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A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes: A Son's Memoir of Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha

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The son of one of the greatest writers of our time—Nobel Prize winner and internationally bestselling icon Gabriel García Márquez—remembers his beloved father and mother in this tender memoir about love and loss. In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for mor The son of one of the greatest writers of our time—Nobel Prize winner and internationally bestselling icon Gabriel García Márquez—remembers his beloved father and mother in this tender memoir about love and loss. In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for more than fifty years, his wife Mercedes Barcha, was not hopeful; her husband, affectionately known as “Gabo,” was then nearly 87 and battling dementia. I don't think we'll get out of this one, she told their son Rodrigo.  Hearing his mother’s words, Rodrigo wondered, “Is this how the end begins?” To make sense of events as they unfolded, he began to write the story of García Márquez’s final days. The result is this intimate and honest account that not only contemplates his father’s mortality but reveals his remarkable humanity. Both an illuminating memoir and a heartbreaking work of reportage, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes transforms this towering genius from literary creator to protagonist, and paints a rich and revelatory portrait of a family coping with loss. At its center is a man at his most vulnerable, whose wry humor shines even as his lucidity wanes. Gabo savors affection and attention from those in his orbit, but wrestles with what he will lose—and what is already lost. Throughout his final journey is the charismatic Mercedes, his constant companion and the creative muse who was one of the foremost influences on Gabo’s life and his art. Bittersweet and insightful, surprising and powerful, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes celebrates the formidable legacy of Rodrigo’s parents, offering an unprecedented look at the private family life of a literary giant. It is at once a gift to Gabriel García Márquez’s readers worldwide, and a grand tribute from a writer who knew him well. 


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The son of one of the greatest writers of our time—Nobel Prize winner and internationally bestselling icon Gabriel García Márquez—remembers his beloved father and mother in this tender memoir about love and loss. In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for mor The son of one of the greatest writers of our time—Nobel Prize winner and internationally bestselling icon Gabriel García Márquez—remembers his beloved father and mother in this tender memoir about love and loss. In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for more than fifty years, his wife Mercedes Barcha, was not hopeful; her husband, affectionately known as “Gabo,” was then nearly 87 and battling dementia. I don't think we'll get out of this one, she told their son Rodrigo.  Hearing his mother’s words, Rodrigo wondered, “Is this how the end begins?” To make sense of events as they unfolded, he began to write the story of García Márquez’s final days. The result is this intimate and honest account that not only contemplates his father’s mortality but reveals his remarkable humanity. Both an illuminating memoir and a heartbreaking work of reportage, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes transforms this towering genius from literary creator to protagonist, and paints a rich and revelatory portrait of a family coping with loss. At its center is a man at his most vulnerable, whose wry humor shines even as his lucidity wanes. Gabo savors affection and attention from those in his orbit, but wrestles with what he will lose—and what is already lost. Throughout his final journey is the charismatic Mercedes, his constant companion and the creative muse who was one of the foremost influences on Gabo’s life and his art. Bittersweet and insightful, surprising and powerful, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes celebrates the formidable legacy of Rodrigo’s parents, offering an unprecedented look at the private family life of a literary giant. It is at once a gift to Gabriel García Márquez’s readers worldwide, and a grand tribute from a writer who knew him well. 

