Saturday, October 29, 2011

News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Barcia Marquez 

News of a Kidnapping opens with the abduction of Maruja Pachon along with her sister in law and personal assistant Beatriz Villamizar in Bogota, Colombia in November 1990. Marquez wrote the book in order to chart the kidnappings of the two women and how it affected them and their families.

The previous August Diana Turbay, director of the TV news program Cripton and daughter of former Colombia president Julio Cesar Turbay was abducted by the same group, named The Extraditables which was a cover for Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar.

Marquez soon realised that the three kidnappings, along with those of journalists Hero Buss and Francisco Santos Calderon are connected. Throughout the book Marquez vividly recounts the tribulations of the kidnapped victims, the initial kidnapping, the first days of captivity, the conditions they endured and the absolute terror they had to live with day in day out.

Throughout the book the tension builds as negotiations between the kidnappers on one side and the government and relatives of the victims on the other drag on. Months pass and some of those kidnapped are released. Others are not so fortunate among them Diana Turbay who was killed in a botched rescue bid.

In News of a Kidnapping Marquez, the award winning storyteller, returns to his roots as a reporter. It is to his credit that Marquez avoids the gory sensationalism of true crime writers. The reader is left with an impression of a violent Colombian society in the 1990’s slowly ripping itself apart.


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