Tues­day Si­esta

That's China - - 城市漫步 -

Some of the best short stories of Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez are found in the col­lec­tion Big Mama's Fu­neral, first pub­lished in 1962 in Mex­ico. Sev­eral have been judged the most per­fect ex­am­ples of the genre ever writ­ten in Latin Amer­ica. Most of them were writ­ten dur­ing the dif­fi­cult late 1950s when Gar­cía Márquez was liv­ing fru­gally in Europe and Venezuela. He sub­mit­ted one of the stories, "Tues­day Si­esta" ("La si­esta del Martes"), to a short story con­text spon­sored by the Cara­cas news­pa­per El Na­cional, but it failed to re­ceive even an hon­or­able men­tion. Sev­eral years later his close friend Al­varo Mutis sent him a note from a Mex­i­can prison where he was serv­ing time, ask­ing for some­thing to read. Gar­cía Márquez sent him the man­u­script of eight short stories, and Mutis in turn lent them to the bud­ding young Mex­i­can writer Elena Po­ni­a­towska, who mis­placed them. When they sub­se­quently were found, Mutis was able to have them pub­lished by the Uni­ver­sity of Ver­acruz Press un­der the gen­eral ti­tle of the long­est story, "Big Mama's Fu­neral." Gar­cía Márquez re­ceived an ad­vance of a thou­sand pe­sos, about a hun­dred dol­lars at the time, but the vol­ume at­tracted lit­tle at­ten­tion un­til af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of One Hun­dred Years of Soli­tude in 1967.

Gar­cía Márquez con­sid­ers "Tues­day Si­esta" his best short story. It was in­spired by the child­hood me­mory of a woman and her daugh­ter, both dressed in black with a black um­brella

"It was al­most two. At that hour, weighted down by drowsi­ness, the town was tak­ing a si­esta."

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