Noticia de un secuestro (News of a Kidnapping)

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Overview

"Antes de entrar en el automóvil miró por encima del hombro para estar segura de que nadie la acechaba. Eran las siete y cinco de la noche en Bogotá. Había oscurecido una hora antes, el Parque Nacional estaba mal iluminado y los árboles sin hojas tenían un perfil fantasmal contra el cielo turbio y triste, pero no había a la vista nada que temer."

..."Era, en efecto, el automóvil de Maruja. Había transcurrido por lo menos media hora desde el secuestro, y sólo quedaban los rastros: el cristal del lado del chofer destruido por un balazo, la mancha ...

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Overview

"Antes de entrar en el automóvil miró por encima del hombro para estar segura de que nadie la acechaba. Eran las siete y cinco de la noche en Bogotá. Había oscurecido una hora antes, el Parque Nacional estaba mal iluminado y los árboles sin hojas tenían un perfil fantasmal contra el cielo turbio y triste, pero no había a la vista nada que temer."

..."Era, en efecto, el automóvil de Maruja. Había transcurrido por lo menos media hora desde el secuestro, y sólo quedaban los rastros: el cristal del lado del chofer destruido por un balazo, la mancha de sangre y el granizo de vidrio en el asiento, y la sombra húmeda en el asfalto, de donde acababan de llevarse al chofer todavía con vida. El resto estaba limpio y en orden."

Noticia de un secuestro es una obra de investigación periodística, fruto de casi tres años de trabajo, durante los cuales Gabriel García Márquez entrevistó a los secuestrados, a sus familias, así como a todas aquellas personas que intervinieron en las negociaciones para su rescate, y desentrañó todos los pormenores que rodearon a los secuestros. Su relato es un drama real, que se publica en la misma colección que el resto de los reportajes y crónicas realizados por el Premio Nobel de Literatura a lo largo de su carrera como periodista.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In October 1993, Mauja Pachn and Beatriz Villamizar, the wife and sister of a prominent Colombian politician, were taken hostage by Pablo Escobar, the billionaire don of the Medelln 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 Medelln'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 Mrquez 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, Mrquez'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 serviceand 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)
Library Journal
Garca Mrquez, 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 Pachn'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
Kirkus Reviews
In the same straightforward tone with which he relates the fabulous events of his fiction, Colombia's premier novelist presents the chillingly extraordinary events surrounding the 1992 abduction of ten prominent people by the Medellín drug cartel.

For anyone who has doubts about where the real war on drugs is taking place, this is a vivid testimony to what García Márquez calls "the biblical holocaust that has been consuming Colombia for more than twenty years." It is a tale featuring real-life heroes, almost comically absurd events, endless terror, and a satisfyingly dramatic ending. Controlling the events is a man we never meet until the very end—the all-powerful and cunningly elusive Pablo Escobar, the head of the Medellín cartel. Fearing extradition to the US and death at the hands of his competitors more than he fears the Colombian government, he takes the hostages (primarily journalists) as pawns as he negotiates his surrender to the security of a specially prepared Colombian prison. Among the extraordinary men negotiating for the hostages' freedom are Alberto Villamizar, a politician who was himself once an assassination target of Escobar's and whose wife, Maruja, and sister, Beatriz, are both hostages; and the elderly Father García Herreros, known for his daily television homilies and celebrity-studded fundraisers. But at the core of the narrative are the daily terrors and tribulations of the hostages, scattered in groups of two and three in different hiding places under the constant watch of Escobar's young, nihilistic soldiers. Newspaper editor Pacho Santos is chained to his bed at night. Maruja, Beatriz, and the doomed Marina Montoya must share a tiny, dark, airless room with four guards, their trips to the bathroom strictly regulated, their only distraction the television, through which Maruja's daughter, with her own TV show, sends coded messages of support and hope.

García Márquez's consummate rendering of this hostage-taking looms as the symbol of an entire country held hostage to invisible yet violently ever-present drug lords.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140262476
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Language: Spanish
  • Series: Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century Series
  • Edition description: Spanish-language Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez
A chief practitioner of the "magic-realist" style, Gabriel García Márquez's influence and importance lie in his crucial role of bringing Latin-American fiction to wider audiences while pioneering it at the same time. The Colombian-born Nobel winner tells fantastical tales of romance and heroism against an historic Latin American backdrop, always infusing believability by giving his writing a journalistic cast.

Biography

Gabriel García Márquez is the product of his family and his nation. Born in the small coastal town of Aracataca in northern Colombia, he was raised by his maternal grandparents. As a child, he was mesmerized by stories spun by his grandmother and her sisters -- a rich gumbo of superstitions, folk tales, and ghost stories that fired his youthful imagination. And from his grandfather, a colonel in Colombia's devastating Civil War, he learned about his country's political struggles. This potent mix of Liberal politics, family lore, and regional mythology formed the framework for his magical realist novels.

When his grandfather died, García Márquez was sent to Sucre to live (for the first time) with his parents. He attended university in Bogotá, where he studied law in accordance with his parents' wishes. It was here that he first read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and discovered a literature he understood intuitively -- one with nontraditional plots and structures, just like the stories he had known all his life. His studies were interrupted when the university was closed, and he moved back north, intending to pursue both writing and law; but before long, he quit school to pursue a career in journalism.

In 1954 his newspaper sent García Márquez on assignment to Italy, marking the start of a lifelong self-imposed exile from the horrors of Colombian politics that took him to Barcelona, Paris, New York, and Mexico. Influenced by American novelist William Faulkner, creator of the fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County, and by the powerful intergenerational tragedies of the Greek dramatist Sophocles, García Márquez began writing fiction, honing a signature blend of fantasy and reality that culminated in the 1967 masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude. This sweeping epic became an instant classic and set the stage for more bestselling novels, including Love in the Time of Cholera, Love and Other Demons, and Memories of My Melancholy Whores. In addition, he has completed the first volume of a shelf-bending memoir, and his journalism and nonfiction essays have been collected into several anthologies.

In 1982, García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his acceptance speech, he called for a "sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible, and where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth." Few writers have pursued that utopia with more passion and vigor than this towering 20th-century novelist.

Good To Know

Gabriel José García Márquez' affectionate nickname is Gabo.

García Márquez' first two novellas were completed long before their actual release dates, but might not have been published if it weren't for his friends, who found the manuscripts in a desk drawer and a suitcase, and sent them in for publication.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Gabriel José García Márquez
    2. Hometown:
      Mexico City, Mexico
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 6, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Aracataca, Colombia
    1. Education:
      Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1947-48, and Universidad de Cartagena, 1948-49

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    One of the best books I have ever read!

    This is one of those books that you cannot put down. Sunspense, uncertainty, and curiosity keeps you glued to each page of this wonderful story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2009

    the book is thrilling from beginning to end.

    This book is very intense, takes you back and for during the hey days of Pablo Escobar the lord drug of Colombia>

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 11, 2008

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    Posted September 30, 2009

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    Posted December 14, 2009

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