30 review for A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes: A Son's Memoir of Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Overdrive…Library audiobook written and read by Rodrigo Garcia ….2 hours and 16 minutes I was/AM soooooo MOVED by this AUDIOBOOK…. ….supplemented with the PDF text. The blurb describes this memoir magnificently!…. But it doesn’t come close to the experience when YOU listen to it!!! I was walking -peacefully alone on a quiet trail— when I just couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I sat down in the dirt (no problem when wearing schmatta clothes)… and CRIED… It’s one of the most Heartfelt (with a ca Overdrive…Library audiobook written and read by Rodrigo Garcia ….2 hours and 16 minutes I was/AM soooooo MOVED by this AUDIOBOOK…. ….supplemented with the PDF text. The blurb describes this memoir magnificently!…. But it doesn’t come close to the experience when YOU listen to it!!! I was walking -peacefully alone on a quiet trail— when I just couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. I sat down in the dirt (no problem when wearing schmatta clothes)… and CRIED… It’s one of the most Heartfelt (with a capital *H*), beautiful, powerful, affecting, memorable memoirs…. about love and grief…. about an inspiring family… about a little inside history of a famous-giant-of-anauthor… about a man who never lost his sense of humor even during advanced stages of dementia… about dying about INCREDIBLE INSIGHTS & WISDOM referencing a strong FAMILY unit… and about YOURSELF!!!! and a gorgeous tribute to the literary genius *Gabriel Garcia Marquez*! Sooooo beautiful & touching!! I just can’t say it enough!!! I want to listen to it again (before the library snatches it back)…most preferably with Paul (while outside in nature)… “Death has order and no order…. has logic and nonsense…. It’s inevitable and acceptable.” POWERHOUSE - thought-provoking sentence: ⬇️ “Most things worth knowing, are still learned at home”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    It’s a dizzying sensation to know the destiny of a human being. I should know. But may not. Because no matter how well one prepares to say goodbye to a parent, seeing him/ her inching closer to that sunset with every passing day, warped in time slipping dangerous away , it isn’t enough. And so it wasn’t for Rodrigo Garcia as well. For Rodrigo, the last few months of watching his father, battle cancer and slip into dementia, turning a pale shadow of the gregarious, expansive and prodigious per It’s a dizzying sensation to know the destiny of a human being. I should know. But may not. Because no matter how well one prepares to say goodbye to a parent, seeing him/ her inching closer to that sunset with every passing day, warped in time slipping dangerous away , it isn’t enough. And so it wasn’t for Rodrigo Garcia as well. For Rodrigo, the last few months of watching his father, battle cancer and slip into dementia, turning a pale shadow of the gregarious, expansive and prodigious person that he once was, was numbing. But his book doesn’t circle around this numbing as focal point; it does the opposite. When the light is about go away, it shines brightest for a brief period one last time, under which (almost) everything becomes clearer. Rodrigo’s book settles near this light and is strangely comforting. This memoir brought to fore, the various facets of Gabo – the Father, The Husband, The Author, The Man – and gave an insider’s account on how they all added to his personality. His quirks as growing up (he ate from shoes so to keep his siblings from poaching his food), his rummaging garbage bins to scourge food, the controversial writing of his teen years, his first moustache at 17 that never left him (even after his chemo), his surrender to vallenato after visiting the altars of chamber music and pop ballads, his flirty one-liners to the nurses attending him – they all, somehow, painted a picture of a man for me who never yielded ground to obscene demands of the world. He lived on his own terms, stuck to his stories when they were rejected by leading production houses, continued to pen in his native language while letting the world enter him, appreciated art without sanitizing its source, smothered his senses with words from dictionaries sans any intent to intimidate anyone. In narrating the final months of Gabo, Rodrigo also underlines the banes and blessings that come with being a maestro’s son. It was heart-breaking to read about the way the family took to the garage at the back to move Gabo through to home, with a white sheet pulled up as a screen to avoid media glare and how upon his death, they had to put all the phones and friends on check to not let the news slip before his granddaughters had landed so they didn’t have to hear it from someone else. It was also, however, heart-warming to know of the numerous people who turned up for his funeral and memorial, besides the fans across the world who sent in letters and tributes which, as Rodrigo writes, nourished his soul. I have always felt that two people who love each other, should depart together; they become different people if left behind. Mercedes Barcha didn’t want to be someone else – she was so majestic, fierce, generous and warm that she wouldn’t have loved any other avatar of herself. So, she entertained her late husband’s admirers, including two presidents, joked with family members, kept smoking with panache and joined her husband just six years later. A tiny break of six years to continue the saga of fifty-seven years. The death of a second parent is like looking through a telescope one night and no longer finding a planet that has always been there. It has vanished, with its religion, its customs, its own peculiar habits and rituals, big and small. The echo remains. Yes. The echo remains. Manifested in something mellifluous and stimulating, in my world. And I am certain in many others too. -- Also on my website.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chythan

    " What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it" - Marquez A beautiful memoir of Gabo's final days when he battled with dementia. A poignant chronicle of love and loss. Rodrigo remembers the early days when Gabo realises that his mind his slowly slipping away. Gabo would say, " I work with my memory. Memory is my tool and my raw material. I cannot work without it. Help me". This broke my heart. What do you do with the cornucopia of stories within " What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it" - Marquez A beautiful memoir of Gabo's final days when he battled with dementia. A poignant chronicle of love and loss. Rodrigo remembers the early days when Gabo realises that his mind his slowly slipping away. Gabo would say, " I work with my memory. Memory is my tool and my raw material. I cannot work without it. Help me". This broke my heart. What do you do with the cornucopia of stories within you as the binding yarn of memory begins to dwindle? Even before starting reading, I had an intuitive feeling that this book would leave me moved and heavy-hearted. Rodrigo Garcia's writing is impressive. He has inherited his father's flair for recollecting things beautifully.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ajay P.

