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How to watch filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia discuss ‘A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes’

Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia joined the L.A. Times Book Club July 29 to share the stories behind “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes,” a memoir about his father, Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, and mother, Mercedes Barcha.

You can watch Garcia in conversation with Times editor Steve Padilla on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia joined the L.A. Times Book Club on July 29th, 2021in conversation with editor Steve Padilla
Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia in conversation with Los Angeles Times editor Steve Padilla.
(Los Angeles Times)

Garcia is a writer and director who has explored the complex internal lives of characters in such films as “Four Good Days,” starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis as a mother and daughter reckoning with substance abuse, and “Last Days in the Desert,” in which Jesus (played by Ewan McGregor) grapples with doubt and an all-powerful father.

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His first book, “A Farewell” is neither a tell-all nor a set-the-record-straight type of narrative. Instead, Garcia has written a contemplative account of losing his parents. The slim volume is sprinkled with family photographs and passages from his father, a novelist and journalist whose books include the literary classic, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

A man stands in front of an archway beside a staircase in his home.
Rodrigo Garcia at home in Santa Monica.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

“Writers are kind of obsessed with death,” Garcia says in a recent interview with columnist Carolina A. Miranda. “That’s what takes you to writing, trying to encapsulate experience, trying to tell the beginning, the middle and the end.”

A man and a woman sit at a table talking over coffee and cigarettes.
Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha in the late 1960s, in a photo from “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes” by Rodrigo Garcia.
(Garcia Marquez Family Archive)

The 2014 death of García Márquez —“Gabo,” to family and fans — generated front-page headlines around the world. Last August, Garcia also lost his mother, who served as his father’s chief of staff, confidante and foil. Barcha’s death likewise drew international notice.

Born in Colombia, García Márquez and Barcha spent many years living in Mexico City. In “Farewell,” Garcia recalls their trips to California to visit his family.

A man holding papers and a woman sit side by side, smiling.
Gabriel García Márquez and Mercedes Barcha return to his hometown, Aracataca, Colombia, in 2007.
(Alejandra Vega / AFP via Getty Images)

“During my parents’ stays in Los Angeles, I frequently took them out to lunch at some of the trendiest restaurants, where they ate surrounded by the local rich and famous, in anonymity,” he writes. “Usually it was only the Latino valet parking attendants who recognized my father, and on a couple of occasions, they sent one of their own to buy books so that he could inscribe them after the meal. Nothing could give him greater pleasure.”

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English professor and author Lisa Alvarez compiled this guide to start reading — or rereading – the work of García Márquez, a master of magical realism honored with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wears a yellow rose in his lapel
Gabriel Garcia Marquez outside his Mexico City home on his 87th birthday.
(Eduardo Verdugo / AP)

The L.A. Times Book Club has been discussing “ A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes” and García Márquez’s books during July. In August, the book club will read “All In” by tennis champion and Long Beach icon Billie Jean King, who will be in conversation with Times Executive Sports Editor Christian Stone on Aug. 24.

Sign up for the Book Club newsletter for the latest news and events.

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If you watched our Book Club event, here are the links referenced during the show.

Where to start to read — or rediscover — the work of Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez.

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