An Interview with Gabriel García Márquez
By Gene H. Bell-Villada
The following chat with García Márquez took place in his home on Calle Fuego, in the Pedregal section of Mexico City. It was June 1982. His wife, Mercedes—as beautiful and as warmly engaging as rumors say—had opened the front door for me, smiled, and then pointed me toward the inside driveway. "There he is," she said. "There's García Márquez."
Curly-haired and compact (about 5'6"), García Márquez emerged from [his] car wearing blue one-piece overalls with a front zipper—his morning writing gear, as it turns out. At this point their son Gonzalo, a very Mexican twenty-year-old, showed up with a shy, taciturn girlfriend. The in-family banter grew lively. In contrast to Gonzalo's Mexican-inflected speech, the novelist's soft voice and dropped s's immediately recalled to me the Caribbean accent of the northern Colombian coast where he had been born and raised.
García Márquez and Gonzalo soon led me across the backyard to the novelist's office, a separate bungalow equipped with special acclimatization (the author still could not take the morning chill in Mexico City), thousands of stereo LPs, various encyclopedias and other reference books, paintings by Latin American artists, and, on the coffee table, a Rubik's Cube. The remaining furnishings included a simple desk and chair and a matched sofa and armchair set, where our interview was held over beers.
Global fame notwithstanding—García Márquez remains a gentle and unassuming, indeed an admirably balanced and normal sort of man. Throughout our conversation I found it easy to imagine him in the downtown café, sipping drinks with the TV repairman or trading stories with the taco makers. He loves to chat; were it not for the cautious screening process set up by his friends and family, he could easily spend his entire day talking instead of writing.
Read an excerpt from Gene Bell-Villada's conversation with García Márquez!
Excerpted from Gene Bell-Villada's, casebook on the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.