Jaime Bayly does an autopsy of the dead friendship of Vargas Llosa and García Márquez

the peruvian writer Jaime Bayly presented his novel in Madrid The genius. In it, he tries to solve the well-known mystery of that night in Mexico City when Mario Vargas Llosa punched Gabriel García Márquezwhich left the author unconscious for a few minutes One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The appointment was at the Wellington Hotel in the capital of Spain, where Bayly clarified that it is a novel in which he constantly resorts to fiction. “I made up the dialogues,” she anticipated and clarified that she only spoke with Gabo once and for half an hour.

He recounted that García Márquez and Vargas Llosa met at the Maiquetía airport, in Venezuela, in August 1967.. At barely 31 years old, Vargas Llosa was already a critically acclaimed writer, while the 40-year-old Colombian was finally becoming famous thanks to One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Before embracing, he said, at the air terminal, which formally began the friendship, the two had written and read letters to each other. They even became friends, they were neighbors in the Barcelona neighborhood of Sarrià and they even became compadres. But everything changed in 1976 after the famous punch by Vargas Llosa, which was followed by a: «This is because of what you did to Patricia”, the now ex-wife of the Peruvian.

Jaime Bayly tells about the punch

“The geniuses” at the Maiquetía airport

«I have been trying to put the puzzle together for 40 years, investigating what were the reasons that led Vargas Llosa to act in this way. When I asked Gabo, he told me to ask his friends. Mario replied that he did not want to talk about it »recalled Bayly, who distanced himself from Vargas Llosa “for political reasons” and whom he has not seen for 15 years.

The author’s environment Pantaleon and the visitors He closed in a band when he tried to investigate the punch, no one wanted to talk.


Among García Márquez’s acquaintances it was different. «In my television program in Miami I managed to bring together Álvaro Mutis and Tomás Eloy Martínez. His version is that not much had happened, that everything had been due to a misunderstanding. The thing is that everything is still a mystery, nobody recorded anything. The only thing that was seen were the photos that García Márquez released with his black eye, that was the day after what happened in Mexico City.

He said that the novel is «an autopsy of that dead friendship. A friend who is lost is a heavy dead person, a burden. They both had to bear it.”.

He defined García Márquez as a very happy man, who loved to listen to music and dance, while Vargas Llosa was “more serious, very disciplined.”

«Despite this, they met almost daily in Barcelona, ​​they always did it at Gabo’s house. With both wives and children. They were very different in their way of being, but both geniuses. I remember that Carmen Balcells (the literary agent of the two writers and who was the one who managed to bring them together in Barcelona) once told me that Mario was the first in the class, but that García Márquez was the genius».

He also said that, despite the fact that they did not speak to each other, Vargas Llosa was always aware of what García Márquez was doing. «He told me that Gabo had cancer and my feeling was that he was aware of everything he did. I think deep down they missed each other.”

He even added: «In his last years of life, Gabo was willing to have a meeting. But Mario is volcanic, I don’t know if he has the ability to forgive like Patricia does. That approach never took place, Mario refused.


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