Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Rodrigo García / A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes / Review


A warm homage filled with both fond and painful memories.

An account of the days of a remarkable couple.

In a slender, affectionate memoir, film director and screenwriter Garcia pays tribute to his father, Nobel Prize–winning author Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), and his mother, Mercedes Barcha, who died in 2020. His father’s life, Garcia reflects, seemed to him “one of the most fortunate and privileged” ever enjoyed by a Latin American. Yet Garcia was impelled to make “a deliberate, if unconscious choice” to distance himself from his father’s fame by living and working in Los Angeles. He traveled frequently to Mexico during his father’s final years, when García Márquez descended into dementia, able to recall only those whom he saw daily—a secretary, driver, cook, and, of course, his beloved wife. When Garcia and his brother visited, he looked at them “with uninhibited curiosity” but no recognition. The man they were speaking to, though welcoming, was “hardly there at all.” However, his death, while expected, still felt like a shock. “Beyond the sadness,” Garcia writes, “is the disbelief that such an exuberant, expansive man, forever intoxicated with life and with the travails of the living, has been extinguished.” When his mother died six years later, the sense of loss was compounded. “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,” he writes. “It has vanished, with its religion, its customs, its own peculiar habits and rituals, big and small. The echo remains.” Although his parents were determined to keep their personal lives private from inquiring journalists and literary fans, Garcia recounts in sensitive detail his father’s last days. “My father,” he writes, “complained that one of the things he hated most about death was that it was the only aspect of his life he would not be able to write about.” His son sensitively completes the story, and he includes family photos.

A warm homage filled with both fond and painful memories.


No comments:

Post a Comment