Main content start

The War on Drugs between Exception and Legitimacy: García Márquez's News of a Kidnapping

Jorge González-Jácome
Law and Literature

The article reads García Márquez’s journalistic novel News of a Kidnapping against the grain, demonstrating its potential for interrogating unifying narratives about global legality. The argument has several parts. First, it builds upon a careful textual and structural analysis of the literary work in question, parsing out the suggestive complexities of the novel’s narrative voice and metaphors as they confront issues of transnational legitimacy. Secondly, it examines how García Márquez’s narrative, perhaps unintentionally, engages with and buttresses the selective suspension of legality in Colombia (“the exception”). Special attention is given to the Colombian constitutional reform movement in this context, as well as to the novel’s grappling with the contradictions of reasserting legality through lawless means. Heuristically, News of a Kidnapping is then measured against contemporary judicial decisions. In closing, the article situates the novel within the panorama of contemporary legal and literary studies pertaining to the global drug trade.