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In the book of the Colombian novelist García Márquez Love in the Time of Cholera there is the following phrase:

She said: “Not even Jonah’s wife would swallow that story.”

I tried to find some information about Jonah's wife online but couldn't find anything. Could anybody please help me interpret this sentence? What is so special about his wife? Does the use of the verb swallow have anything to do with the fish that swallowed Jonah?

  • What is the wording of the Spanish original? Is this a question about something written by García Márquez or by his translator? – kimchi lover Apr 25 at 11:06
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Does the use of the verb swallow have anything to do with the fish that swallowed Jonah?

Exactly.

Jonah's wife had to "swallow" (accept) the ridiculous story (as an explanation for his disappearance for a few days) that Jonah had been swallowed by a whale and survived.

So "she" is talking about a story that is so ridiculous that not even Jonah's wife would believe it.

Of course, Márquez is playing with the word "swallow", linking Jonah's wife's acceptance (swallow the truth) with Jonah's alleged swallowing by a whale. It is humorous.

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