The final chapters were still being written when requests came for advance excerpts. One such request came from a Uruguayan critic named Emir Rodríguez Monegal, who was editing a new literary magazine, Mundo Nuevo. But it wasn’t just any literary magazine. Gringo spy money buttressed it, went the rumors. Like much of the Latin American literary world, Rodríguez Monegal heard about the novel nearly a year before it appeared. Latin American intellectuals were still bitterly at odds over the Cuban Revolution, which Mundo Nuevo’s paymasters opposed. However willing García Márquez was to contribute to a magazine that openly sought to publish work from both sides, as this one claimed, he was not interested in doing covert cultural propaganda for the gringos.

And yet . . . as One Hundred Years of Solitude was being published to immediate and universal acclaim—the literary equivalent of Beatlemania, as one critic has written—and as the book’s author had a new empire to manage, between the foreign rights, translations, sales numbers, requests from fans, interviews, film options, and what he would write next, something like a barnacle clung to his newfound success. Newspapers were reporting that much of the cultural world had been ensnared in a CIA scheme to marshal culture for Cold War gain against the Soviets. It must have been an “oh shit” moment equal and opposite to his Acapulco epiphany: Mundo Nuevo was one of those magazines, and he had been stupid enough to say yes. He wrote his editor-friend to protest his evident ensnarement in the scheme. What did it feel like? In a quietly seething letter, he wrote that he felt like a cuckold.

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