By Christopher B. Daly
The Nobel Prize-winning Colombian novelist turns 87 today.
Here’s a quotation that puts his career in perspective:
“I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of journalist.”
“I learned a lot from James Joyce and Erskine Caldwell and of course from Hemingway … [but the] tricks you need to transform something which appears fantastic, unbelievable, into something plausible, credible, those I learned from journalism. The key is to tell it straight. It is done by reporters and by country folk.”
He worked for a newspaper in Bogotá for many years, writing at least three stories a week, as well as movie reviews and several editorial notes each week. Then, when everyone had gone home for the day, he would stay in the newsroom and write his fiction.
“I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn’t be able to work.”
Who hears the rainy clatter of a Linotype machine any more?