Book News: Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Collection Gets A Texas Welcome
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Just months after Gabriel Garcia Marquez's passing, the works of the late Colombian writer have found their resting place. The University of Texas, Austin has announced that the Harry Ransom Center, the school's humanities research library, has acquired the Nobel winner's archive.
The newly won trove is anything but insubstantial. Among the documents going to the library, original manuscripts of such classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera stand paired with more curious remnants of Garcia Marquez's writing life, like his Smith Corona typewriters and more than 40 photo albums. Rounding out the archive are his drafts, annotations, unpublished works and some 2,000 letters to other literary luminaries like Milan Kundera and Graham Greene.
"This acquisition marks an important extension of the Center's literary holdings," Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center, said in a press release. "Garcia Marquez has had as important an influence on the novel of the second half of the 20th century as James Joyce had on the first half."
In some ways, the acquisition is fitting. Nearly five linear feet worth of Joyce's documents also rest at the Harry Ransom Center, along with those of some of Garcia Marquez's other influences, such as Jorge Luis Borges and William Faulkner. In other ways, though, the location proves a bit ironic: For years, Garcia Marquez was banned from traveling in the U.S., partly for his involvement with the Communist Party and his friendship with Fidel Castro. The travel ban wasn't lifted until 1995.
Head to The New York Times for a peek at some notable documents from the archive.
Literarian Of La Mancha: Stick around the Spanish-speaking world just a moment longer. The Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious Spanish-language literary award, has picked this year's winner: Juan Goytisolo. Widely considered to be one of Spain's most important living writers, the 83-year-old Goytisolo had to wait quite awhile for the honor. He now joins an illustrious list of past winners, including Borges, Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Llosa — but not Garcia Marquez, an infamous snub. The award carries a cash prize of about $155,000.
HBO Goes To Church: Lawrence Wright's Going Clear, which scrutinizes the Church of Scientology and its sway in Hollywood, will soon be framed and featured on the small screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The publication reports HBO is planning to air a documentary in 2015 based on the National Book Award nominee, and that the network has picked up Oscar winner Alex Gibney to direct it.
The Church of Scientology International wasn't happy about Wright's book, calling it "so ludicrous it belongs in a supermarket tabloid." The church isn't likely to be happy about HBO's adaptation either — and HBO is reportedly shoring up its defenses.
"We have probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film]," HBO Documentary Films President Sheila Nevins told THR.
Wright himself shared HBO's caution when writing Going Clear. "We've had a lot of letters from lawyers," he told NPR about his book in 2013. "It's been a very difficult relationship with [the Church of Scientology], often very hostile in tone on their part, but the thing is, it's an irresistible story, and for someone like me, the risk was worth it."
Aretha Decries 'Trashy' Bio: Aretha Franklin doesn't care for David Ritz's new unauthorized biography of her, to put the matter lightly. Franklin, who's worked with Ritz on a previous biography and the album notes to a 1992 box set, took issue with the manner in which Ritz delves into Franklin's private family life in Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin.
"As many of you are aware, there is a very trashy book out there full of lies and more lies about me. Clearly the writer has no class, no conscience or standards!" Franklin said in a statement.
For his part, Ritz responded in the New York Daily News, saying, "I look at the book as an homage to Aretha's artistic genius. I think it is a careful and empathic delineation of a life in which a great star survived, and even thrived, in the complex culture of show business."
A Different Kind Of Book Club: Want to attract readers to your bookstore? Perhaps take a tip from Taiwan, where Eslite bookstores stay open 24 hours, borrowing a bit of late-night cool from local clubs. And CNN reports that the model appears to be working: The chain reportedly expects to increase sales by 8 percent this year.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.