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A Show of Heads

Carlos Fuentes, 19 March 1987

I the Supreme 
by Augusto Roa Bastos, translated by Helen Lane.
Faber, 433 pp., £9.95, March 1987, 0 571 14626 0
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... Roa Bastos himself, Argentina’s Julio Cortazar, Venezuela’s Miguel Otero Silva, Colombia’s Gabriel García Marquez, Cuba’s Alejo Carpentier, the Dominican Republic’s Juan Bosch and Chile’s José Donoso and Jorge Edwards (one of them promised to take on a Bolivian dictator). When the project fell through, three ...

How many nipples had Graham Greene?

Colm Tóibín, 9 June 1994

... it, have just been blown to kingdom come.’ In another letter to Theroux, Greene referred to Gabriel García Márquez as ‘quite a nice man’. In 1983 García Márquez sent him a photograph of himself receiving the Nobel Prize, a curious and double-edged gift, with a note at the bottom of the photograph: ‘To the great old maestro – ...

Dying for Madame Ocampo

Daniel Waissbein, 3 March 1988

‘Sur’: A Study of the Argentine Literary Journal and its Role in the Development of a Culture, 1931-1970 
by John King.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £27.50, December 1986, 0 521 26849 4
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... of the few exceptions in that his name appeared regularly among the magazine’s contributors, and Gabriel GarciaMarquez, have spoken appreciatively of the journal’s importance for themselves and their friends. As regards Sur’s role in the Argentine, I am puzzled by what is undoubtedly the most glaring omission in ...

Dark Underbellies

Lorna Scott Fox, 24 March 1994

A Trip to the Light Fantastic: Travels with a Mexican circus 
by Katie Hickman.
HarperCollins, 301 pp., £16.99, October 1993, 0 00 215927 9
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... realism. The old man’s poignant flashback in the face of death has become a classic, but then, Gabriel García Márquez spent 17 years preparing for this sentence. One Hundred Years of Solitude went on to launch not only the concept but a thousand whimsical imitations, such as Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits. The third passage, by now highly ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: In Medellín, 21 May 1998

... view over the Aburra valley.’ Escobar is the best known modern Colombian. He would outscore even Gabriel García Márquez and the bubble-permed soccer legend Valderama in focus-group samplings. After 499 days at large, he was run to ground in 1993 by a force of 1500 men, and whacked. But Colombia is still haunted by his ghost. President Ernesto Samper, who ...

Ellipticity

C.K. Stead, 10 June 1993

Remembering Babylon 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 200 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 7011 5883 2
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... a world novel in every sense to rank alongside the best of Coetzee, Salman Rushdie ... and Gabriel GarciaMarquez’. Does Malouf deserve such backers – and perhaps the Booker as well? Maybe he does; maybe they all deserve one another. Here are his final paragraphs: Out beyond the flatlands the line of light ...

More like a Cemetery

Michael Wood: The Part about Bolaño, 26 February 2009

Nazi Literature in the Americas 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 227 pp., £17.95, May 2008, 978 0 8112 1705 7
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2666 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... world Bolaño has already met with the kind of success that among Latin American writers only Gabriel García Márquez has achieved, an ironic victory given Bolaño’s endless attacks on what he regarded as a mere mainstream of literature. The distinctive signature of his work should assure his ghost that he need no longer worry, if he ever did, about ...
... then, when the coup came, you realised your limits were much narrower than you thought. Marcos Garcia de la Huerta is a colleague of Jorge Guzman; both work in the Centro de Estudios Humanisticos in the faculty of mathematical and physical sciences of the University of Chile, which had a moment of glory when it was upgraded from a centre, servicing ...

Nuremberg Rally, Invasion of Poland, Dunkirk …

James Meek: The never-ending wish to write about the Second World War, 6 September 2001

