjoying all the spoils of her sweet new life, at least until the people get tired of her.
  • Elderly Immortal: The dictator.
  • Eternal Recurrence: Part of the novel's approach is that some events tend to repeat themselves in one way or another.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: And yet, most of them don’t make her a saint after her death.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The dictator dies. The first few pages tell you this. However, they also tell you that he died for the second time.
  • The Generalissimo
  • League Of Nations: They appear in the story, as useless as ever.
  • Lonely at the Top
  • Magic Realism: The only thing that explains that a dictator has more than 2,000 years or that the Americans can take away the ocean just like that. After all, it’s Márquez we’re talking about here.
  • Nasty Party
  • No Name Given: The dictator.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: The dictator sleeps on the floor, using his hand as a pillow.
  • The Other Darrin: An odd literaly example. Every time the U.S. ambassador is mentioned, he has a different name. However, there doesn’t seem to be another difference.
  • Platonic Cave: One character worries about what will happen if the dictator is no more, because since he has been in power more than a hundred years, they don’t know anything else about the real life.
  • Psycho for Hire: José Ignacio Saenz de la Barra.
  • Reality Warper: The dictator has such power that when he orders the time of day changed from 3 to 8 in the morning, the roses open two hours before dew time.
  • Semper Fi: The U.S. Marines helped the dictator take power, and their ship docked on the bay gives the first part of the book an ominous feeling (yeah, they’re a bunch of Jerkasses here).
  • Shadow Dictator: The dictator. Contrary to the usual examples of this trope, however, we know he exists because... well, he's the main character.
  • The Starscream: General Rodrigo de Aguilar.
  • Wall of Text
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The book is written as a flowing tract, with a lot of commas but very few periods. As a consecuence of that, all the dialogues are included in among the many commas.

Aunt Julia and the ScriptwriterSpanish LiteratureThe Bad Girl
Aunt Julia and the ScriptwriterLatin American LiteratureThe Bad Girl
At Swim-Two-BirdsLit FicA Visit from the Goon Squad
Aunt Julia and the ScriptwriterLiterature of the 1970sBeauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

alternative title(s): The Autumn Of The Patriarch
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