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News of a Kidnapping

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  9,096 ratings  ·  535 reviews
THIS ASTONISHING BOOK by the Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez chronicles the 1990 kidnappings of ten Colombian man and women--all journalists but one--by the Medellín drug boss Pablo Escobar. The carefully orchestrated abductions were Escobar's attempt to extort from the government its assurance that he, and other narcotics traffickers, would not be extradited to the ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published July 30th 1998 by Penguin (first published 1996)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,096 ratings  ·  535 reviews


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Connie G
Gabriel García Márquez is usually associated with his novels containing elements of magical realism, but he was a reporter in his younger days. In "News of a Kidnapping" he returns to nonfiction to tell the story of ten hostages who were kidnapped by the wealthy Medellin drug cartel in Colombia. Pablo Escobar used the hostages to bargain with the Colombian government when he feared he would be extradited to the United States in 1990 for drug crimes. The city of Medellin, where the drug cartel wa ...more
Louise


Before his novels came to define magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a reporter and journalist. This work is from 1996 - after his greatest novels. It was also a time when the perpetrators of the crimes he writes of were still free and able to do harm.

The modest title belies the stunning narrative. While the focus is on the hostages, it is also the story of how the wily Pablo Escobar negotiated surrender to the Colombian government to include a prison of his own design and staffing so th
...more
Vinod
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because I knew what to expect. I didn't expect the magical realism that I love Marquez for. I didn't expect depiction of feelings in any direct way.

This is a journalistic account of a series of kidnappings happened in Colombia during the drug trafficking war days. I was surprised by how he was able to put the pieces together without sensationalizing.

The narration was compelling and I finished the whole book in my record time! :)

Recommend anyone this book, but make sure they
...more
Negin
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colombia
I don’t generally watch much TV. My husband watches more than me and knows which shows I’ll like. We recently finished watching the first season of “Narcos” about Pablo Escobar. This book was a nice addition to the TV series, although I prefer the latter. The book moved more slowly than I had hoped, yet it was a compelling look at that dark period in Colombia. There’s no doubt that Pablo Escobar was an absolute monster. One of my favorite quotes: “The most unsettling and dangerous aspect of his ...more
Neal Adolph
This book joined me as I crossed cities and borders and, as books do, became an essential part of my cross-continental journey to my new home in Colombia. It tells of a dark hour in one of the darkest periods in Colombian history, and does so with the grace of an expert novelists. The characters breathe with the rapid rhythm of anxiety, and the tension grows as though these events, as real as could possibly be, were imagined by some God of suspense. I wasn't thrilled with the last section, only ...more
Nancy Oakes
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
4.5 rounded up

In a nutshell, the central focus of News of a Kidnapping is the story of ten abductions, the victims' experiences in captivity, and the families' efforts to get these people released, but to tell that story, the author places these kidnappings in the wider context of Colombia's troubled history of politics, narco trafficking and terrorism. It also follows how Pablo Escobar went from being host to "Politicians, industrialists, businesspeople, journalists..." at his Hacienda Nápoles
...more
Laleh
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Marquez is one of my favorite authors. Although, the actual reason I read this particular book was that the Iranian opposition leader currently under house arrest -Mir Hossein Mousavi-, managed to send a message to his family, recommending this book in case people wanted to have a feel of what he is going through. He has been under house arrest for more than seven month now.

This book is different from other books by Marquez: It is not a work of magic realism fiction, it is a report by a true jo
...more
Vanessa
Jan 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Snooooooze.

Maybe it's in the wake of my trip to Colombia, where I thought I would be carried away by all things evoking Marquez, but I am honestly kind of questioning my slavish devotion to his greatness, lately. When I first read them, I was totally enthralled by A Hundred Years of Solitude, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and at least liked Love In The Time of Cholera pretty well. I was entirely annoyed by Memories of My Melancholy Whores for predictab
...more
Daniel Chaikin
56. News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez
translation: 1997, by Edith Grossman
originally published: 1996
format: 391 page paperback
acquired: August
read: Oct 2-21
time reading: care of Bookly, I know it took me 9 hrs, 45 mins to read this. That's 2 pages a minutes, or 29.8 pages per hour
rating: 3

The next book on my Márquez list. I knew going in this wasn't an exciting book. Reviews complain it's long and boring. And, while the first 20 pages are gripping, it is a slow book. There is no e
...more
María
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I started reading it i got caught, the narrative of this book is really extraordinary, it can probably be a bit tedious when you start to give such political details and many names related to the main events, however, the story catches you and allows you to that you experience the feeling of anguish, pain and claustrophobia of the people in captivity, is a shocking story. I think that knowing that it is a real story, that there are survivors and that all these kinds of inhumane situations ...more
Catherine Bracy
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Almost not worth reviewing. I was hoping for something a little more compelling (given that it's about kidnapping, the drug trade, and gov't corruption), but this read like a simple recitation of facts. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I found the descriptions/scenes of what the victims experienced while in captivity tedious.

