Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Review: News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

(apologies, I can't get Blogger to do the accent marks)
I FINALLY finished this book that I have been working on for months. It took me so long because I haven't been reading much but on top of that, I just wasn't that into it.
This book is historical in that it tells of the kidnappings of several Colombians during the early 90's by Pablo Escobar and his cohorts. While the truth of the story is fascinating and intriguing (and I did learn a lot about Escobar and drug cartels and political corruption), I felt that the book dragged on in a lot of spots and provided a lot of detail that was boring and unnecessary. Perhaps I was hoping it would read a bit more like a novel but it just didn't fully hold my interest. It's hard to imagine how societies can become so corrupt and lawless but in reality, this is the case in many countries now. People fear for their lives and the government, police, military, etc. are not in control (and when they are, they are often corrupt too). In any case, this shed a little light on the mystery of Escobar and the international drug trade by focusing on the plights of the kidnapped people, detailing their conditions and what happened throughout their captivity. I was disappointed though in the way the story read. Perhaps I expected more out of Marquez but then again, this is not his expertise either. Or maybe some of it was lost in translation. On top of that, it tells in detail about many different politicians and I don't have a firm understanding of the way the Colombian government works so their titles were a bit lost on me. Overall, I'd give it 2 stars.
I'm relieved to be done so I can move on to my next book - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

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