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News of a Kidnapping (1996)

by Gabriel García Márquez

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,264425,891 (3.66)44
AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN eBOOK! In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar - head of the Medellín drug cartel - kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, García Márquez describes the survivors' perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, García Márquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.… (more)
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» See also 44 mentions

Spanish (21)  English (16)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
In this work of non-fiction published in 1996, Gabriel García Márquez describes the kidnappings and captivities of ten Colombian journalists abducted by a group called the “Extraditables.” They were a group of narcotraffickers led by Pablo Escobar. Escobar’s objective in ordering the kidnappings was to bully the Colombian government into banning extradition, which would mean they would be imprisoned in Colombia rather than face more severe penalties in other countries, particularly the United States.

The author portrays the responses of the hostages’ families and their actions to free them. He recounts the entire event in the context of Colombia's ongoing struggle to combat the illegal drug trade. The storyline focuses on the victims, the conditions they faced, and their thoughts, fears, and responses to captivity. There are many players, including President Gaviria, a high-profile priest, a family of drug trafficking brothers who turned themselves into authorities, and relatives of the victims, many of whom have connections to the government officials (one of the reasons they were taken hostage).

As the account unfolds, there are many people involved, and the author does an excellent job of describing the pressures and difficulties that must be overcome to ensure a workable plan. He depicts the anguish of the victims’ families as they try to influence the negotiations. García Márquez is a skilled writer who can weave together these complex elements into a cohesive whole. It almost felt like reading a historical fiction. Unfortunately, it was all too real, and the outcome was not positive for all involved.

I think the text could have benefited from the inclusion of a list of participants and their functions / relationships, as well as a timeline of events. But overall, this book provides an informative account of the perils of the drug trade and the relationship between the narcotraffickers and the Colombian government. Readers can learn a lot from this book, especially those outside Colombia.

It is based on interviews, news accounts, broadcast media, and diaries kept by the hostages. It is a partial glimpse of a harrowing period in Colombian history. Definitely worth reading. I read the English translation by Edith Grossman.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
A través de "Noticia de un secuestro", el gran Gabo retoma su nunca abandonada pasión: el periodismo. Relatos vividos, con el nivel de detalle que es su sello personal.
Marcela A. Medina
  DTHMumi | Jun 18, 2020 |
Se presenta una historia basada en hechos reales que fueron ocurridos en Colombia en 1990 sobre un dramático secuestro que vivieron diez personas (relacionadas con la política y el periodismo) de narcoterroristas, en una guerra encabezada por Pablo Escobar contra el Gobierno de César Garivia.
En la narración se indica que las personas secuestradas y los secuestradores recurren al ajedrez como un medio para evadir el encierro.
Se concluye como una obra recomendada para todos aquellos interesados en conocer la historia colombiana desde un punto de vista objetivo y grato.
  Mfontana | Jun 17, 2020 |
Se presenta una narración basada en hechos reales ocurridos en Colombia en 1990, sobre la experiencia de personas secuestradas por narcoterroristas.

Se expone con el relalo del escritor, periodista y Premio Nobel de Literatura Gabriel García Márquez, las vivencias de diez personas (políticos y periodistas) durante sus secuestros.

Se indica en el relato al ajedrez como uno de los medios de evasión de las víctimas para aliviar su confinamiento.

Se concluye como una obra de los dramáticos tiempos de la guerra narco entre Pablo Escobar y el gobierno democráticamente elegido de Cesar Gaviria.
  chrisfede | Jun 13, 2020 |
58. News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez
translation: 1997, by Edith Grossman
originally published: 1996
format: 391 page paperback
acquired: August
read: Oct 2-21
time reading: care of Bookly, I know it took me 9 hrs, 45 mins to read this. That's 2 pages a minutes, or 29.8 pages per hour
rating: 3

The next book on my Márquez list. I knew going in this wasn't an exciting book. Reviews complain it's long and boring. And, while the first 20 pages are gripping, it is a slow book. There is no effort to glorify and run the adrenaline (although there is some awful stuff). Márquez is patiently exploring the humans involved and watching how the story reveals some things about them and about Colombia.

This is a true story. As Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord and billionaire, looked to turn himself in apparently for protection, he needed leverage to protect himself from the government. So, he started kidnapping people connected to prominent people. And when kidnapping the daughter of an ex-president didn't work, he kidnapped more people. Ultimately ten in all, and several by accident because they happened to be with the target. Drivers or guards were merely killed on the spot.

Escobar is essentially looking for legal ransom. He doesn't want to be extradited to the United States where he would be put in a maximum security prison for life. But the book isn't about him. The typical American journalist would open this book with a thrilling depiction of some aspect of the drug business, or Escobar's life style and violence. Márquez barely touches him. We only see Escobar through his people, his lawyers and connections and the different crews running the different kidnappings. Instead Márquez focuses on the life of those kidnapped, and each experience is different. Hero Buss, a German photographer, essentially had an adventure, his first action upon release was to give a bystander a camera to take a picture, documenting the moment. Whereas Maruja Pachón never knew if she was about to be executed, or raped or entertained or left alone and for months on end, and spent her time trying to build useful relationships with her constantly changing captors. Two of those kidnapped were killed (as mentioned in the opening acknowledgements).

I can't say this is anything I would recommend to someone, unless they were really interested in circa-1990 Colombia and couldn't find a more engrossing book, or they wanted an alternate view of then Colombian president César Gaviria, who comes across as cold and calculating but also sincere. And I can't say I feel rewarded by the reading experience. But I never minded the book and I got some interesting things out of it, and, in way, I really appreciated the sort of respectful unheightened approach.

2018
https://www.librarything.com/topic/288371#6617691 ( )
  dchaikin | Nov 3, 2018 |
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Gabriel García Márquezprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grossman EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She looked over her shoulder before getting into the car to be sure no one was following her.
Antes de entrar en el automóvil miró por encima del hombro para estar segura de que nadie la acechaba.
(Hebrew)
לפני שנכנסה למכונית, הציצה אל מעבר לכתפה כדי לוודא שאיש אינו אורב לה. השכה היתה שבע וחמישה בערב, בבּוֹגוֹתָה.
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AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN eBOOK! In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar - head of the Medellín drug cartel - kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, García Márquez describes the survivors' perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, García Márquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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