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News of a Kidnapping
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In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar - head of the Medellin drug cartel - kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, Garcia Marquez describes the survivors' perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, Garcia Marquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.
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About the Author

Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time Cholera, The Autumn Of The Patriarch, The General In His Labyrinth, and News Of A Kidnapping. He died in 2014. Edith Grossman is the award-winning translator of major works by many of Latin America's most important writers, including Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez and Alvaro Mutis. Born in Philadelphia, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley before receiving her Ph.D. from New York University. Ms. Grossman is the author of The Antipoetry of Nicanor Parra and of many articles and book reviews. She lives in New York City.

Reviews

García Márquez, Latin America's Nobel prize-winning novelist, turns his hand for the first time to nonfiction to explain, through one individual's experience, the widespread kidnapping in Colombia. Although focusing on Maruja Pachón's six months in captivity and her prominent husband's efforts to obtain her release, the book is really about the 1990 abduction of ten individuals by drug traffickers hoping to prevent their extradition to the United States. As he does so memorably in his fiction, the author captures the political intricacies and strange, deep involvement of drug dealers in Colombian life, turning what as easily could have been an imagined story into a fascinating exploration of contemporary culture, politics, and drug lords. Highly recommended.‘Roderic A. Camp, Latin American Ctr., Tulane Univ., New Orleans

In October 1993, Mauja Pachón and Beatriz Villamizar, the wife and sister of a prominent Colombian politician, were taken hostage by Pablo Escobar, the billionaire don of the Medellín cocaine cartel. The story of their captivity, and of the negotiations that led to their release, is also the story of a legal crisis that turned into a terrorist civil war and, in the last decade, left thousands dead, from the children of Medellín's slums (where people prayed to effigies of Escobar) to soccer stars and presidential candidates. The heart of the struggle, played out daily in Colombia's Supreme Court and the National Assembly, in newspapers, on TV and in the streets: terms of surrender for Escobar and his henchmen, "The Extraditables," whose motto was "Better a grave in Colombia than a cell in the United States." This struggle has been reported to North American readers, notably by Alma Guillermoprieto in her recent collection of New Yorker correspondence, The Heart That Bleeds, but never with such tragic elegance as here, for Nobel laureate Márquez knows his subjects as friends or acquaintances and at the same time understands them as types, symbols of a national destiny. Their private premonitions, foibles and heroism fascinate him. What emerges from these pages is not just a chronology of the harrowing events of 1993-94, but also a detailed portrait of Colombian society today, in particular of the moneyed intelligentsia (known in Colombia as "the political class") for whom government and the media are still very much a family affair. Nevertheless, Márquez's calm sympathy reaches beyond these leading families taken prisoner by the war on drugs; he takes a human interest in the foot-soldiers who face certain death in Escobar's service‘and even in Escobar himself, a doomed anti-hero whose "most unsettling and dangerous aspect... was his total inability to distinguish between good and evil." Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is its insistence on individual choice between good and evil, pluck and cowardice, at a moment when a lesser writer might see only the drama of a gripping true-crime story, with villains and victims foreordained. 100,000 first printing. (June)

"Fascinating. . . . Possesses all the drama and emotional resonance of Garc�a M�rquez's most powerful fiction." --The New York Times"Brilliant. . . . Deeply affecting. . . . A story rich in characters who are both heroic and contradictory." --The Wall Street Journal"A potent mixture of the newshound's well-documented detail and the novelist's tragic vision." --Chicago Tribune"A powerful story. . . . In a series of telling strokes, shifting subtly from one perspective to another, Garc�a M�rquez conveys the madness of the hostages' imprisonment, the despair, the anger, the false hope, the resignation." --San Francisco Chronicle

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