Ghost MacIndoe 
by Jonathan Buckley.
Fourth Estate, 469 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 1 84115 227 7
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The Twins 
by Tessa de Loo.
Arcadia, 392 pp., £6.99, May 2001, 1 900850 56 7
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Riptide 
by John Lawton.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 0 297 64345 2
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The Day We Had Hitler Home 
by Rodney Hall.
Granta, 361 pp., £15.99, April 2001, 1 86207 384 8
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Five Quarters of the Orange 
by Joanne Harris.
Doubleday, 431 pp., £12.99, April 2001, 0 385 60169 7
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The Fire Fighter 
by Francis Cottam.
Chatto, 240 pp., £15.99, March 2001, 0 7011 6981 8
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The Element of Water 
by Stevie Davies.
Women’s Press, 253 pp., £9.99, April 2001, 0 7043 4705 9
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The Bronze Horsewoman 
by Paullina Simons.
Flamingo, 637 pp., £6.99, April 2001, 0 00 651322 0
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The Siege 
by Helen Dunmore.
Penguin, 304 pp., £16.99, June 2001, 0 670 89718 3
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... about Prague in 1968, or a Colombian write about La Violencia. That’s what Milan Kundera and Gabriel García Márquez are there for. No it isn’t. The experiences of Kundera and Márquez in their own countries, their Czechness and Colombianness, give their work something irreproducible by an outsider. But they are good because they are good writers, not ...

Joan Didion’s Style

Martin Amis, 7 February 1980

The White Album 
by Joan Didion.
Weidenfeld, 223 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 297 77702 5
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... takes the opportunity to quote from One Hundred Years of Solitude (‘by the Colombian novelist Gabriel GarciaMarquez’) and Robert Lowell’s ‘Caracas’. Yet at no point does Miss Didion give a sense of being someone who uses literature as a constant model or ideal, something shored up against the randomness ...

Textual Intercourse

Claude Rawson, 6 February 1986

The Name of Action: Critical Essays 
by John Fraser.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, December 1984, 0 521 25876 6
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... to the inclusive ‘like’: ‘writers like Lawrence, Jean Giono, George Eliot, Traven, Tolstoy, Gabriel GarciaMarquez, and, of course, Sturt’. The ‘of course’ is part of a bullying knowingness that never lets up. If you don’t believe me, turn to page 69, where you will find all the following ...

Basismo

Anthony Pagden, 13 June 1991

The Cambridge History of Latin America. Vol. VII: 1930 to the Present 
edited by Leslie Bethell.
Cambridge, 775 pp., £70, October 1990, 0 521 24518 4
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Magical Reels: A History of Cinema in Latin America 
by John King.
Verso, 266 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 86091 295 7
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Democracy and Development in Latin America: Economics, Politics and Religion in the Post-war Period 
by David Lehmann.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, April 1990, 0 7456 0776 4
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... of Panama, which, after a brief interlude first under Omar Torrijos (friend of Graham Greene and Gabriel García Márquez) and then under Manuel Noriega (former friend of George Bush), is now firmly back in its control. (As John Major says in the Cambridge History, the Panama Canal has been the ‘outstanding symbol of Washington’s power to dominate the ...

Exporting the Royals

Robert Tombs, 7 October 1993

Maximilian and Juárez 
by Jasper Ridley.
Constable, 353 pp., £16.95, March 1993, 0 09 472070 3
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Maximilian’s Lieutenant: A Personal History of the Mexican Campaign, 1864-7 
by Ernst Pitner, translated and edited by Gordon Etherington-Smith.
Tauris, 256 pp., £35, October 1993, 9781850435600
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... and incomprehensible skirmishes. More disappointingly, this lurid little epic, a combination of Gabriel García Márquez and a particularly nasty spaghetti Western, is rather baldly described. Ridley gives us a good idea of what Maximilian was like and a little of Charlotte. But Juárez remains shadowy, although his career, from his birth in an Indian ...

Everyone’s Pal

John Sutherland: Louis de Bernières, 13 December 2001

Red Dog 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 119 pp., £10, October 2001, 0 436 25617 7
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Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World 
by Louis de Bernières.
Vintage, 119 pp., £6.99, October 2001, 9780099428442
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... stars out of Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis. Although it is tempting to align de Bernières with Gabriel García Márquez, whose work was also becoming popular with British readers at this period, his strongest influence is Norman Douglas’s South Wind. This novel, which came out in 1917, held its place as a book that everyone read for three decades (it was ...

Everlasting Fudge

Theo Tait: The Difficult Fiction of Cynthia Ozick, 19 May 2005

The Bear Boy 
by Cynthia Ozick.
Weidenfeld, 310 pp., £12.99, March 2005, 0 297 84808 9
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... first International Man Booker Prize for career achievement, alongside Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Gabriel García Márquez, Margaret Atwood et al. Consequently, it is sometimes seen as surprising that she is so little read in Britain. Her formidable essays have been published and admired here; but, of her nine works of fiction, only The Bear ...

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