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News of a Kidnapping (Vintage International) Kindle Edition
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In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar – head of the Medellín drug cartel – kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, García Márquez describes the survivors’ perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, García Márquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.
García Márquez's consummate rendering of this hostage-taking looms as the symbol of an entire country held hostage to invisible yet violently ever-present drug lords.-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Garcia Marquez is concerned with the kidnapping, with relating a singular experience of Colombia that threatened its social and political framework. And he tracks the story like a detective, weaving in the voices of all the players, ferreting out the nuances in their relationships, and cunningly revealing a country torn asunder by the quest for drug traffickers, or rather the mother of all drug traffickers, Pablo Escobar.-- "Booklist (starred review)"
Marquez's calm sympathy reaches beyond these leading families taken prisoner by the war on drugs; he takes a human interest in the foot-soldiers who face certain death in Escobar's service--and even in Escobar himself, a doomed antihero whose 'most unsettling and dangerous aspect...was his total inability to distinguish between good and evil.' Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is its insistence on individual choice between good and evil, pluck and cowardice, at a moment when a lesser writer might see only the drama of a gripping true-crime story, with villains and victims foreordained.-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00NKDP0IQ
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (October 15, 2014)
- Publication date : October 15, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 1246 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 306 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1400034930
- Best Sellers Rank: #496,737 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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With his journalistic background, Marquez adeptly tells the story of a number of well-connected families with strong political ties to the Columbian government's regime whose members had been kidnapped during the war between Escobar's "Extraditables" and the government's security forces. In great detail Marquez portrays the plight of the kidnappers, the victims, the politicians, the common people, and the media - and enjoins the reader to understand that during this time in Columbian history the whole nation was imprisoned by a consciousness of fear and unpredictability which is hard to comprehend for those of us who have been blessed to live in a more peaceful moment of history.
Interestingly, the book has recently gained attention in the international media after Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mussavi, who had been placed under house arrest for the past six months by the current Iranian regime, stated, "If you want to understand my situation, read [Marquez's] News of a Kidnapping." Since this public announcement, the book has become one of the best-selling in Iran's recent history. And this is not just because the book delivers a powerful portrait of forced captivity such as that which is likely endured by Mussavi; but there's a wealth of much wider political messages that permeate this eloquent work of historical significance.
Early on, as the reader is introduced to the main players in this drama, we learn that both Pablo Escobar and his nemesis, Maza Marquez (who is the chief of the special police in charge of capturing and possibly killing him and his "Extraditables"), both invoke the same saint for protection against each other's aims. After Marquez narrowly escapes death at the hands of Escobar's forces, the author states that "Maza Marquez escaped unharmed on both occasions, attributing this to the protection of the Holy Infant - the same saint, of course, to whom Escobar attributed his not being killed by Maza Marquez." The irony here is not lost on the peoples of shared faith around the world whose countrymen wage violent and/or oppressive war against each other in the name of God; and the irony is certainly not lost on the Iranians for whom shared faith is such a strong part of their culture.
In another passage, describing the besieged people of Medellin, where the scars of the drug war have yet to completely heal, Marqez states, "Perhaps the most Columbian aspect of the situation was the astonishing capacity of the people of Medellin to accustom themselves to everything, good and bad, with a resiliency that may be the cruelest form courage can take. Most did not seem aware that they were living in a city that had always been the most beautiful, the liveliest, the most hospitable in the country, and in recent years had become one of the most dangerous in the world. Until this time urban terrorism had been a rare element in the centuries-old culture of Columbian violence. The same historical guerilla groups who now practiced it had once condemned it, and with reason, as an illegitimate form of revolutionary struggle. People had learned to live with the fear of what happened, but not with the uncertainty of what might happen: an explosion that would blow up one's children at school, or disintegrate the plane in midair, or pulverize vegetables at the market. Random bombs that killed the innocent and anonymous threats on the telephone had surpassed all other causes of anxiety in daily life. Yet the economy of Medellin was not affected in statistical terms."
What Marquez describes as "most Columbian" could possibly describe more accurately what's most global (and particularly Middle-Eastern) about terrorism - its ability to mollify and harden a people, and forget the beauty of their culture and history in light of imminent threats against domestic security. Even the most beautiful cities of the Orient - from Baghdad to Kabul to Tehran - have all been exposed to the Medellin story, and their respective citizens have had to display that "cruelest form of courage" to endure even in the light of constant threats of violence.
In short, News of a Kidnapping is an extremely relevant work for those interested in comparative cultural studies, international affairs, drug wars, terrorism, and understanding the mindset of a people who face unpredictable violence every day. Yet the work provides the world hope - hope that by reading history - whether in Iran, the US, or wherever it's read - that we can work hard not to repeat its most detestable moments.
This is the true story of a series of kidnappings that took place in Colombia a decade ago. Unfortunately, it seems that this story could be told again this year, with a new set of victims. Garcia Marquez tells the story from various of the kidnappers perspective, and he keeps it organized so the reader can follow along and understand what is happening to each of the victims, their families, etc.
This is a must ready for anyone interested in Colombia, Latin America, or contemporary issues in general. I know I'll be re-reading it again.