Margot Mifflin
December 10, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

Most of these marvelously eerie tales revolve around death: two boys get their wish when their martinet German governess is murdered; a new bride expires from a cut finger after a long car ride; and an aging prostitute plans her funeral after a prophetic dream. Only 2 of the 12 feature the Colombian author’s signature magic realism; curiously, they’re the only misfires of the lot. In the prologue Gabriel Garcia Marquez traces the evolution of Strange Pilgrims from when he first conceived it almost 20 years ago after dreaming he attended his own funeral. His description of subsequent fits, starts, interruptions, and revisions opens a window on the workings of a brilliant writer, who, on the evidence of this collection, remains at the height of his powers.

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