A resonant new collection of García Márquez’s journalism, 'The Scandal of the Century,' demonstrates how seriously he took reportage ... These are articles that, in their confidence and grace, put the reader in mind of 'The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor' ... So many of the best pieces in 'The Scandal of the Century,' however, are essays, unpretentious and witty meditations on topics like barbers and air travel and literary translation and movies ... The articles and columns in 'The Scandal of the Century' demonstrate that his forthright, lightly ironical voice just seemed to be there, right from the start ... He’s among those rare great fiction writers whose ancillary work is almost always worth finding; he didn’t know how to phone anything in. He was a world-class observer ... The humble García Márquez put it this way: 'I am basically a journalist. All my life I have been a journalist. My books are the books of a journalist, even if it’s not so noticeable.' He had a way of connecting the souls in all his writing, fiction and nonfiction, to the melancholy static of the universe.
What’s particularly striking is how timely and relevant many of the dispatches are today, even though the most recent was written 35 years ago ... As in any anthology, some of the pieces are better than others. His style can be baroque. He repeats himself ... But taken together, the writing here offers readers a splendid opportunity to sit for a few hours in the presence of a storyteller of spellbinding genius and humanity.
... presents fragments of evidence to get to the truth but is heavy-handed as he tries to dig through official malfeasance, media red herrings, and verifiable facts. Part of the story is that the truth (and the story) gets lost in the shuffle as the author tries to be ironic, accusatory, and clever all at once ... despite the central disappointment of the title story in this collection, there are bountiful literary treasures by Marquez to make up for it. Chief among them, the events of the Cuban revolution, with frontline reporting of the Castro revolution, as well as hawk eye reporting of the fall of dictators all over South America in Argentina, Columbia, and Venezuela—always with the plight and voice of the people the narrative objective ... There are also stories of the macabre that startle, and indeed are questionable from a journalistic point of view, but have fascinating echoes of magic realism making one wonder why a news editor wouldn’t flag them ... laced throughout these stories, Marquez writes with intimacy about his family and his most beloved home: Mexico City, as well as his wry and often hilarious encounters with many artists and writers everywhere his itinerant reporter’s soul would take him.
This ensnaring volume gathers 50 incisive and surprising articles and essays published from 1950 to 1984, a small yet mighty sampling of his extensive nonfiction corpus. Here is García Márquez’s mastery of storytelling and sardonic humor, as well as evidence of his embrace of the absurd and the inexplicable and his fluency in offering the telling detail ... García Márquez is discerning, mesmerizing, and provocative.
Long overdue, it provides a fairly representative slice of García Márquez’s journalistic output ... While it captures the geographical breadth of García Márquez’s journalistic work, the book makes some significant omissions that tend to downplay his radical politics. The result is to give us a somewhat truncated view of a writer who told an interviewer in 1978 that 'there is no act in my life which is not a political act' ... contains two later pieces devoted to Cuba, which retrospectively convey his enthusiasm for the carnival atmosphere of the revolution’s early stages as well as Márquez’s keen eye for detail ... It is striking that this period of heightened creativity and political activity gets so little space in The Scandal of the Century. Though the ’70s take up almost an entire volume of his collected journalism in Spanish and spill over into another one, here we are given only two pieces on Cuba ... Though lively and often entertaining, these tend to be slighter pieces and are much less politically engaged. Still, there are flashes of telling detail.
[Davis's] florid appreciation of the land and people can on occasion tip over into purpled gush ... Still, no traveller would deny the 'warmth and decency' he celebrates everywhere along his route. Colombia really is easy to love ... The great novelist’s fond homage to the Magdalena is one of the entertaining and well-crafted pieces in The Scandal of the Century, an entertaining and well-crafted selection of articles that “Gabo” the life-long journalist wrote between 1950 and 1984, contains his fond homage to the Magdalena ... Davis suffuses his reportage with a visionary tinge. But his subject more than warrants it ... torrential.
An eye-opening collection of articles that reveal Gabo the journalist ... Editor Pera confesses that he purposefully chose pieces that 'contain a latent narrative tension between journalism and literature' to showcase the author’s 'unstoppable narrative impulse' .... The text is elegantly translated by McLean, and García Márquez fans will welcome these fresh and lively examples of his beautiful, lyrical writing.
Even in short-form pieces, the Colombian Nobel laureate’s skill at creating character, mood, and setting shines through ... As with any collection, some selections are more successful than others, but all reflect García Márquez’s humor, graceful style, and ability to find the human interest in every topic.