While reviewing the photographic archives left by Gabriel García Márquez, one of his granddaughters accidentally came across a mysterious plastic box that had the word “grandchildren” written on a label.
At first, Emilia García Elizondo, one of the writer’s granddaughters, was a little afraid to open the box, but then curiosity overcame her. The fortuitous discovery revealed to the world 150 unpublished letters that García Márquez received from the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, former President Bill Clinton, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and actor Robert Redford, among others.
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Forty of these letters will be exhibited starting Thursday, June 16 and for two months, in one of the rooms of the beautiful colonial house located in the south of the Mexican capital, where the writer lived with his wife Mercedes Barcha for decades until his death and which became the Gabriel García Márquez House of Literature.
The exhibition is part of the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the writer’s Nobel Prize, which will also include the exhibition “Gabriel García Márquez: The creation of a global writer”, which will open on Saturday, June 18 at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico. after passing through Austin, Texas.
“I am 32 years old and all that continues to impress me,” said García Elizondo, director of the García Márquez foundation, in an interview with The Associated Press when speaking of the impact of finding the box in a second-floor cabinet of his grandparents’ house. which he had passed in front of on multiple occasions.
The granddaughter indicated that the finding represented a surprise for her family because they thought that all of Gabo’s epistolary documents, as his admirers and loved ones told him, were already in the possession of The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Austin, Texas, which owns the largest collection in the world of writer’s documents.
“One never expects to find that kind of thing, although one already knows who Gabo is… I will always think that everything is made by Gabo like magic,” he added.
The exhibition of the letters occurs eight months after the sale of part of Gabo and his wife’s wardrobe, which included 400 pieces of clothing, footwear and other personal items, which was held in the house to bring his followers closer to the inner world From the writer.
“We miss him very much. That’s why we do these kinds of activities. We want to keep this house alive,” said Gonzalo García Barcha, the writer’s youngest son and Emilia’s father, when talking about the motivations that led the family to reopen Gabo’s residence to the public.
Among the letters that will be exhibited are five from Fidel Castro, one from Neruda, two from Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, two from Subcomandante Marcos, one from Colombian drug trafficker Fabio Ochoa Vásquez, one from actor Robert Redford, one from director Woody Allen, and seven from Clinton.
In one of them, dated December 28, 1999, Clinton recounted to the writer the emotion that he and his wife Hillary felt at the vallenato concert offered by a group of young people at the White House, and he confessed that “I read the beautiful words you wrote describing this treasure (the vallenato) of Colombia and I agree that they are a wonderful counterpoint to the negative images that are often associated with your beautiful country.”
Also included is a letter that Castro wrote by hand, dated December 10, 2007, in which he tells you that “I am subject to a rigorous exercise regimen that I must not fail to comply with if I intend to continue being useful to the revolution.”
García Barcha admitted that one of the letters that most captivated him to find was the one that Neruda sent to his father on June 22, 1972. “That letter must have made them happy and impressed. They (the writer and his wife) were great admirers of Neruda, ”confessed the son, remembering that Gabo spent his time reciting the verses of the Chilean poet.
Although there are more than 2,000 epistolary documents by García Márquez that have served to learn more about the writer’s creative process and his private life, García Barcha stated that his father was not very fond of writing letters and that he preferred telephone calls. “My mother always complained about our phone bills at home,” he recounted with a laugh.
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Unpublished letters sent to Gabo are released in Mexico