    An emotional documentation of the last days of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Sentimental, valuable. Readers of Marquez will find this small book precious because of its sincerity and brevity.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    This book is beautifully written and laid out. The text describes the last days of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the support his family received from the community of relatives, friends, acquaintances and mourners from around the globe. The author’s mother passed away not long after this, and with Covid restrictions, the family could not be there for her. Rodrigo Garcia’s thoughts, like many after the passing of parents, are on their young lives, how they adjusted to the world where their lives took This book is beautifully written and laid out. The text describes the last days of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the support his family received from the community of relatives, friends, acquaintances and mourners from around the globe. The author’s mother passed away not long after this, and with Covid restrictions, the family could not be there for her. Rodrigo Garcia’s thoughts, like many after the passing of parents, are on their young lives, how they adjusted to the world where their lives took them and all the questions he should have asked. He recalls everyday conversation and events and sees new significance in remembered comments. The reader gets a glimpse of the writer’s daily life. You see how celebrity affected that life, its death and its afterlife. Kudos to the book designer. The cover, the font, layout and and graphic for the part pages are all tasteful and support the tone of the text. The book concludes with b & w photos. They are garden variety family snaps and are just what you want to see. I particularly appreciated Gabo at 14; Mercedes at 17; the study; generational family portrait and “Gabo leaves home”. While the book is short, it says all that needs to be said. Thank you, Rodrigo Garcia, for sharing this. Your father was truly a citizen of the world and many in this world mourn his passing and will appreciate your taking the time to tell about your father.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    If you ever in your life thought you wanted to be famous, or wanted to be related to someone who is famous, this fine memoir from the son of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Marquez will cure you of that desire. The man whose art gave so much to the world, and was deprived of so much in the last years of his life through dementia, had his final days robbed of what every family deserves: privacy for his loved ones to come to terms with his death, to come together and grieve. His son Rodrigo, a noted If you ever in your life thought you wanted to be famous, or wanted to be related to someone who is famous, this fine memoir from the son of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Marquez will cure you of that desire. The man whose art gave so much to the world, and was deprived of so much in the last years of his life through dementia, had his final days robbed of what every family deserves: privacy for his loved ones to come to terms with his death, to come together and grieve. His son Rodrigo, a noted television and film writer and director reports, rather than dwells on, the hell that is other people. He leaves it to the reader to judge the macabre interest of tabloid journalists and their many readers and how that complicated their grief: They couldn’t simply return the hospital bed Gabo died in, because of the certainty it would become a fetish. When the author was discharged from the hospital for the last time and the discharge papers fell from his son’s pocket, they were on the front page of a tabloid within hours. Instead, Rodrigo Garcia focuses mostly on sweet memories and present-day ironies that both of his extraordinary parents find - or would have found- hilarious or poignant. He offers unique insight into what life is like after someone wins a Nobel Prize at a relatively early age, intent on staying a writer absorbed in the art of writing rather than on being famous. He shows how it was to grow up knowing he would need to find his particular identity in a world that worshipped his father as a god, as they didn't know, rather than the way this loving, articulate son loved the man who taught him how to dry his back. And will always love him for that, and in a thousand other ways. The last third of the book contains photographs that will never appear in any magazine, completing the intimacy of the portrait offered here. They range from the day the Nobel was announced to a few years before Garcia Marquez' death, when the dementia had begun to subtly blur his gaze. The love story between Gabo and Mercedes, every bit as remarkable as the one fictionalized between the laureate's parents in Amor en los tiempos del colera but kept entirely private, shows in a glance here, a kiss on the hand there. Some were made by the author and show the experience of his cinematic gaze, the choice of a quietly dramatic moment that brings the most tears of any in this slim volume. This is a human, self-aware story from an accomplished storyteller. The person who comes through the text is one who absorbed his parents' key advice - "No seas chueco" (don't be a jerk is one translation, though it doesn't quite capture the be-a-straight-shooter undertone). Garcia is thoughtful about why he is unsparing in these intimate details, why now, why him, and why this is something his parents would understand and support him doing. Readers can only be grateful for the gift.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    4.5 stars Read and weep.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    I refuse to read any of the books I am supposed to be reading and instead will only read little memoirs about grief for a treat. This one was Especially unflinching about death and also made me wish that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was my grandpa. Not that I didn’t love my grandpa

  9. 5 out of 5

    Toria (some what in hiatus)

    This is a memoir from the son of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, very emotional look on life, death and greif. Was more interested in reading about the later as I didn't knew much about the Nobel prize winner or his family before hand. It was a very touching story and I'm glad I've read it This is a memoir from the son of the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, very emotional look on life, death and greif. Was more interested in reading about the later as I didn't knew much about the Nobel prize winner or his family before hand. It was a very touching story and I'm glad I've read it

