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Macron, The Choice Of Hope And Reason

Macron celebrates his victory Sunday night
Macron celebrates his victory Sunday night
Nicolas Barré


PARIS — Upon returning from exile in 1870, legendary French author Victor Hugo declared that "the instinct of the people always matches the ideal of civilization." That very instinct swept away the worst among us in electing Emmanuel Macron as the new French President.

And what a victory! Very few had thought he could pull it off when he decided to try the impossible, with this profound intuition that the French were ready to knock down an exhausted political generation. With the conviction that this almost revolutionary drive, slowly awakened across different generations, was going to deliver the coup de grâce to the wobbly pillars of our public life.

His was a belief that the last hours of an ancient order were before us, our democracy ripe to redraw a partisan geography that had grown obsolete. The path was narrow, but the gamble passed through, via the political left, an electoral wasteland, and with just the amount of luck that any great victory requires. And so, this "alien" of politics, as he often described himself, found his point of entry. The only really new face of this presidential campaign gathered more than 20 million votes Sunday.

The expectation is immense.

Macron's indisputable legitimacy is not only based on this result but also on what he symbolizes: a thirst for renewal expressed with a touch of radical fervor that he, the newcomer, felt far more than the entrenched rent-seekers of politics-as-usual.

Through our new president, the world can marvel at the face of a young, daring, conquering France that they probably didn't know existed. It is a France that makes room for outsiders, a France that risks and truly astounds as an alternative to the rising populism.

The new head of state will have to confirm the qualities ascribed to him. The expectation is immense because, even more than in other Western countries, French society is undermined by mass unemployment and worries about a transforming society. Worry feeds fear, as this campaign clearly demonstrated — and this fear will have to be met.

Still, even as this fear and anger drags people into lies and the cages of identity politics in other parts of the world, in France, in this moment, it translated into an entirely different and enlightened choice, true to what we have always been: the country of reason, hope and freedom.

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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