Gabriel Garcia Marquez left behind unpublished erotic story, editor says

Family of Nobel Prize winner is considering what to do with the manuscript, editor says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 8:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 12:59am


Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez left behind an unpublished manuscript that he chose not to print while he was alive, an editor has revealed.

Cristobal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House Mexico, said his family had not yet decided whether to allow the work to come out posthumously, or which publishing house would get the rights. Garcia Marquez died at his Mexico City home on April 17.

An excerpt of the manuscript - which has a working title of
We'll See Each Other In August (
En Agosto Nos Vemos) was published in Spain's
La Vanguardia newspaper. It contained what appeared to be an opening chapter, describing a trip taken by a 50-ish married woman who visits her mother's grave on a tropical island every year. In the chapter, she has an affair with a man of about the same age at the hotel where she stays.

The erotic tone of the work is heightened by the island's tropical charm, with deftly drawn touches of the heat, the landscape, music and local inhabitants.

The manuscript apparently dates to about the time Garcia Marquez was writing his last novel,
Memories Of My Melancholy Whores, which was published in 2004, and deals with similar themes of forms of love. Garcia Marquez, beset by a failing memory, apparently did not write much in recent years.

"I'm not going to write any more," Mexican writer Homero Aridjis recalls Garcia Marquez telling him in 2005.

His biographer Gerald Martin said the manuscript apparently started as a short story.

"This has come as a surprise to me. The last time I talked to Gabo about this story it was a standalone which he was going to include in a book with three similar but independent stories," Martin said.

"Now they're talking about a series of episodes in which the woman turns up and has a different adventure each year," he wrote in an e-mail. "Obviously it makes sense and presumably Gabo really did play with it, presumably some years ago."

Colombia's Culture Ministry said on Tuesday that it was creating a US$100,000 annual literary prize that will bear Garcia Marquez's name for the best short story in Spanish. The prize will be launched next week.

In Bogota, President Juan Manuel Santos presided over a mass in Garcia Marquez's honour on Tuesday.

The Bogota Symphony Orchestra performed Mozart's
Requiem in the capital's colonial-era cathedral, which was festooned with thousands of roses in yellow, the author's favourite colour.

Around Colombia, a marathon public reading of Garcia Marquez's
No One Writes To The Colonel was planned yesterday at 1,400 public libraries.

In Cuba, the state news agency Prensa Latina announced that this year's Havana Film Festival would be dedicated to the late Nobel Prize-winning author.