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Maaaeeestro!

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez, 27 August 2009

Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... has also been an unceasing and relentless manipulator of his own image, Gerald Martin writes of Gabriel García Márquez: ‘Literature and politics have been the two most effective ways of achieving immortality in the transient world that Western civilisation has created for the planet; few would hold that political glory is more enduring than the glory ...

Angel Gabriel

Salman Rushdie, 16 September 1982

Chronicle of a Death Foretold 
by Gabriel GarciaMarquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Cape, 122 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 224 01990 2
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... We had suspected for a long time that the man Gabriel was capable of miracles, because for many years he had talked too much about angels for someone who had no wings, so that when the miracle of the printing presses occurred we nodded our heads knowingly, but of course the foreknowledge of his sorcery did not release us from its power, and under the spell of that nostalgic witchcraft we arose from our wooden benches and garden swings and ran without once drawing breath to the place where the demented printing presses were breeding books faster than fruit-flies, and the books leapt into our hands without our even having to stretch out our arms, the flood of books spilled out of the print room and knocked down the first arrivals at the presses, who succumbed deliriously to that terrible deluge of narrative as it covered the streets and the sidewalks and rose lap-high in the ground-floor rooms of all the houses for miles around, so that there was no one who could escape from that story, if you were blind or shut your eyes it did you no good because there were always voices reading aloud within earshot, we had all been ravished like willing virgins by that tale, which had the quality of convincing each reader that it was his personal autobiography; and then the book filled up our country and headed out to sea, and we understood in the insanity of our possession that the phenomenon would not cease until the entire surface of the globe had been covered, until seas, mountains, underground railways and deserts had been completely clogged up by the endless copies emerging from the bewitched printing press, with the exception, as Melquiades the gypsy told us, of a single northern country called Britain whose inhabitants had long ago become immune to the book disease, no matter how virulent the strain ...

At Tranquilina’s Knee

G. Cabrera Infante, 2 June 1983

The Fragrance of Guava: Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza in conversation with Gabriel GarciaMarquez 
translated by Ann Wright.
Verso, 126 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 86091 065 2
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... To judge by the reaction of some of his staunchest admirers, many readers of Gabriel GarciaMarquez were truly taken aback by what he wrote about the alleged behaviour of British troops in the trenches during the Little War for the Falklands. It’s surprising, however, that most of his disenchanted fans live not in England but in Spain, where the offending article appeared ...

Two Visits to the Dentist

Michael Mason, 5 June 1980

In Evil Hour 
by Gabriel GarciaMarquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Cape, 183 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 224 01775 6
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... A reader who has some acquaintance with Garcia Marquez is almost bound to approach a new novel by him with certain questions about connectedness in mind. There is first of all the issue of the connectedness of his career: which resolves itself at once into questions about the origins of, and successors to, the extraordinary One Hundred Years of Solitude ...

Diary

Tariq Ali: Murder in the Family, 18 December 2008

... bed was always settled by the bullet, many of us would be dead. Gerald Martin’s new biography of Gabriel García Márquez reveals that Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on the murder of the novelist’s friend Cayetano Gentile in Sucre in 1951. He had seduced, deflowered and abandoned Margarita Chica Salas. On her wedding day Margarita’s husband was ...

Darkest Peru

John Sturrock, 19 February 1987

The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta 
by Mario Vargas Llosa.
Faber, 310 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14579 5
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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor 
by Gabriel GarciaMarquez and Randolph Hogan.
Cape, 106 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 224 02160 5
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... can save. That is an irony that would be altogether lost, to be sure, on the Colombian Gabriel GarciaMarquez, a hothead impatient with the political moderation and decent meliorism that are what Vargas Llosa would ask for. He likes to call not for changes but for Change, the big one, some vague but ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The Size of Wales, 23 May 2002

... a hundred or so well-known authors from 54 countries, not including Isabel Allende, Bob Dylan or Gabriel García Márquez, who admirably declined to vote. The Guardian did a vox pop. New Puritan about town Nicholas Blincoe rather proudly let slip that he’s read 81 of the top 100; smashing Mark Lawson (69) into a measly second place. ‘I think the list is ...

