|Tributes paid to Colombian novelist Álvaro Mutis who created Maqroll the quixotic sailor
ÁlvaroMutis Jaramillo, an award-winning Colombian poet, essayist and novelist influential throughout the Spanish-speaking world and who was widely popular beyond Colombia’s borders, died Sunday in Mexico City, officials said.
Mutis, who was 90, won the prestigious Principe de Asturias award in 1997 and the Cervantes award in 2001, two of the top Spanish language literature prizes.
Among his best-known works were the tales of the quixotic sailor Maqroll the Gaviero. Seven of these tales were published in 1993 in one translated collection as “The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll'' in English. These novellas became widely popular.
Born in Bogota, Colombia in 1923, Mutis, who started as a poet, published his first volume of poetry in 1948, The Balance.
For a time, he worked for the US oil firm Standard Oil as its public relations chief and ended up in a Mexican jail for 15 months for embezzlement.
The official announcement of his death came via a Twitter message from Mexico's National Council of Culture and Arts. Mutis had been living in Mexico City since 1956.
Carmen Miracle, the author's third and last wife, told the daily La Jornada that Mutis died after a long illness.
“Millions of friends and admirers of Alvaro Mutis lament the death of their compatriot, one of the most influential Spanish-language authors,'' wrote Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in a Twitter message.
Mutis was also a close friend of Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Mutis's best known works include “Diary of Lecumberri'' (1959) about his time in prison; “The Araucaima Mansion'' (1973), “The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll'' (1986); and “The last stop of the Tramp Steamer'' (1990).
Marisol Schulz, director of the International Book Fair of Guadalajara, the largest in the Spanish-language world, praised Mutis on Twitter as “a unique voice . . . an exceptional human being'' who wrote “essential literature.''—The Standard/AFP