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| 12/10/2008 12:00:00 AM

Magical and real: García Márquez is writing new novel, says friend

Dec 10 -- Fears that Colombia's Nobel prize winning author, Gabriel García Márquez, had put down his pen forever were allayed yesterday when a close friend confirmed that the 82-year-old master of magical realism was working on a new novel.

García Márquez's next book will be a love story, though his friend and fellow writer Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza said that the author was struggling to come up with a version that he was happy with.

"He has four versions of it," Apuleyo said. "He told me that he was now trying to get the best from each of them."

Apuleyo, who co-wrote a book of conversations with García Márquez called The Smell of the Guava Tree in 1982, said the Nobel prizewinner had become hugely self-critical and demanding of himself.

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