March 18, 2007

As writers' feuds go, this one is/was pretty great

Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Long a subject of speculation as to the actual grounds for the feud (which officially started when Llosa unceremoniously decked Marquez in a Mexican theater in 1976), The Independent claims to have the goods, finally, on the roots of the squabble. So does El Diario La Prensa, if you read Spanish.

The last line of the Spanish account is quite amusing:
"Las guardé 30 años, y ahora que él cumple 80 años, y 40 la primera edición de Cien años de soledad considero correcta la publicación de este comentario sobre el histórico encuentro dos grandes escritores, uno de izquierda, y otro de contundentes derechazos", concluyó Moya.
I'll expose my withered Spanish skills (really should have continued with that in college) just enough to explain for those with even less literacy in Spanish than I have: Marquez is famously far to the left (he has unabashedly supported Castro for years) while Llosa is pretty far to the right, running as a conservative for the Peruvian presidency at some point. So this Moya person quips that this was a historic meeting of two great writers, one of the left, and the other of the bruising right (hook)—essentially ('derechazo' is the word for a right punch).

Here's a bit about other more or less recent literary feuds from the NYT; I always seem to side with one writer or another—Colson Whitehead against Richard Ford (I mean, how could you not?), Vidal against Mailer (more or less anyone against Mailer), Rushdie against Updike (although Updike against Wolfe), etc.

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