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keep them reeling
Almost two thirds of the way through One Hundred Years of Solitude, Remedios the Beauty levitates and floats away amidst a billow of bedsheets. It’s a brief scene but arguably one of the more sublime moments in modern literature. One of the things that makes this ascension so remarkable is the way it follows so closely on, and immediately precedes, a series of violent deaths, some related to the curse afflicting men attracted to Remedios, and two the result of a brutal policing regime ushered in by the Conservative party. The extraordinary contrast between Remedios’s exaltation and the horror of these deaths creates substantial narrative energy — a kind of emotional roller coaster for the reader. In a book set partly in wartime and over such a long period, death is somewhat of a commonplace, but these several deaths stand out because of the marked contrast here.
Consider borrowing Márquez’s narrative quick-change strategy to draw attention to an important passage with great efficiency. Rather than dwelling on the moment in question at length, set it off with strongly contrasting content. The result may be more breath-takingly dramatic than a longer version would have.
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