A Detective Story Turned Upside Down
Why did they not warn Santiago Nasar ?
Before I wrote Chronicle of a Death Foretold, / used to say my best novel was Nobody Writes to the Colonel. / wrote it nine times and it seemed the least vulnerable of my works to me.
But you think Chronicle. . . . isfeven better
In which sense ?
In the sense that I did exactly what I wanted to do with it This had never happened before. In my other books the story took over, the characters took on a life of their own and did whatever they fancied. That's one of the most extraordinary^ things about literary creations. . . .
But I felt I needed to write a book overwhich I could exercise strict control and I think I did it in Chronicle. . . . The theme demanded the precise structure of a detective story.
—_77^ Fragrance ofGuava (1983), Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza in conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
THIS, however, is not the first instance where Garcia Marquez had declared that Chronicle, is his best novel to date. 'It is my best novel, that which I have been able to master', declared Garcia Marquez in the Spanish daily ElPais, on 1 May 1981, in Mexico, three days after his sixth novel was published simultaneously in Bogota, Buenos Aires and Barcelona. One and a half million copies were brought out in Colombia, and one million in Argentina and Spain. A few weeks later a new print had to be published in Colombia. Before the end of 1981, Chronicle... had been translated into thirty-two languages. This type os success has no precedent in the history of publishing. We should perhaps remind ourselves that the Nobel Prize Award was then a year away, although he had already won the prestigious Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the Romulo Gallegos Prize in Venezuela, both in 1972. The enormous popularity of Garcia Marquez in the Spanish speaking world and specifically in his native country, Colombia, Journal of Arts and Ideas 7 7