  10. 4 out of 5

    LAPL Reads

    Gabriel Marquez Garcia was one of the giants among modern writers and his books place him in the pantheon of writers throughout the ages. In 1982 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Not only is he significant in the world of Spanish language writers, he is beloved and respected internationally, and his books have been widely translated. In many of his books he is known for his seamless incorporation of magical realism, which was part of his grandmother's origins in Colombia, and became Gabriel Marquez Garcia was one of the giants among modern writers and his books place him in the pantheon of writers throughout the ages. In 1982 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Not only is he significant in the world of Spanish language writers, he is beloved and respected internationally, and his books have been widely translated. In many of his books he is known for his seamless incorporation of magical realism, which was part of his grandmother's origins in Colombia, and became a literary technique for truthfulness, especially in One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was a prolific, innovative and captivating storyteller, who wrote in different forms: novels, short stories, essays and journalism, with a lyrical writing style that was poetic, clear and direct. When he died in 2014, he was eulogized as the greatest Colombian ever. In this memoir, written by one of his sons, we are allowed into a small part of the personal world of Gabo, as he was affectionately known and Mercedes, his wife. It is a narrative about the great writer's final days and about the last years of his life when he was suffering from dementia. In the early onset of the disease, Gabo was aware of his memory loss which angered him. As he dealt with aging, “You wake up one day and you’re old. Just like that, with no warning. It’s stunning,” he did so with his ever-failing memory. This man, for whom words, ideas, and plots flowed, was hobbled with severe memory loss. His son states, "The mind of a man who observed, absorbed, remembered, reflected, and analyzed the world around him, no longer had that ability and was aware of it, “I work with my memory. Memory is my tool and my raw material. I cannot work without it. Help me.” He would repeat those thoughts many times in an hour for a good part of the day. But this eventually stopped and he would say, “I’m losing my memory, but fortunately I forget that I’m losing it." " With the death of anyone’s parents, relatives or friends, there are matters that need to be taken care of, but when someone famous dies, there are extra burdens and responsibilities that come with the territory, not the least of which is the media. We learn what it is like to be “the son of …” His mother was aware of the pitfalls and issues with notoriety and did her best to avoid publicity. His father was keenly aware of the burden on his sons for having a father who was so well known, and he worried that his sons’ works would be compared to his own. And death did not relieve the family from that extra weight. There were some definite plans that the family was able to accomplish for a private service and ceremony, but other public services could not be avoided and came with some odd and often humorous repercussions. This is a remembrance about both parents, Gabo, and Mercedes, who had a persona and presence that was commanding and compelling. “My father said many times that she was the most surprising person he ever met.” The two of them were school mates and destined to be together, but never could have envisioned what their future life would be like. Even though there is nothing revelatory in this book, because his mother was a private person, this loving memoir was published after her death. It is poignant, beautiful, perceptive and laced with some of the humor and mischief that his father would have appreciated. Reviewed by Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vanya

    How do I write about my favourite writer’s last days? Is it okay to say that a book on the topic made me smile? That even when he was ailing, Gabo gave me joy. Does it even make sense? To you, it may not. To me, it does. Perfectly. A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes is written by Marquez’s son, Rodrigo Garcia. Garcia started writing the book at a time when he felt that his father wouldn’t fully recover from his bout of illnesses, when the end looked near and unfortunately, final. He saw his father c How do I write about my favourite writer’s last days? Is it okay to say that a book on the topic made me smile? That even when he was ailing, Gabo gave me joy. Does it even make sense? To you, it may not. To me, it does. Perfectly. A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes is written by Marquez’s son, Rodrigo Garcia. Garcia started writing the book at a time when he felt that his father wouldn’t fully recover from his bout of illnesses, when the end looked near and unfortunately, final. He saw his father coping with dementia, every day losing a battle that perhaps weighed on him the most. He, who was know for his unbelievably sharp memory. He saw his mother, Mercedes, accept what was to come with a finality and remove that only she was capable of. She, who loved him like only she could have. He chronicles what the hospital visits are like once news spreads that Marquez is admitted in the hospital. There are hordes of fans who wait outside for hours for a glimpse of their idol. To think that a writer, someone who, if you put it crudely, scribbles things on paper, could garner a following equivalent to that of a movie star! Words are never mere words, I realise, for the millionth time, as I tearfully read this homage to a man whose words I am irrevocably in love with.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deb Spera

    A quiet, lyrical book, Rodrigo paints a vivid picture of the last years with his father and mother and what it was like to share his father with the world. Filled with humor and mysticism and poetry, this book is not to be missed. Each section is marked with a beautiful passage from his father's works. But the real joy here, is Rodrigo's writing which captures so eloquently the love and compassion a son has for his family. Regardless of whether or not you know Gabriel Garcia-Márquez's work, I hi A quiet, lyrical book, Rodrigo paints a vivid picture of the last years with his father and mother and what it was like to share his father with the world. Filled with humor and mysticism and poetry, this book is not to be missed. Each section is marked with a beautiful passage from his father's works. But the real joy here, is Rodrigo's writing which captures so eloquently the love and compassion a son has for his family. Regardless of whether or not you know Gabriel Garcia-Márquez's work, I highly recommend.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anant Upadhyay

    Wept

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mercedé Khodadadi مرسده خدادادی

    Wish he had written more about his dad (and his mum). The book was too short for memoirs of a person like Marquez's son. Wish he had written more about his dad (and his mum). The book was too short for memoirs of a person like Marquez's son.