I know that this was written for a Colombian audience so they have all the context and really just want the juicy tidbits, but I was hoping for a bit more e
...more
Abbie | ab_reads
To be clear, my rating does not in any way reflect the quality of the writing (superb) or the translation (flawless) or diminish the importance of the events Márquez recounts here, just my personal enjoyment levels of non-fiction - which are not very high 😂 it’s not you, non-fiction, it’s me.
Sash Chiesa
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-american
This is something more than a mere chronicling of one of the darkest periods of Colombian history, more than an unflinching depiction of those horrific hours--it's about the calamitous destinies of people entwined together in unimaginable ways which wouldn't unwind without permanently damaging one or the other part of their cruel existence, but more importantly it's a work that recognizes the importance of apprehending the multitudinous nature of everything, the capricious pith of ultimate value ...more
David
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a book! There were times I had to keep reminding myself this was a true story recounted by one of the world's best story-teller not a made-up story. Sometimes I got a little lost in the politic wrangling that went on but Garcia Marquez keeps the story moving with the individual tales of the characters. Truly a great read and I am not a fan of crime stories but reality changes this tale.

GM sat down and interviewed most of the people involved with the 1991 mass kidnapping by Pablo Escobar so
...more
Josh S
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Taut true crime told with a quiet facticity makes this a devastating read about Colombia's battles with Pablo Escobar framed around the last major campaign of Escobar's life, the kidnappings of two sets of journalists.

Garcia Marquez's deadpan approach to violence makes the reality of it brutal while leaving all the characters sympathetic, and his skillful descriptions makes the multiple characters with similar names easy to recognize. Garcia Marquez's deep understanding of Colombia, from region
...more
Abhinav
Journalistic in detail combined with good storytelling, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's nonfiction account of the Colombian hostage situation of 1990 takes time to click. But once it does & switches a gear up or two, it becomes a truly gripping read thereon.

"News of a Kidnapping" has restored my faith in GGM & yes, it definitely makes for recommended reading.
Natalie Scheidt
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gabriel describe so good a true story that you think itself to be implicated
John
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Carolyn and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary in Colombia. The evening of our anniversary we casually walked the six blocks from our hotel in Medellin to dinner in the city that was once the murder capitol of the world. Now Medellin is one of the safest cities in South America. During our trip with Overseas Adventure Travel we learned from our guides and the people we met much about the violent history of the country. Our daughter-in-law Sharon provided this book as a way to continue ...more
Drick
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book tells the true story of 6 people kidnapped by the drug cartel led by Pablo Escobar as a way to get the government to pass a law not allowing Colombia to extradite drug criminals to the US. The hostages tell their story - those that lived - and it shows the human side of all people in the situation. As the same time you see the value placed on human life when one's power needs are at stake.

I read this book in preparation for my trip to Colombia and to understand the culture of violence
...more
Jennifer
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not like Gabriel Garcia Marquez' other books. Read this if you want to learn more about the history of drug cartels in Colombia. It is a well written and exciting read that will give you some solid background information.

Do not read this if you loved "Love In The Time of Cholera" and are expecting something similar. You will be disappointed.
Jojo
Aug 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of good journalism and Marquez
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is grim, but the narrative is compelling and provides context for understanding what was happening in Colombia during the height of the Medellin Cartel. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a brilliant storyteller.
Kainzow
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I read this year!
Maris
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must say, when I began reading this, I wasn't too excited about this (to be fair, I just saw the author's name and assumed it'd be magical realism, where in reality it was based on a true story). But the way Márquez brings the characters closer to the reader by describing their inner conflicts and the smallest details, it doesn't come off as tacky and like something that was forced into a book. It's a wonderful read. To be fair, I started to try and predict which of the kidnapped people would ...more
Aniruddha Vayadande
My first non-fiction book by Marquez. It’s based on the kidnapping of several prominent personalities by drug lord Pablo Escobar, as a way of applying pressure on the Columbian government to cancel their extradition treaty with America. Having seen Netflix’s Narcos, I was familiar with this incident but GGM presents a meticulously researched (it took him 3 years to write the book) and fascinating account of the kidnapping victims’ struggle with captivity and their family members' attempts to fre ...more
Dylan
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changed in moments, of guns pushed into bellies and the squealing of tyres through city streets. The psychopathic drug lord Escobar effectively holding the establishment hostage, and national trauma kept in a locked room. There’s a real sense of time and place; a rising panic within the captive and the captors - usually young boys, paid poorly, and trapped and bound in the same underworld. A defining era for Colombia. High reportage from the mind of a novelist, and a tragedy told in heat an ...more
Sara
I picked this novel up to prepare myself for a trip to Medellin & Bogota that I'm leaving on shortly, and that was perhaps the wrong move. Why? Because the kidnappings that took place in Colombia by Pablo Escobar in order to pressure the government from extraditing cartel kings to the States for prosecution are brought to life with such detail it was as if I was there / one of them.

So I had nightmares.

But that is the mark of a marvelous book. The research, interviews, and creative story te
...more
Wittch
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For those of addicted to Narcos on Netflix, this book fills in some of the background on the Cali cartel in Columbia as it describes the politically motivated kidnappings of several Columbia’s citizens. Marquez has well researched this compelling nonfiction book.
Mulki Makmun
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book recounts the stories of 10 victims kidnapped during the days of drug trafficking in Colombia. It takes me to the eyes of the victims and their families, of how they reconcile with their abductors in captivity, coping with constant death threats, negotiating with Pablo Escobar, and facing the uncertainty whether to be released or shot to death. If you happen to watch Narcos, you will be familiar with this story.
Maureen
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting and scary. Well written account of hostages held by drug lord Pablo Escobar in Columbia.
Sacha Calagopi
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler) ...more
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Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. García Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian n
...more
“Pero el poder —como el amor— es de doble filo: se ejerce y se padece.” 5 likes
“tenía la facultad casi mágica de no enterarse de las cosas que no soportaba.” 1 likes
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