Original edition of ‘100 Years of Solitude’ found in Colombia

Copy of Marquez classic was snatched from a locked glass at the International Book Fair of Bogota

Afp May 10, 2015
The book was one of just 8,000 copies printed in 1967. PHOTO: FILE

BOGOTA: A signed first edition of 100 Years of Solitude by Nobel-Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez was recovered Friday, a week after it was stolen at a Colombia book festival, officials said.

The novel by the Colombian writer, who died last year, was snatched from a locked glass case last weekend at the International Book Fair of Bogota.

“The book was recovered in an area of downtown Bogota where art is normally sold,” the director of Colombia’s national police, Rodolfo Palomino, told reporters.

He said the edition was retrieved after a “labored pursuit,” and police found the book in an abandoned location they suspected the thieves would leave it as they ran from authorities.

The book was one of just 8,000 copies printed in 1967 by an Argentine publishing house and was on display in a pavilion dedicated to Macondo, the mythical town featured in the novel and other works by the author.

The stolen volume belonged to book dealer Alvaro Castillo, who collects first editions by Garcia Marquez.

Castillo said he would donate the book to the National Library of Colombia after an outpouring of anger over its theft. “This book no longer belongs to me, this book belongs to my country... from the moment that so many Colombians condemned this action, the book belonged to us all,” Castillo said.

The collector had donated the text to fair organisers to commemorate the late author, who died in his home in Mexico in April 2014 at the age of 87.

Garcia Marquez, a founding father of magical realism, had signed it: “To Alvaro Castillo, the old book-seller, as yesterday and always. Your friend, Gabriel.”

The International Book Fair of Bogota is one of Latin America’s busiest literary festivals, and organisers estimated that some 433,000 people visited this year. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th,  2015.

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