July 30, 2021

Four unpublished stories of young Gabo | Culture

Four unpublished stories of young Gabo | Culture


The silence of a town in the interior of the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. The microcosm of Aracataca, the emotional impact caused by a place to which it returns, that raw material from which Macondo was born. "That was like looking at the illustrations of a book known in childhood," wrote Gabriel García Márquez in Story of the mint bars, an unpublished text that comes to light along with three other originals written between 1948 and 1952. The Bank of the Republic of Colombia has brought them together in The papers of Gabo, along with typed texts and manuscripts of the then young journalist.

"Maybe I had met them all and now they were watching me pass and they recognized me thinking 'see you, the dead man has returned.' And in a way, they were right." Thus the writer related a trip to his native town, Probably the second time he returned and the first time he did it alone The Nobel Prize for Literature picked up his feelings in that narration, presented at the García Márquez Festival in Medellín, where they also made themselves known Ancient smell, The drowned man who brought us snails and a story without title. These are writings, which will be exhibited at the Luis Ángel Arango Library in Bogotá, found in the 44 boxes donated to the library network of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia by the widow of the writer, Mercedes Barcha, and his son Gonzalo García Barcha .

Start of 'Story of the mint bars'

The story titled Story of the mint bars, one of the four unpublished texts written by Gabriel García Márquez between 1948 and 1952 that have just come to light, begins as follows:

"Finally stopped the whistling of the brakes. The wheel shod on the scorched rail and the oppressive, dusty silence of the town penetrated the car. It was a silence equal to the people, made of their own and desolate ingredients, of their straight, wide and empty streets, of their huge square courtyards, fresh under the penetrating humidity of the plane trees and their old wooden houses ruined under the dust with old furniture and dark women without age or foreboding lying in the sleep of nap. He was not more than 20 years old that silence, but his maturity, his devastating experience gave him a secular appearance and made it seem like a silence as old as the glow of dust in the streets or as the clarity of the mirrors that had lost the memory of the last faces. The feeling of death was in one. "

During the Bogotazo, the revolt that originated in 1948 in the Colombian capital after the assassination of the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, burns down the residence where García Márquez lived. The young law student, born in Aracataca in 1927, then settles in a mail truck and returns to the coast. In Cartagena de Indias, in the middle of the fight against the indigence, it begins to write like apprentice in the newspaper The universal. At that time, until 1952, the texts presented by Alberto Abello Vives, director of the Luis Ángel Arango Library, the researcher Sergio Sarmiento and Jaime Abello Banfi, general director of the Foundation for New Ibero-American Journalism (FNPI), read Story of the mint bars and influenced the importance of this collection. Garcia Barcha recalled that the novelist "put to break the folios that did not serve." "I think Gabo would have liked to be like Vermeer," he said in reference to the Dutch painter. "He would have liked nobody ever to know what the seams behind his paintings were."

However, for its value, some of those sketches are known today. The first is a story without title, which was going to integrate Tales of an imaginary traveler and finally it was eliminated from the series, it describes what happens in a town during a solar eclipse. From The drowned man who brought us snails the only fragments that García Márquez wrote are preserved. The novelist referred to that text in an article published in EL PAÍS in 1982. "For many years (…) I dreamed of writing a story of which I only had the title: The drowned man who brought us snails. I remember that I told Alvaro Cepeda Sumudio [escritor y periodista colombiano] in a fragrant night of Pilar Ternera's house of love, and he told me: 'That title is so good that you do not even have to write the story' … Almost forty years later I was surprised to see how accurate that replica was . Indeed, the image of the immense and soaked man who was to arrive at night with a handful of snails for the children remained forever in the attic of the unwritten stories. "

In Old Smell, Gabo begins to experiment with new influences, leaves the Kafkaesque style and approaches the Ernest Hemingway, explains Sergio Sarmiento. "Imagine a couple celebrating 50 years of marriage. The man is sitting in a room telling how he met her and the woman thinks that the man has to stop remembering … ". Until "he realizes that he married the wrong twin, he married the twin he hated and not the one he loved."

Gabriel García Márquez in 1972.
Gabriel García Márquez in 1972.

Story of the mint bars "Aracataca describes very briefly in a very hard way, it is a very personal version of fiction", continues the researcher. He speaks, for example, of a place where recently arrived migrants sold some products. "The dark warehouse of the Italians, where they sold integral boots for children and sardines for adults and peppermint bars for small and large and inside which smelled of stored bread and crude oil," García Márquez wrote. That place still resonates in the memory of the people. Those Italians, "he explained during a visit made on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of One hundred years of loneliness Rafael Darío Jiménez, head of the García Márquez house museum-traveled to the Colombian department of Magdalena and organized the first unions of the banana plantation of the United Fruit Company, whose slaughter has just commemorated the 90th anniversary. And they too, like everything else, populated that imaginary that gave life to Macondo.

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