Moths of Ill Omen

Malcolm Deas, 30 October 1997

News of a Kidnapping 
by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Edith Grossman.
Cape, 291 pp., £16.99, July 1997, 0 224 05002 8
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Chapolas Negras 
by Fernando Vallejo.
Alfaguara, 262 pp., £15, March 1996, 958 24 0283 0
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José Asunción Silva: Obra Completa 
edited by Hector Orjuela.
Unesco/Casa de la Poesía Silva, 747 pp., £40, April 1996, 84 89666 06 7
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... great souls, universal intelligences, and often even accomplished cooks. Think how the shadow of Gabriel García Márquez has loomed over Colombia. Thirty years ago he published One Hundred Years of Solitude, the foundation stone of an unmanageable fame rivalled in the Spanish-speaking world only by Fidel Castro – a possible reason for their friendship ...

Lost in the rain

Michael Wood, 24 January 1991

The General in his Labyrinth 
by Gabriel GarciaMarquez, translated by Edith Grossman.
Cape, 285 pp., £13.99, January 1991, 0 224 03083 3
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... way to take ship for Europe. He died near Santa Marta, on the Caribbean, in December of that year. Garcia Marquez’s novel recounts those last months of Bolivar’s life but includes memories of earlier times. His fictional Bolivar makes all kinds of splendid phrases – ‘Superstitions are harder to uproot than love,’ ‘America is half a world gone ...

Love Letters

Mona Simpson, 1 September 1988

Love in the Time of Cholera 
by Gabriel GarciaMarquez and Edith Grossman.
Cape, 352 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 224 02570 8
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... endings, splendour and humour, the magician of our century takes on psychological realism. Gabriel GarciaMarquez tells his stories with a strange omniscience. He is as capable of seeing the dignity in homeliness and poverty as the hidden jokes and rituals of opulence, as comfortable with ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... as is Britain by the Channel. The outlook is maritime: the principal industry is, or was, mining. Gabriel García Márquez once described Chile as ‘a cornice of the Andes in a misty sea’. One could push this too far, no doubt (the sheer quality of Chilean wine would be a counter-indicator), but it remains the case that the Chilean upper class is highly ...

Sandinismo

Jonathan Steele, 19 December 1985

Fire from the Mountain: The Making of a Sandinista 
by Omar Cabezas, translated by Kathleen Weaver.
Cape, 233 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02814 6
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... But there is also a specifically romantic Latin American quality, a note first struck by Gabriel GarciaMarquez in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Now, six years after Somoza’s defeat, the revolution is under greater threat than ever. Mounting economic difficulties, largely provoked by the CIA’s war of ...

Jasmines in the Hallway

Michael Wood: García Márquez tells his story, 3 June 2004

Living to Tell the Tale 
by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Edith Grossman.
Cape, 484 pp., £18.99, November 2003, 0 224 07278 1
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... In English as in Spanish the title has several meanings. The most obvious one involves survival, hanging on after some disaster or adventure. Another suggests a telling which has become a life, perhaps even a compulsion or a doom, like that of the Ancient Mariner. And García Márquez himself spells out a third possibility: that you live, that you always have lived, for the sake of the future story, the one you will keep telling ...

Flame-Broiled Whopper

Theo Tait: Salman Rushdie, 6 October 2005

Shalimar the Clown 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 398 pp., £17.99, September 2005, 0 224 06161 5
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... degenerates into mannerism. This is especially true of magic realism. Following the success of Gabriel García Márquez, a flood of semi-supernatural sagas was released all over the world – full of omens, prodigies, legendary feats, hallucinatory exaggerations, fairytale motifs, strange coincidences and overdeveloped sense-organs (all accepted placidly ...

Tio Sam

Christopher Hitchens, 20 December 1990

In the Time of the Tyrants: Panama 1968-89 
by R.M. Koster and Guillermo Sanchez Borbon.
Secker, 430 pp., £17.99, October 1990, 0 436 20016 3
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... A coda. Is this Torrijos the same genial populist who was hymned and wreathed by Graham Greene and Gabriel GarciaMarquez? The plucky patriot who stood up for his people and his Canal? Yes, it is the torturer and traitor and bribe-taker himself. Nothing better illustrates the decay of ideology than the non-fiction ...

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