Gabriel García Márquez in 1950s Paris

Gabriel García Márquez at Lit Hub:

When I arrived in Paris, I was nothing but a raw Caribbean. I am most grateful to that city, with which I have many old grudges, and many even older loves, for having given me a new and resolute perspective on Latin America. The vision of the whole, which we didn’t have in any of our countries, became very clear here around a safe table, and one ended up realizing that, in spite of being from different countries, we were all crew members of the same boat. It was possible to travel all around the continent and meet its writers, its artists, its disgraced or budding politicians, just by making rounds of the crowded cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Some didn’t arrive, as happened to me with Julio Cortázar—whom I already admired for the wonderful stories of Bestiario—and for whom I waited for almost a year in the Old Navy café, where someone had told me he often went. I finally met him fifteen years later, also in Paris, and he was still as I’d imagined him since long ago: the tallest man in the world, who never decided to grow old. The faithful copy of that unforgettable Latin American who, in one of his short stories, liked to walk through the misty dawns to go and watch the guillotine executions.

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