Help me identify this short story
September 15, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

What's the story where the guy talks to a bunch of dead people and then finds out he's dead?

Short story in the genre of magical realism, probably Latin American. The basic plot is a guy sees various people who he thought had died and talks to them, and at the end it turns out he's dead too and they're all in a cemetery or mausoleum. Originally seen in a high school textbook, although I don't know which textbook (presumably indicating that it's fairly well known).
posted by nzero to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is it Macondo?
posted by patheral at 7:36 PM on September 15, 2012

that was the wrong link... I meant One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is set in Mocondo...
posted by patheral at 7:39 PM on September 15, 2012

Best answer: This is kind of a stretch, but could it have been an excerpt from Pedro Páramo?
posted by MadamM at 7:48 PM on September 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, maybe?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:54 PM on September 15, 2012

Science fiction rather than magical realism, but Phillip K Dick's Ubik.
posted by zippy at 9:38 PM on September 15, 2012

I can't think of a specific story, but maybe one by Horacio Quiroga? There is often a twist at the end.
posted by the twistinside at 9:45 PM on September 15, 2012

Definitely not One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

I don't think it's anything by Marquez, but I haven't read every single short story.

You're positive it's neither Our Town (has that premise, staple of high school curricula, not magical realism) nor the film The Sixth Sense?
posted by Sara C. at 9:45 PM on September 15, 2012

I thought of Our Town, too, FWIW. (But that's a play, not a short story.)
posted by trip and a half at 10:58 PM on September 15, 2012

Our Town is definitely found in high school textbooks, but Emily Webb is not a guy and she's alive for most of the play.
posted by jeffhoward at 11:49 PM on September 15, 2012

Best answer: I'm guessing Pedro Páramo, too; it's frequently excerpted in textbooks.
posted by pitrified at 6:22 AM on September 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I was asking this question for my sis- and I had a couple of the bits wrong. It was sophomore year of college, and I guess the narrator didn't turn out to be dead, he just talked to the dead. After reading this thread and following up on the book itself, she confirms it was Pedro Páramo! So, good job for figuring that out even through my muddled explanation.

Thanks everyone!
posted by nzero at 2:07 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yay! I'm glad we found it for her.
posted by MadamM at 8:38 PM on September 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

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