After a great literary career and being considered as one of the most influential American writers of this generation, Colombian Alvaro Mutis died on Sunday in Mexico City at the age of 90.
Mutis was born in Bogota on August 25, 1923, but between the ages of two and nine, he lived in Brussels. At eighteen he married his first wife Mireya Duran Solano, with whom he had three children: Maria Cristina, James and Jorge Manuel. His second marriage was to Maria Luz Montane, in 1954, of which union was born Maria Teresa.
He was considered by critics as one of the most outstanding poets and storytellers of his generation, after his good friend Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Considered by the Colombian writer Plinio Mendoza Apuleius as the “patron” of Garcia Marquez in Mexico, where he wrote “ Cien años de Soledad.”
In 1956 Mutis traveled to Mexico to work with the Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel and Mexican television producer Luis de Llano Palmer. Three years after his arrival in the Aztec country, Mutis was arrested and spended fifteen months in the prison of Lecumberri, in Mexico City, for embezzling money from the U.S. multinational Esso, where he worked as head of Public Relations.
From that experience was born “Lecumberri Journal” (1959), one of his first books of narrative in which he tells his experiences. Mutis said that the imprisonment in Lecumberri was “a lesson I will never forget about the most intense and deep layers of pain and failure.”
In 1997 he was honored in Spain with the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters and in 2001 received the Cervantes Prize for Literature.