Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Critical Companion

By Rubén Pelayo | Go to book overview
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Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981)

The publication of Chronicle of a Death Foretold broke Gabriel García Márquez’s self-imposed “publication strike.” (He had pledged to not publish anything for as long as Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet remained in power.) García Márquez’s period of silence started in 1976 and ended in a spectacular way in 1981 with the publication of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which was written, according to some critics, at the urging of other Chilean authors. While it is common for countries such as Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia to have their own publication run of 5,000 to 30,000 copies, 30,000 being the exception, Chronicle of a Death Foretold was, without doubt, an exception beyond that. García Márquez’s publishing house, located in Spain, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, published 1 million copies of the book. Immediately after, as might be expected, García Márquez gave private interviews and newspaper reviews appeared the world over. One year after the publication of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, in 1982, newspapers around the world announced that García Márquez was that year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. The glory days that had followed the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967 had returned.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold reconstructs an actual murder that took place in Sucre, Colombia, in 1951. In an interview for the Argentine newspaper La Nación (The Nation), García Márquez declared that Cayetano Gentile Chimento—Santiago Nasar in the novel—had been one of his childhood friends. On January 22, 1951, two brothers of the Chica

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