  15. 5 out of 5

    phillip

    Thanks Andy for recommending me this book. It has been an emotional tug-of-war while reading this; I couldn’t help but tear up one time and hold up a chuckle the next. It’s a relief hearing Gabo’s humor being reflected through his son and his entire family. The piece is a farewell dedicated to both Gabo and Mercedes’ passing but Mercedes’ was only talked about in the little section at the end of the book. I wish I could read more about her because I couldn’t help picturing Ursula whenever she’s Thanks Andy for recommending me this book. It has been an emotional tug-of-war while reading this; I couldn’t help but tear up one time and hold up a chuckle the next. It’s a relief hearing Gabo’s humor being reflected through his son and his entire family. The piece is a farewell dedicated to both Gabo and Mercedes’ passing but Mercedes’ was only talked about in the little section at the end of the book. I wish I could read more about her because I couldn’t help picturing Ursula whenever she’s mentioned, I sense a lot of parallels between the two, and Ursula’s always been a favorite character of mine. Speaking of parallels, same with Rodrigo, I can’t wait to share that part about a bird dying inside Gabo’s home during his death day, mirroring an event in the novel on Ursula’s death. Overall, I love this book. It’s made my affection towards Gabo even stronger. It’s hard to read accounts leading up to his death but the guy has lived a full life and died with upmost dignity. If I have known him then, I’d certainly be among those who’ve mourned.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lavelle

    How do you deal with the passing of a loved one, especially when they're the world renown and celebrated writer, Gabriel García Márquez? In A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, Rodrigo García recounts his parents’ deaths, and pays tribute to their loving relationship. García writes with such beautiful, affective simplicity about coping with Márquez’s worsening dementia and eventual pneumonia, further complicated by the lack of privacy around the family because of his fame and status. It's a uniquely How do you deal with the passing of a loved one, especially when they're the world renown and celebrated writer, Gabriel García Márquez? In A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, Rodrigo García recounts his parents’ deaths, and pays tribute to their loving relationship. García writes with such beautiful, affective simplicity about coping with Márquez’s worsening dementia and eventual pneumonia, further complicated by the lack of privacy around the family because of his fame and status. It's a uniquely difficult situation, having to share your loss and grief with the public, but the family handles it with remarkable poise, grace, and generosity. García also recounts his mother’s passing during COVID-19, which kept him from seeing her during her last days. “I once asked him after a turbulent nap what he was dreaming…‘It’s a beautiful day and I am in a canoe without oars, drifting very slowly, peacefully, down a placid river.’”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim N

    No director, writer, poet--no painting or song--has exerted much influence on me compared to my parents, my brother, my wife, my daughters. Most things worth knowing are still learned at home. A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes is Rodrigo Garcia’s beautiful and moving tribute to his parents. An intimate and intensely personal story told with simplicity, eloquence and great tenderness. Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in 2014 but knowing how private a person his mother was, Rodrigo acknowledged early on t No director, writer, poet--no painting or song--has exerted much influence on me compared to my parents, my brother, my wife, my daughters. Most things worth knowing are still learned at home. A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes is Rodrigo Garcia’s beautiful and moving tribute to his parents. An intimate and intensely personal story told with simplicity, eloquence and great tenderness. Gabriel Garcia Marquez died in 2014 but knowing how private a person his mother was, Rodrigo acknowledged early on that the memoir could only be published after her death, when she would be unable to read his words. (She died in August 2020). I was stuck by his perceptiveness and relived many of my own thoughts and emotions on losing my parents many years ago. In this brief and compelling account, I came to know Gabo and Mercedes--not just who they were (a celebrated author and his wife), but also as individuals beloved in a close-knit family. Highly recommended

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The author, Rodrigo Garcia, narrated this book. It felt like l he became more comfortable narrating as he got deeper into the memoir. This reflected the content he was sharing and worked well. The author is the son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize winning author of One Hundred YEars of Solitude. This memoir documents the last days of his father. It's told in a journalistic fashion that makes the process of dying and grieving that much more stark. It's universal that we lose those we lov The author, Rodrigo Garcia, narrated this book. It felt like l he became more comfortable narrating as he got deeper into the memoir. This reflected the content he was sharing and worked well. The author is the son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize winning author of One Hundred YEars of Solitude. This memoir documents the last days of his father. It's told in a journalistic fashion that makes the process of dying and grieving that much more stark. It's universal that we lose those we love and reflect on the meaning and journey. I am honored to have listened to this son's efforts to make sense of his part in this journey. The content was vulnerable and relatable. Thanks to the Harper Audio for a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Takwa Gweegat

    I was wary about this book. I worried that a writer's son is not necessarily a writer as well, and that if he weren't a good writer then he might ruin his father's image for me. But he was great! The writing was smooth and honest. Short and raw sentences. Great storytelling a la colombiana. Rodrigo shared details about his family but he did it in the most elegant yet dignified way. I'm sure that Mercedes would be fine with the book if she got to read it. I listened to the audiobook but it's a bo I was wary about this book. I worried that a writer's son is not necessarily a writer as well, and that if he weren't a good writer then he might ruin his father's image for me. But he was great! The writing was smooth and honest. Short and raw sentences. Great storytelling a la colombiana. Rodrigo shared details about his family but he did it in the most elegant yet dignified way. I'm sure that Mercedes would be fine with the book if she got to read it. I listened to the audiobook but it's a book that I am going to buy because it is a love letter to the Gabo that shaped my life as a reader and as a translator (I learned Spanish and became an interpreter because of him). Gabo touched so many lives and this farewell did him justice. Thanks Rodrigo.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rahul Mohan

