An Interview with Gabriel Gar da Marquez Translated from the Russian by Kalpana Sahni
G G Marquez I was once travelling to Geneva by train. It was a twelve hour journey. I had nothing to read except a copy ofOne Hundred Years of Solitude which I was taking for some friends. And so I began to read my own novel. 1 could not get through the entire book, but read about three or four chapters.
Question Did you like it?
GGM Frankly speaking, no. While writing it I was certain that it was the best book in the world. But when I read it on my way to Geneva I felt very ashamed. I realized that I did not have enough time to write it properly. All I did was to retell it.
Q It is the best work from amongst your earlier writings.
GGM I personally feel that No One Writes to the Colonel is better. Perhaps I am wrong but when I was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude on that journey I felt it was evident that the author did not take enough time to write it. I had to finish the book by a specified date because I had to pay for the care and then there was the six months^ house rent which was overdue. When I got down to the novel I estimated that six months would be enough to complete it. Instead, I wrote for eighteen months and at that time this seemed to me to be too long a period. With Autumn of the Patriarch it was completely different. I had seven years to finish the book so I could work in a relaxed manner. But the period during which One Hundred Years of Solitude was written was a difficult one and so I even went to the extent of removing the story of the life of two generations of the Buendia family. I am a very bad reader. As soon as I find something boring I throw the book aside. And the same thing happens when I write» The moment I feel that the
Journal of Arts and Ideas 31