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News of a Kidnapping (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) Paperback – 25 Jun 1998
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Marquez uses his novelist's instinct for emotional drama to give the reader a wonderfully immediate sense of his subjects' ordeal: their spiraling hopes and fears, their fantasies of escape, their desperation and despair. (New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A masterly 'non-fiction novel' about the Colombia drug wars. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
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I read this book after I married a woman from Medellin whose family had been through the pain of a relative's kidnapping (thankfully only for ten days). I bought it on Friday night and had read it by Monday morning, it is genuinely a book you do not want to put down.
Garcia Marquez really gets to the heart of the issue and gets across the personal feelings experienced by the hostages... and also their families, politicians, the kidnappers etc. His writing is fantastic and keeps you engaged at all times.
The book is deeply sad but also heart-warming and I occassionally found myself laughing out loud as I read it. It brings home to the reader how important the things we take for granted actually are compared with the trivia we tend to get most wound up/excited about.
I highly recommend it to everyone.
Drug trading means easy money, which is more harmful than the narcotics themselves. It provokes a social breakdown. It becomes a waste of time learning to read and to write. One can live a better life as a criminal than as a law-abiding citizen. The law becomes one's greatest obstacle to happiness.
The drug traffickers were unable to distinguish between good and evil.
Their foot folk (the guards) knew that they were going to die young and cared only about living for the moment.
Many of the judges and the magistrates had the choice between being bribed or being killed. Their salaries were barely enough to live on, but not to pay for the education of their children.
The government (and its president) changed tactics in the drug war. Drug traffickers could be extradited to the US, where they faced harsh sentences (P. Escobar: `We prefer a grave in Colombia to a cell in the US.') Those who surrendered and confessed to their crimes could receive the right not to be extradited.
The kidnapped lived a disturbing nightmare swinging between hope (to be released) and fear (to be killed).
With the kidnappings the Extradites (mainly P. Escobar) tried to force the government to grant them an irrevocable right not to be extradited and to have the right to choose their prison.
But power is a double-edged sword; one wields it and one is wounded by it.
With its news dispatches balancing between alarmingly bad and slightly hopeful messages G. G. Márquez wrote a remarkably realist psycho-thriller on a shaken society.
A must read for all lovers of world literature.
Give it to Gabriel Marquez narrating the ordeal faced by some citizens during these ugly times with an angry-beautiful pen. He was vested with the job of narrating things as they were in those bloody years in Medellin, Colombia. As usual, he didn't fail the reader. Every page flourishes like a flower with a thorny stem.
The kidnapped characters in the book begin to lose their mental stability as they were isolated and put away from the outside world's reality. After they were release, one could still feel their suffering as they struggled with memory and fitting into normal live. Columbia, one may conclude, will never forget those years with a book like this.
It is a story worth reading!
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