    Somewhere in between, I forgot the fact that the memoir was about Marquez & Mercedes. The son's perspective is very personal and quite universal too. You don't need to experience the loss of a loved one to relate to this writing. The book can evoke such strong emotions and deep thoughts in anyone who has been or is part of a wonderful relationship or a close knit family. A very personal book for me, not for whom it's about but the emotions it evoked. Somewhere in between, I forgot the fact that the memoir was about Marquez & Mercedes. The son's perspective is very personal and quite universal too. You don't need to experience the loss of a loved one to relate to this writing. The book can evoke such strong emotions and deep thoughts in anyone who has been or is part of a wonderful relationship or a close knit family. A very personal book for me, not for whom it's about but the emotions it evoked.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Asen

    Theres not much to this book, but what there is is terrific. I did some reliving of my own dad's loss but frankly I wish I had written it down. Rodrigo will be very happy he recorded his observations and feelings as these things are hard to hold onto. Great book. Theres not much to this book, but what there is is terrific. I did some reliving of my own dad's loss but frankly I wish I had written it down. Rodrigo will be very happy he recorded his observations and feelings as these things are hard to hold onto. Great book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Britton

    Listened to this whole audiobook running errands and walking through a park earlier today. I cried multiple times, but most embarrassingly I cried putting yerba mates into my cart at HEB. “Shortly after the news of my father’s death is made public, his secretary receives an email from a friend she hasn’t talked to in a long time. The friend wanted to know if we were aware that Úrsula Iguarán, one of his most famous characters, also died on a Good Thursday. She has included the passage from his no Listened to this whole audiobook running errands and walking through a park earlier today. I cried multiple times, but most embarrassingly I cried putting yerba mates into my cart at HEB. “Shortly after the news of my father’s death is made public, his secretary receives an email from a friend she hasn’t talked to in a long time. The friend wanted to know if we were aware that Úrsula Iguarán, one of his most famous characters, also died on a Good Thursday. She has included the passage from his novel in her email, and in rereading it, my dad’s secretary discovers that after Úrsula’s death, disoriented birds flew into walls and fell dead on the ground. She reads it out loud, clearly thinking about the dead bird earlier in the day. She looks at me, perhaps hoping I am foolish enough to venture an opinion the coincidence. All I know is that I can’t wait to retell it.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hari

