The scattered shards” by interviewing a few people.
The most apparent element of the structure throughout the entire book is the non-linear narrative of the plot. In contrary to the title, the narrator reconstructs the past few days leading to the murder, the main event and the post-climax of the novella and narrates them in a random, not chronological, order. This formation of the plot, in no way, disrupts the storytelling and successfully ties in the main events – for example: how the Vicario brothers prepared for the murder, what Nasar was doing hours before his murder, and how people dealt with Nasar’s death in the aftermath. In the first chapter of the book, the narrator tackles the details of the morning of Nasar’s death and attempts to “put the broken mirror of memory back together from so many scattered shards” by interviewing a few people. The chapter ends with the narrator’s mother being told it’s too late to warn Nasar because he’s already dead. The second chapter does not pick up where the previous chapter had left and instead digs into the history of Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Roman. The third chapter focuses on the Vicario twins and follows them around in the early morning as they prepared to kill Santiago Nasar. The next chapter jumps far onto the aftermath of Nasar’s death, touching on the events like the autopsy, the Vicario brothers being sent to prison, San Roman’s state after the wedding, and how he returned to Angela Vicario after 17 years of receiving letters from her. The continuation of the first chapter is only in the final chapter where the details of Nasar’s death are revealed to the reader. The use of this structure helps create suspense and tension as Márquez saves the climax for, and only recounts the murder in, the very end. Despite the fact that this is not a mystery novel, the sense of mystery urges the reader to read on. Another effect achieved by Márquez is character development. By travelling through the past, present, and future (in some sense) and the interviews with the narrator, the reader comes to understand the whole situation: why some tried to stop the murder, why some didn’t, why the murder is bound to happen. The non-linear plot structure of the novella, overall, successfully delivers suspense with complete, though not in order storytelling of the plot.