“I Only Came To Use The Phone” by Gabriel García Márquez

‘Then she clung to her husband’s neck, screaming like a real madwoman.’

This is the first short story I ever read. I had an inspiring teacher at school who introduced me to Marquez. It felt like the first time I had read ‘in colour’. This story, however, is as dark as it gets. A woman is accidentally admitted to a sadistic psychiatric hospital where the consultant persuades her husband she is too dangerous to ever leave; something the woman herself begins to believe the longer she stays. Marquez is famed for his fantasies, but having worked a lot in mental health, the most terrifying thing about this story is its chilling proximity to the truth.

In Strange Pilgrims (Penguin, 1992) 

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