    This book came today and I finished reading it in one sitting, not just because it is a small book but also because I thought it deserved to be read in one go. It’s a book of memories, not an obituary, but it felt like one and an extremely personal one too. Rodrigo Garcia is extremely aware of the thin line he has to tread while writing about the days leading to and after the death of one of the greatest literary geniuses of his century, albeit it’s his father. He knows that ‘whatever he writes This book came today and I finished reading it in one sitting, not just because it is a small book but also because I thought it deserved to be read in one go. It’s a book of memories, not an obituary, but it felt like one and an extremely personal one too. Rodrigo Garcia is extremely aware of the thin line he has to tread while writing about the days leading to and after the death of one of the greatest literary geniuses of his century, albeit it’s his father. He knows that ‘whatever he writes concerning his last days can easily find publication, regardless of its quality’. It was always a given that the death of Marquez would be a public affair and that will be something which the famously private family would have trouble dealing with. However there is one scene which Rodrigo mentions which gives us an insight of how well respected and loved the couple were. On the days leading to Marquez’s demise, there were people always waiting outside his house. The family used to get in and out by a garage gate which was a bit more private. However, on this day that gate was stuck and Mercedes Barcha, Marquez’s wife, had to use the more public front door. ‘As she stepped out of the car, the street fell dead silent in a spontaneous and remarkable show of respect’. Marquez’s work is not alien to death, misery and darkness. In fact a lot of his books deal with sombre themes. But for someone who writes long winding pages about seemingly trivial stuff, he always wrote death in his stories in sudden and inconspicuous passages; probably like death itself. In one Hundred years of Solitude, he talks a lot about how Jose Arcadio Buendia (the patriarch) was going about during his final days, but then you might miss the sentence which spoke about his death if you were skimming through the novel. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the story starts with the death of the character and in the novella everything except the death is meticulously explained. Rodrigo remembers asking his eighty year old father how it’s like being eighty. Marquez replies that he feels that the end is near, and that it makes him immensely sad. While Marquez was researching for his memoir, he found that quite a lot of his friends have died in the recent years and he jokes that, “A lot of people are dying that weren’t dying before.” I remember sitting in a railway station and reading an article about Marquez’s dementia and how he has a tough time acknowledging that. For him his memories are his raw materials and without them he has nothing to write. There are passages in this book about how he was coming to terms to this cruel truth. At one point he mentions, “I’m losing my memory, but fortunately I forget that I’m losing it”. Another time when his secretary asks him why is he standing alone in the middle of the garden lost in thought he says, “I’m crying but without tears. Don’t you realise that my head is now shit?”. There is this anecdote about how during Marquez’s memorial the Mexican President mentioned about Mercedes as the widow, which pissed her off. She tells her sons that “I am not a widow. I am me”, and that she would tell the first available journalist that she is planning to re-marry as soon as possible. The books paint a beautiful picture of not just Marquez but Mercedes and how independent and feisty she was, how she loved her life and how strong her opinions were. Watching the never ending line of mourners who had come to pay their respect at the memorial, Rodrigo realises that the author belongs not just to the family but also to many many fans (whom his father might have called ‘readers’ and not fans). He is aware that his parents would not have wanted their personal stories to be published. He mentions that he would not be publishing the book until his mother would not be able to read it. Mercedes died in August 2020, the year which Rodrigo calls the year of the plague. As the title suggests this book is not just a farewell to Marquez but to Mercedes too, and in many ways for a son and to most people who knew Marquez and Mercedes, there was no way of telling their story apart, in life and in death. P.S.:- I always thought a well shot movie is one that which you can pause at any moment and the resultant still image is a well framed photograph. The same goes for a well written book. You open the book and read any random passage and it should be beautiful in itself; and here’s what I found when I opened One Hundred Years of Solitude: “That night, at dinner, the supposed Aureliano Segundo broke his bread with his right hand and drank his soup with his left. His twin brother, the supposed Jose Arcadio Segundo, broke his bread with his left hand and drank his soup with his right. So precise was their coordination that they did not look like two brothers sitting opposite each other but like a trick with mirrors.”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    The setting is in Mexico City, Garcia Marquez's home (albeit he was born in Colombia), as told in a reminiscence by the Nobel Laureate's elder son Rodrigo Garcia. The last pages are family photographs from diverse stages of their lives and a bibliography of his father's published work. There are some memorable quotes; though I marveled at them as 'las frases encantadoras,' I did not interrupt the text to jot them down. Garcia describes the home atmosphere as private, with his mother Mercedes as The setting is in Mexico City, Garcia Marquez's home (albeit he was born in Colombia), as told in a reminiscence by the Nobel Laureate's elder son Rodrigo Garcia. The last pages are family photographs from diverse stages of their lives and a bibliography of his father's published work. There are some memorable quotes; though I marveled at them as 'las frases encantadoras,' I did not interrupt the text to jot them down. Garcia describes the home atmosphere as private, with his mother Mercedes as a powerful influence. Of course, the complement to that description is the renown Garcia-Marquez enjoyed in life and death by people in high and low walks of life, a large contingent who visited with condolences. Likewise, the extended family also returned from an array of international countries. A final note of interest was Garcia's description of the death announcement to an obscure news outlet that quickly proliferated, inundating the media channels, a process that the grieving family expected. This warm, personal remembrance of a renowned father and mother by their son contrasts with scholarly writing about the great author. Nevertheless, it makes Garcia-Marquez even more accessible.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I listened to this short memoir over the course of two afternoon walks. This is a story of someone else's family and their journey through the loss of their parents but the listener/reader will automatically transport themselves into the dynamics of their own family journey. I had no expectations for this book but maybe that is best. Happy that I had to time to listen and reflect on my family as they embraced the power of grief and the related reliance on memories that were the foundation of lif I listened to this short memoir over the course of two afternoon walks. This is a story of someone else's family and their journey through the loss of their parents but the listener/reader will automatically transport themselves into the dynamics of their own family journey. I had no expectations for this book but maybe that is best. Happy that I had to time to listen and reflect on my family as they embraced the power of grief and the related reliance on memories that were the foundation of life and death, values and traditions and most importantly, moving forward in life. Free audiobook from WSJ+

  26. 4 out of 5

    nadiaizzaty

    #nadianiabookreview For me , the way Rodrigo’s writing it seem like reading a diary . Such a beautiful way Rodrigo’s told the story of his family - love and loss of his beloved parents . The moment of Gabo and Mercedes died , it was really painful for me to read . Rodrigo don’t even get a chance to be at their side at the very last breath. “ it already feels like days have gone by since my father died . I feel numb . My mind tries several different avenues - sadness , memories , logic - they all #nadianiabookreview For me , the way Rodrigo’s writing it seem like reading a diary . Such a beautiful way Rodrigo’s told the story of his family - love and loss of his beloved parents . The moment of Gabo and Mercedes died , it was really painful for me to read . Rodrigo don’t even get a chance to be at their side at the very last breath. “ it already feels like days have gone by since my father died . I feel numb . My mind tries several different avenues - sadness , memories , logic - they all meet shallow dead end . “ 😢 “Unable to travel ( due to covid-19 travel restrictions) , I saw her alive for the last time on the cracked screen of my phone, and again five minutes later, gone forever. Two brief live videos, separated by eternity, from which my capacity for storytelling has yet to recuperate.” 😢 At some way , quite great to know that Gabo and Mercedes raise the family and taught their children which give such a huge impact for them as a great momentum towards their lives and beautiful memories. “ No director , write , poet - no painting or song- has exerted much influence on me compared to me parents , my brother , my wife , my daughters . Most things worth knowing are still learned at home .” Indeed, I agree with this one . Everything start at home . 👍 Rodrigo also included some of their photos and the chronology of all Gabo novels until the last novel that he could not finished due to Dementia. Some other points through this memoir that I found very interesting about writing are : ▪️through writing it can / may heal the feelings of sickness . ▪️through writing it can / may turn sadness into hope and gratefulness . “Writing about the death of loved ones must be about as old as writing itself, and yet the inclination to do it instantly ties me up in knots,” - Rodrigo Garcia Nevertheless, this is a light memoir and beautifully written . Thank you to @putrifariza and @times.reads for the book in return with an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alejandra Martinez

