What Will Happen to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Final Unpublished Manuscript?

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When he died last week, legendary author Gabriel Garcia Marquez apparently left behind the unpublished manuscript of a long-anticipated work. That novel, tentatively titled En Agosto Nos Vemos or We'll See Each Other in August, was left unpublished during his lifetime, only because the author chose not to have it printed. With Garcia Marquez's death, his surviving family will have to decide what to do with the work.  

The question of whether an unpublished manuscript — left intentionally or unintentionally — ever sees the light of day is a fraught one for the families of legendary authors. When they do emerge, the works often meet mixed responses, despite the best intentions of the author's admirers. That's because sometimes, those stories are left unpublished for a reason. Last fall, J.D. Salinger's unpublished manuscripts leaked online, meeting a mixed reception. Scholars still argue over whether the last pages of Edgar Allen Poe's final story are lost or unfinished. Philip K. Dick’s wife wrote a novel with the same title as the famous sci fi author’s unfinished work, The Owl in Daylight, enraging many of Dick’s fans.

Cristobal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House Mexico, told the AP that his family hadn’t decided what to do with We'll See Each Other in August. If they do decide to have it published, it’s not clear which publisher would end up with the novel. A small portion of the manuscript was published in Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper. The AP describes the content of the manuscript excerpt as “a trip taken by a 50-ish married woman who visits her mother's grave on a tropical island every year.” It goes on: “In the chapter, she has an affair with a man of about the same age at the hotel where she stays. The erotic tone of the work is heightened by the island's tropical charm, with deftly drawn touches of the heat, the landscape, music, and local inhabitants.”

Garcia Marquez's last published novel was Memories of My Melancholy Whores in 2004. He is said to have largely stopped writing in his later years, mostly likely due to failing health. The Nobel Prize winner died at the age of 87 late last week. He is survived by his wife, Mercedes, and his two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

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