Cultural Cannibal: The journalism of Gabriel García Márquez
July 5, 2014 8:26 AM Subscribe
“Would I want to read the young García Márquez’s journalism if it didn’t happen to be written by García Márquez?”
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I asked myself while speedwalking toward Bocars Libros in the Barracas neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and again while shelling out 150 pesos for the three-volume Obra periodística with an introduction by Jacques Gilard. Back home, reading his work, my anxiety was quickly dispelled. Gabriel García Marquez (1927–2014) is known in the English-speaking world for his lyrical, densely descriptive novels, but as a journalist he was acerbically funny, charming, and slightly bizarre. The young García Márquez devoured what surrounded him. Everything was raw material for his newspaper columns—film adaptations of Faulkner, nudism, dancing bears, the letter X, a woman he saw in an ice cream parlor who may have been the “ugliest I’ve ever seen in my life, or, on the contrary, the most disconcertingly beautiful.”
At twenty-one, he joined El Universal in Cartagena, and at twenty-three began writing an impressionistic column called “The Giraffe” for El Heraldo in Barranquilla under the pseudonym Septimus. At 25 he moved to Bogotá and started writing for El Espectador, mostly cinema reviews but also long pieces of in-depth reportage. The three volumes of the Obra periodística cover García Márquez’s productive early working years, from 1948 to 1960. But this is far from a complete collection. G.G.M., as he would begin to sign his pieces, continued to write for newspapers until his death earlier this year, and much of his later work is incompletely catalogued, with an overlap and omission of years. In English his complete journalistic work is not on the radar.