Soledad & compañía
Silvana Paternostro

NON-FICTION | 2014 | 250 pages

Adopting the method used by George Plimpton in his Edie (and later Truman Capote), Silvana Paternostro has written the first oral biography of Gabriel García Márquez. Including anecdotes of his early years in Barranquilla, Paris and Bogotá, to the glory days after the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Told through the voices of those who knew “Gabo” before he became the author of worldwide renown, Soledad & compañía is a quick and enjoyable read that, for the price of a couple of drinks, shows the reader, Zirst hand, what it would be like to attend a rambunctious vallenato party with García Márquez and some of his closest friends. 

RIGHTS: spanish PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE | english SEVEN STORIES PRESS

READ AND EXCERPT:

María Luisa Elio: Have you been out on the streets with him? The girls throw themselves at him. It must be annoying … García Márquez’s phenomenon is very special. He has great charisma.

Alberto Fuguet: To read García Márquez at a certain age can be very harmful, and I would forbid it. It can spoil you forever. García Márquez is a software that you install and then can’t get rid of.

Santiago Mutis: The entire world understands [One Hundred Years of Solitude] because it is an epic, a bible. It tells the story of life itself from beginning to end—a human version, with a very Colombian truth. It is life as it is lived here. Colombia is a magical country; the people believe in that. When you go to a market fair in Villa de Leyva, the people spray the truck with holy water so that it won’t fall off the road. I think this is what happened with Gabo: the nation had an oral tradition, and that oral tradition started to get closed in a bit; the cities began taking on an important role. When the pop culture threatened—to stop being oral—Gabo was there to pick it up. It starts to pass into literature; he senses it, starts to refine it—it’s his parents, his family, his land, his friends, it’s everything. Pop culture is the mother and father of art—that is Gabo.

Ramon Illán Bacca: Well, everyone cooks with parsley, but there’s always one cook who takes it to an artistic level. Right? His genius lies in that.

Juancho Jinete: I will never forget when Gabito came and stayed at Álvaro’s house, and Juan Gossaín—who is the big cheese in Colombian journalism today—was also at the house. Gabo hugged me and said, “These are my childhood friends.” Then Juan Gossaín told Gabito, “Maestro, let me interview you.” Gabito said to him, “What kind of a journalist are you? What more do you want? You have the story right in your hands. Get it!” It was true—you didn’t have to ask any questions … Gabito told him, “What more do you want? This is my friend here since we were children. There’s your story.”