Not a fan, not a fan at all.
Nary a bit.
But it's an Occasion and I'm nothing if not a Celebrant. So while everyone is tippy-toeing around this decision, undoubtedly mentioning Garcia Marquez within their first two paragraphs, let's commemorate an entirely different event -- one that really did bring the two together, whirligigs, 34 years or so, ago.
For extra credit, who'd win in The Hulk v Vargas Llosa?
Okay, that was too easy...
For an honorary doctorate, then: 100 words on Vargas Llosa and deceit. (Show your work.)
Vargas Llosa is teaching at Princeton this semester, How to write novels, or something like that.
In a feat of swell timing, he has a book coming out in November.
Feud sensation! Why Vargas Llosa thumped Márquez!Now it can be told: the amazing truth behind the Latin American literary giants' legendary ding-dong.
It is 31 years since Mario Vargas Llosa punched Gabriel García Márquez in the face. It happened like this. "Mario!" exclaimed Márquez happily on seeing his old literary chum after a film premiere in Mexico City. He marched towards the Peruvian, arms outstretched as if for an embrace. "How dare you come and greet me after what you did to Patricia in Barcelona!" Vargas Llosa reportedly shouted and decked the Colombian with a right hook. Mexican writers ran around looking for steaks to put on the Colombian's eye. Patricia, it turns out, was Mario's wife.
The two men have reportedly never spoken since. So began one of the greatest rows in literary history, right up there with the Gore Vidal-Truman Capote feud (in which Vidal suggested Capote had "raised lying into an art - a minor art". Capote retorted: "Of course, I'm always sad about Gore. Very sad that he has to breathe every day.")
But the details of what Mario said to Gabriel in Mexico City that emerged earlier this week beg more questions than they answer. What happened in Barcelona? What did Gabriel do to Patricia? Did Patricia like it? And what about the mystery Swedish woman? How does she fit into the story? Why didn't Márquez duck in Mexico City? How could Gabriel not know Mario was angry? Why didn't Gabriel hit Mario back? After all, Peruvian novelists punch like girls, don't they? [Read the rest of this Nobel-Announcement-Day-Worthy piece, HERE...]
[[Thank you, Stuart Jeffries!]]