The son of one of the greatest writers of our time—Nobel Prize winner and internationally best-selling icon Gabriel García Márquez—remembers his beloved father and mother in this tender memoir about love and loss.
In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most acclaimed writers of the twentieth century, came down with a cold. The woman who had been beside him for more than fifty years, his wife Mercedes Barcha, was not hopeful; her husband, affectionately known as “Gabo,” was then nearly 87 and battling dementia. I don’t think we’ll get out of this one, she told their son Rodrigo.
Hearing his mother’s words, Rodrigo wondered, “Is this how the end begins?” To make sense of events as they unfolded, he began to write the story of García Márquez’s final days. The result is this intimate and honest account that not only contemplates his father’s mortality but reveals his remarkable humanity.
Both an illuminating memoir and a heartbreaking work of reportage, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes transforms this towering genius from literary creator to protagonist, and paints a rich and revelatory portrait of a family coping with loss. At its center is a man at his most vulnerable, whose wry humor shines even as his lucidity wanes. Gabo savors affection and attention from those in his orbit, but wrestles with what he will lose—and what is already lost. Throughout his final journey is the charismatic Mercedes, his constant companion and the creative muse who was one of the foremost influences on Gabo’s life and his art.
Bittersweet and insightful, surprising and powerful, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes celebrates the formidable legacy of Rodrigo’s parents, offering an unprecedented look at the private family life of a literary giant. It is at once a gift to Gabriel García Márquez’s readers worldwide, and a grand tribute from a writer who knew him well.
About the author
Rodrigo Garcia was born in Colombia, grew up in Mexico City, and now lives in Los Angeles with his family. He studied history at Harvard University before becoming a screenwriter and director. His theatrical films include Nine Lives, Albert Nobbs, and Last Days in the Desert, and he has directed episodes of Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and the pilot of Big Love, for which he received an Emmy nomination. He was a writer, executive producer, and series showrunner for HBO’s In Treatment, and directed several of the series’ episodes.
- ‘a powerfully written memoir…García Márquez maintained that his novels were inspired not by magic but by reality. His son’s memoir shows that, when it comes to his father’s life, it is impossible to separate the two.’ Daniel Rey, Spectator
- ‘Rodrigo Garcia finds the words that cannot be said, the moments that signal all that is possible to know about the passage from life to death, from what love brings and the loss it leaves. With details as rich as any giant biography, you will find yourself grieving as you read, grateful for the profound art that remains a part of our cultural heritage’ Walter Mosley, New York Times bestselling author of Down the River Unto the Sea
- ‘You read this short memoir with a feeling of deep gratitude. Yes, it is a moving homage by a son to his extraordinary parents, but also much more: it is a revelation of the hidden corners of a fascinating life. A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes is generous, unsentimental and wise.’–Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling
- ‘Garcia’s limpid prose gazes calmly at death, registering pain but not being overcome by it … the result is a moving eulogy that will captivate fans of the literary lion’ Publishers Weekly
- “A warm homage filled with both fond and painful memories.” Kirkus
- ‘This is a beautiful farewell to two extraordinary people. It enthralled and moved me, and it will move and enthrall anyone who has ever entered the glorious literary world of Gabriel García Márquez’ Salman Rushdie