R.I.P. Gabriel Garcia Márquez's Writing Career, Joins Authors Who Couldn't Finish His/Her Final Manuscripts

Gabriel Garcia Márquez -- the Colombian author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera -- has hung up his pen/word processor.

Insert sad face here.

According to a report in The Guardian, Márquez's memory struggles, exacerbated by continuing treatment for lymphatic cancer, won't allow the 85-year-old to finish the second part of his two-part autobiography Living to Tell the Tale.

Márquez joins the unfortunate canon of authors who didn't finish his or her final manuscripts due to terminal illness (which differs from folks, such as Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, who offed themselves).

Franz Kafka Most of Kafka's work was published after the German clerk by day, writer by night died at age 40 from complications related to tuberculosis. Thanks to lifelong pal Max Brod -- who, against Kafka's wishes, didn't torch the writer's unfinished papers -- literature nerds can stock The Trial and The Castle on their bookshelves.

Roberto Bolaño The Chilean poet, novelist and obsessive reader lived long enough to complete about four-and-a-half parts of his five-part magnum opus, 2666. The novel -- published in English in 2008 -- is completely worth all 898 pages.

Vladimir Nabokov The Russian author responsible for Lolita left behind the unfinished novel The Original of Laura when he died from a viral infection in 1977. His son Dmitri, despite his father's pleadings to burn the manuscript, helped green-light the publication of Laura in 2009.

V.C. Andrews The family of Cleo Virginia Andrews, the widely-translated author of Flowers in the Attic, hired ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman to finish Garden of Shadows and Fallen Hearts after Andrews succumbed to breast cancer in 1986. The ghostwritten-aided books have received mixed reviews.

Jaroslav Hašek The Czech satirist's most well-known work is The Good Soldier, an unfinished romp about a World War I soldier. Hašek died in 1923 from tuberculosis that he picked up during his time with the Red Army during WWI.

Stieg Larsson The Swedish author of the Millennium series of crime novels (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) died relatively young at age 50 from a heart attack. He left behind three-fourths of a fourth book in the series, though the public hasn't seen one sentence of it.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen