While some of Gabriel García Márquez's journalistic writings have been made available over the years, this is the first volume to gather a representative selection from across the first four decades of his career, years during which he worked as a full-time, often muckraking, and controversial journalist, even as he penned the fiction that would bring him the Nobel Prize in 1982.
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.