Title: News of a Kidnapping
Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Published in: 1996
My Rating: 4 on 5
After the disappointing attempt at reading Márquez’s popular book One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I found boring to say the least, I decided to give Márquez another try. It also fit right into the Seconds Challenge I had taken up this year. I was afraid I would find Love in the Time of Cholera unreadable, so I picked a drastically different book. News of a Kidnapping is a non-fiction book which records the kidnapping events that occurred in Columbia in the early 1990s.
Pablo Escobar, head of the drug cartel Medellín cartel, is threatened by the extradition law and takes to kidnapping key persons in order to pressurize the government to change the law. He kidnapped a total of nine people, one of them was a close friend of Márquez. When he was approached to write a book about her kidnapping, Márquez realized he cannot isolate the other eight abductions and decided to cover all the events in the book. The result is this well-researched book which is more like a journalistic report than a leisurely readable book.
The abductions leave a disturbing air around the reader. I could actually feel the stress and dread that the kidnappers lived in – they had no idea they would be alive the next day. The most disturbing part about the book was Marina’s death – the run upto the actual killing, the method of killing and how her body was mercilessly buried without identification left such an impression on me that I just couldn’t go on further. Márquez does a great job of etching out the characters in the political scene. He talks about the limitations and good points about all the important political characters which is interesting to read. You learn a thing or two about to convince or manipulate people, an art that I lack.
I admit I knew nothing about the drug problems that were rampant in Columbia. Neither did I know about the related abductions. Thanks to this book, I know a bit more about history. This is a very different book from all those I have read so far. I would not call this book enjoyable, but it definitely is thought provoking and it tugs at your heart emotionally. I do not think I would want to read more such books, but I am glad I read this one.
This book qualifies for 2nds Challenge 2011.