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Gabriel Garcia Marquez has been described as the greatest writer in Spanish since Cervantes, and El coronel no tiene quien le escriba is considered to be one of his best works. This reflective and atmospheric novel is set in a small Colombian town where the frustrated and stubborn Colonel, a veteran of the 'War of a Thousand Days', is still, after thirty years, waiting for the letter authorising payment of his war pension. The old soldier and his wife mourn the brutal killing of their only son, and the story of their struggle against poverty and sickness culminates in the Colonel's defiant refusal to part with his cherished fighting cock, however serious the consequences. The moving narrative pays tribute to the resilience of human nature and man's will to survive in the face of heavy odds. The novel also throws light on the turbulent religious and political troubles in Latin America. Now revised to include an updated chronology and bibliography, Giovanni Pontiero's acclaimed critical edition provides English-speaking students with an introduction to, and notes on the text, and a selected vocabulary.