No more books from Gabo?
So it is the end. Gabriel García Márquez won’t be writing another book after Memories of My Melancholy Whores, which came out eight years ago. The 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature is suffering from dementia aggravated by his treatment for lymphatic cancer. So there won’t be another part of the planned trilogy of his autobiography, Vivir para contarla (Living to Tell the Tale) or any other work.
Living to Tell the Tale was published in 2002 (English translation 2003) and Memory of my Melancholy Whores in 2004 (English translation 2005). And it was in 2005 that rumours began of Garcia Marquez having finally laid down his pen for good. That year García Márquez admitted ‘was the first [year] in my life in which I haven’t written even a line. With my experience, I could write a new novel without any problems, but people would realise my heart wasn’t in it.’ In 2008, he told fans that he was worn out by writing: ‘It’s a lot of work for me to write books.’ In 2009, his agent, Carmen Balcells told the Chilean newspaper La Tercera: ‘I don’t think that García Márquez will write anything else.’ A viewpoint echoed by Gerald Martin, García Márquez’s biographer, who told La Tercera he too doubts anything new will be published in his lifetime. Then in 2010 hopes were raised when Colombian writer Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, a friend, said Marquez was in fact working on a new novel. Now it looks like it is finally over.
But is it all darkness and despondency for his fans from around the world? A number of older, completed manuscripts are rumored to be in Márquez’s possession. When or whether they will be published remains to be seen. Soon we hope. As a writer, Márquez has had the immense sense of satisfaction of seeing his body of work applauded and studied around the world, a fulfilling literary career very few could boast of. Is it then time to celebrate one of the world’s greatest writers instead of demanding more from this celebrated author? As Jaime Garcia Marquez, his brother, puts it, while it is regrettable that his brother is not in a condition to write, ‘I hope I’m wrong.’
And the irony of words, Márquez’s own, from Living to Tell a Tale, which sums it all up: ‘I never could discover why, in the middle of so simple a life, I sank without warning into an unexpected apathy.’