Castro’s corrections were factual and grammatical rather than ideological, she added. “After reading his book The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Fidel had told Gabo there was a mistake in the calculation of the speed of the boat. This led Gabo to ask him to read his manuscripts … Another example of a correction he made later on was in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, where Fidel pointed out an error in the specifications of a hunting rifle.” Elsewhere, Castro offered advice about the compatibility of bullets with guns used by García Márquez’s characters.

This fascinating glimpse into the relationship between the men is best read in tandem with a long book excerpt in the Baffler about Márquez’s long and complex political history, with a focus on his unwitting participation in a CIA scheme that attempted to leverage culture to influence the outcome of the Cold War.

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