In a move against the late Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s wishes, his sons Rodrigo and Gonzalo García Barcha have decided to release a novel titled ‘Until August’ a decade after the author’s death, marking his 97th birthday.

The novel was penned during García Márquez’s struggle with dementia. It follows a woman’s annual pilgrimage to her mother’s grave on a Caribbean island. Despite losing confidence in the work due to increasing memory loss, García Márquez requested its destruction before his passing.

The manuscript was previously accessible to scholars at the Harry Ransom Center in Texas. The author’s sons believe it to be a testament to their father’s literary spirit. Described by them as “one last effort to carry on creating against all odds,” the decision to publish is acknowledged as an “act of betrayal,” prioritising the pleasure of readers over the author’s directive.

Speaking from his home in Mexico City, Gonzalo García Barcha expressed the difficulty of going against his father’s wishes but emphasised the importance of the novel. He drew parallels with historical instances where manuscripts initially slated for destruction later became significant in literature.

García Márquez’s global prominence stems from masterpieces like One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch, and Love in the Time of Cholera. Renowned for his magic realism, he drew inspiration from his upbringing in Aracataca, fictionalised as Macondo, exploring family history and political ideologies in his works.

The publication of Until August has ignited excitement among literary circles, with acclaimed novelist Colum McCann expressing joy at the prospect of discovering new facets of García Márquez’s genius. McCann, along with others like Pico Iyer, acknowledges García Márquez’s influence in revolutionising the literary landscape by expanding the concept of realism to include lesser-known parts of the world.

Iyer suggests that García Márquez’s ability to infuse magic into news from distant corners resonated globally, influencing later writers like Salman Rushdie and Abraham Verghese. Despite a life spent outside Colombia, García Márquez maintained close ties to his homeland, leaving an enduring legacy as a champion of diverse voices and perspectives in literature.