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Independent but highly enjoyable: Gabriel García Márquez's latest novel

Ten years after the death of world-famous writer Gabriel García Márquez, the novel he was working on when he left life is published. We will meet in August is unfinished, but highly enjoyable.

Died in harness

He died in harness, Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. The concise novel We will meet in August was the book he was working on when he died, on 17 April 2004 at his residence in Mexico.

García Márquez became world-famous for his atmospheric, often magical-realist novels like One hundred years of lonelinessThe colonel never gets mailChronicle of a death foretold and Love in times of cholera. In 1982, he won the Nobel Prize for literature.

'Deliberate act of treason'

'Gabo', who suffered from dementia, found We will meet in August too bad to publish. But when his sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo reread it years later, they also saw its qualities. It is therefore a 'deliberate act of betrayal', they write in the preface, to publish it anyway - if the reader is happy with it, Gabo might grant them forgiveness.

We will meet in August consists of just a few chapters, revolving around Ana Magdalena Bach. Ana is a happily married woman in her second forties, wife of conservatory director Doménico, with whom she has two grown-up children.

Every year on 16 August, she visits the final resting place of her mother, who is buried on a Caribbean island. This follows a set ritual every year: the same ferry, the same taxi, the same hotel, the same flowers for the grave, the same boat back the next morning.

Until suddenly, out of the blue, Ana breaks out of that pattern and experiences a wild night with a strange man. From then on, Ana longs for that one day and night a year when she can step out of her skin and be someone else for one 24-hour period. Of course, this is not without consequences. Nor does the island stay the same. Not even her mother's grave.

Atmospheric and evocative

Gabo's latest book is an atmospheric, unfinished work. The psychology of the characters, their motivations and relationships, as well as the consequences of their actions, do remain (aside from a few genuine flaws) very sketchy. But suggestion is still a great tool in the hands of this writer, and many of his characterisations and descriptions are still apt and touching. So there is also much to enjoy. Rodrigo and Gonzalo can rest easy; that forgiveness will be fine.

Gabriel García Márquez, We will meet in August (128 p.)
Translated from the Spanish by Mariolein Sabarte Belacortu
Meulenhoff, € 20.99

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A Quattro Mani

Photographer Marc Brester and journalist Vivian de Gier can read and write with each other - literally. As partners in crime, they travel the world for various media, for reviews of the finest literature and personal interviews with the writers who matter. Ahead of the troops and beyond the delusion of the day.View Author posts

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