Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s last novel raises important questions about posthumous agency

The big draw for the launch of the inaugural 2006 Hay Festival in Cartagena was Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia’s walled city-fortress was renowned as his home. The buzz was: Come to the festival where you’ll meet “Gabo”.

Led by Rosie Boycott and Christopher Hitchens, a posse of bookish thrill-seekers duly showed up to discover that the great writer was nowhere to be seen, still less spoken with. There were rumours, but no hard news. Perhaps he was visiting Castro (a fan); or on the road; or what? The festival came and went; Gabo remained as elusive as the hippogriff, but the fever was understandable.

Marquez, who died in 2014, remains a colossus, especially in Spain. One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) sold an astonishing 50 million copies and made its author a rock star.

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