News of a Kidnapping is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s true account of the kidnapping of 10 people in 1990 during a standoff in Colombia between the government and the drug trader Pablo Escobar. Marquez wrote this book at the behest of one of the captives and her husband.
I had a very difficult time getting into this book and nearly gave it up half way through. I was not really intrigued until about page 130 or so of the 290 page book. My problem was twofold: first of all, the journalistic style made this story very dispassionate, which was difficult for a story of kidnappings. I never felt that I knew any of the people involved in the story, and I didn’t particularly care about or for them, not because they were bad people or unsympathetic, just because there was little to no emotion expressed in the writing. Secondly, this book was decidedly written for a South American, if not solely Colombian, audience. I say this because names of prominent Colombians and Colombian politicians are thrown about with the expectation that you will know exactly who they are. This isn’t necessarily a failing on the part of the author, it tells me that the book was written more to explain and heal? remember? the kidnappings within the country than to tell the story of the kidnappings to a wider audience. This book is for people who followed the kidnappings as they happened and want to know the details.
This is not a bad book by any means, but unless you followed or have studied the kidnappings in Colombia in 1990 or are familiar with Colombian politicians in 1990, this is probably not the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book for you.
Buy this book on Amazon: News of a Kidnapping (Vintage International)