The Decline Of The Patriarch

on Saturday, July 7, 2012
Having watched the sad decline of some beautiful minds first hand, I was dismayed to read today that Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winning pioneer of the magical realist movement and author of a couple of my favourite novels (No-one Writes To The Colonel, The Autumn of The Patriarch) is now suffering from the late stages of dementia. According to his brother Jaime, Gabriel is doing well but experiences frequent memory lapses.

Speaking at the Inquisition Museum in Cartagena, Jaime said, "Dementia runs in our family and he's now suffering the ravages prematurely due to the cancer that put him almost on the verge of death... Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defences and cells and accelerated the process."

That Marquez had the condition was hardly a secret. Writers don't just 'retire' for no good reason. Nevertheless, his legion of fans have continued to cling to the hope that they might still see some more books before Marquez dropped off the scene altogether. That doesn't seem to be on the cards anymore. Asked about the next two instalments of his autobiography (the first being 2002's Living To Tell The Tale), Jaime said, "Unfortunately, I don't think that'll be possible, but I hope I'm wrong."

Looks like it will be a sad, quiet end to the Patriarch.


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