    “In the back of my mind is the preoccupation that perhaps I didn’t know them well enough.” I’m naturally curious. When I was younger this was seen as a bad thing. I would get in trouble for asking “adult questions” or being chismosa. It was seen as disrespectful and inappropriate. As I grew older I chose to lean on my curiosity and it became my forte. It’s led me to my career in journalism. I’ve only lately began analyzing what I was really searching for when I would asked my parents intimate qu “In the back of my mind is the preoccupation that perhaps I didn’t know them well enough.” I’m naturally curious. When I was younger this was seen as a bad thing. I would get in trouble for asking “adult questions” or being chismosa. It was seen as disrespectful and inappropriate. As I grew older I chose to lean on my curiosity and it became my forte. It’s led me to my career in journalism. I’ve only lately began analyzing what I was really searching for when I would asked my parents intimate questions. I couldn’t help but feel that this book by Gabriel García Márquez’s son gave me part of my answer. This books is a beautiful memoir and tribute to Rodrigo Garcia’s parents. He wrote to make sense of Gabo’s last days and in it he contemplates on the life lessons he learned from his father and mother. Nearing the end, Rodrigo struggles with how little he feels he really knew about his father. I empathized with his fear and sadness. A way I hope to carry my multicultural heritage forward is by retelling the stories of my parents and not knowing enough of their truth terrifies me. For years I’ve said I want to document their lives before the day comes when they will no longer be with me. Rodrigo’s memoir was raw, insightful and powerful. If you’re a fan of Márquez or not I think we can all learn something reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan Z

    This was a very moving memoir. One of the strong messages in this book is about regrets, such a good reminder seems like I need a daily reminder. Reach out to your loved ones. Ask them questions, learn about who they are, what they love, what makes them laugh because there may be a time when you can no longer ask and will only be left with wonder. Rodrigo Garcia, thank you so much for sharing your story, being vulnerable and reminding us that life is short. We must love it and live it! Below are This was a very moving memoir. One of the strong messages in this book is about regrets, such a good reminder seems like I need a daily reminder. Reach out to your loved ones. Ask them questions, learn about who they are, what they love, what makes them laugh because there may be a time when you can no longer ask and will only be left with wonder. Rodrigo Garcia, thank you so much for sharing your story, being vulnerable and reminding us that life is short. We must love it and live it! Below are some quotes that I loved. "Most things worth knowing are still learned at home." "The surroundings fade away and each and every person has their own singular encounter, not just with the deceased but also with the event itself, as if death were a communal property. Nobody can be denied their relationship to it, their membership in that society." "The death of the second parent is like looking through a telescope one night and no longer finding a planet that has always been there."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Christina Hernandez

    The great Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, father and patriarch, passed away from pneumonia in April 2014. “Gabo”, “Jefe”, “el maestro,” he is affectionately called by his family, friends, and the lifelong members of Garcia’s household staff. In this very revealing, touching, short but powerful memoir. His son Rodrigo wrestles with watching the most powerful man in his life battle dementia and finally succumbing to the inevitable both privately and publicly. Gabo’s gusto for life, his na The great Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, father and patriarch, passed away from pneumonia in April 2014. “Gabo”, “Jefe”, “el maestro,” he is affectionately called by his family, friends, and the lifelong members of Garcia’s household staff. In this very revealing, touching, short but powerful memoir. His son Rodrigo wrestles with watching the most powerful man in his life battle dementia and finally succumbing to the inevitable both privately and publicly. Gabo’s gusto for life, his naughtiness, and candor about old age is moving. Mercedes, wife and matriarch, was feisty, serious, stubborn, and stoic up until her own passing. Rodrigo Garcia's beautiful perspective offers wisdom that death is communal.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dhanush

    A must read for a Marquez fan. I am saddened by the fact that a person who used his memories to write stories had to struggle with it during his last days. And even then, while he was crying without tears, he said "I want to go home to my Dad(his grand father)". As his secretary said, Gabo could even talk about ugly things beautifully. A must read for a Marquez fan. I am saddened by the fact that a person who used his memories to write stories had to struggle with it during his last days. And even then, while he was crying without tears, he said "I want to go home to my Dad(his grand father)". As his secretary said, Gabo could even talk about ugly things beautifully.

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