End of Vargas Llosa and García Márquez Row Denied
By Aída Bardales
Literary agent, Carmen Balcells, denied that Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa will write a prolog for the commemorative edition of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude). Balcells told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that the special edition will include an excerpt from Historia de un deicidio (“History of a Deicide”), an essay Vargas Llosa wrote about the novel when the two were friends.
The misunderstanding came about after Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported that Vargas Llosa would write a prolog specifically for that edition. Various news agencies and media subsequently recounted the reports, including British newspaper the Guardian. A spokesperson for the Real Academia Española (RAE or Spanish Royal Academy) reportedly told the Guardian that “Both men are in agreement…” but no official confirmation was made. “This scandal is nothing more than the trivialization reporters commit when dealing with serious matters such as this one,” Balcells told El Tiempo.
The supposed prolog would have ended 30-years of hostility between the two Latin American writers. The two have shared an enmity since Vargas Llosa punched García Márquez at a cinema three decades ago. Neither author has divulged the reasons for their feud and both have only said it was based on personal matters. However, it is widely suspected it was triggered by differences in political views: García Márquez is a loyal friend of Fidel Castro while Vargas Llosa is an avid believer in democracy.
The special edition of García Márquez’s classic work will be published this March by RAE in conjunction with Spanish publisher Santillana and will be presented at the fourth Congreso Internacional de la Lengua (“International Conference of Language”), which will take place in Cartagena, Colombia, the Nobel laurete’s hometown.
The commemorative version of Cien años de soledad will be similar to the 2004 edition of El Quijote—published in celebration of its fourth centennial and presented at the third Congreso two years ago. It will include introductions by fellow “boom” writers—the one by Vargas Llosa, one by Mexican Carlos Fuentes, and one by Colombian Alvaro Mutis—complementary essays, and a glossary.
The centennial edition of El Quijote also included a prolog by Vargas Llosa and sold more than 2.5 million copies.
The Congreso Internacional de la Lengua is organized by RAE—the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language—and by the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (“Association of the Academies of the Spanish Language”). At this year’s conference, special tribute will be paid to García Márquez, who marks his 80th birthday this year, as well as the 25th anniversary since receiving the Nobel prize.