Gabriel García Márquez's last novel released 10 years after this death Until August is the last novel of the Nobel Prize-winning author, a work he asked his sons to destroy. But, nearly 10 years after his death, they have decided to publish his final novel.

Gabriel García Márquez's last novel is published against his wishes

Gabriel García Márquez's last novel is published against his wishes

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Gabriel García Márquez greets journalists and neighbors on his birthday outside his house in Mexico City on March 6, 2014. Edgard Garrido/Reuters hide caption

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Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Gabriel García Márquez greets journalists and neighbors on his birthday outside his house in Mexico City on March 6, 2014.

Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Before his death almost 10 years ago, Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez had nearly completed his final book. Struggling with the ravages of dementia, he told his sons to rip it up and never publish it.

But they decided to go against his wishes and on Wednesday, on what would have been García Márquez's 97 birthday, they are releasing the novel in Spanish. (The English version will be out on March 12.)

Rodrigo García says his father told him and his younger brother, Gonzalo García, that the novel, titled En Agosto Nos Vemos in Spanish, or Until August in English, just did not work and that it made no sense.

"We concluded that the book, though unfinished, made a lot of sense and was very moving," said Rodrigo García from his home in Mexico City. The screenwriter says he and his brother hadn't thought about publishing it; they recently reread it and really liked it.

"When he said it doesn't make sense he didn't realize it didn't make sense to him anymore," García said.

García Márquez spent much of the last decade of his life with debilitating dementia — an ironic cruelty for a master of chronicling memories, said his eldest son.

Book cover for Until August Penguin Random House hide caption

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Penguin Random House

Book cover for Until August

Penguin Random House

"Often he would sit down to read one of his own books and couldn't make a sense of it and it wasn't until he reached the last page and saw his picture on the back cover that he realized that this is one of my books and he'd start to read it again," García said.

In Until August, a middle-aged woman, Ana Magdalena Bach, pays annual visits to an unnamed island to lay flowers on her mother's grave. It's an exploration of love, fidelity, sexuality and aging.

The book's editor, Cristóbal Pera, said it was a departure from the magic realism genre García Márquez mastered. It was to be the second in a series of short novels the author planned to write exploring love in the time of the elderly.

"In this one there are some hints that he was also exploring and — maybe, I don't know, maybe I'm wrong — the romance novel. Of course it's not a trashy romance novel, it is an amazing work of art," Pera said.

Pera had worked with García Márquez on his memoirs and the two had become friends. On one visit to the family home in Mexico City, where the Colombian-born author lived for years, Pera read three of the chapters aloud. On another visit, García Márquez surprised him with the final scene.

"And he laughed and said, 'Yes, I have an ending' and he read it to me very proud and it is exactly the same ending that readers are going to find," he added.

Gabriel García Márquez's son Gonzalo García Barcha speaks during a news conference for the book launch of En Agosto Nos Vemos on Tuesday in Madrid. Isabel Infantes/Getty Images hide caption

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Isabel Infantes/Getty Images

Gabriel García Márquez's son Gonzalo García Barcha speaks during a news conference for the book launch of En Agosto Nos Vemos on Tuesday in Madrid.

Isabel Infantes/Getty Images

Pera was given access to five drafts of the book that are part of the large collection of García Márquez's work housed at the University of Texas at Austin. He also worked with a separate draft that the writer's longtime secretary had saved.

"He had many notes on the margins, but the novel was complete. All the characters, everything. ... I didn't of course, and I would never dare to add anything of my own," Pera says with a laugh.

And Pera agrees with García Márquez's sons' decision to publish the work posthumously. He says that Until August, with its strong woman protagonist, adds to the writer's cannon.

In García's previous book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, ostensibly the first in the elderly series, a 90-year-old man pines for a 14-year old virgin. Even in the early 2000s, way before the #MeToo era, the book drew criticism.

Fellow Nobel laureate Salman Rushdie, who befriended García Márquez later in life, says the author's works need no new additions.

Listen to audio of UNTIL AUGUST - excerpt read by Catalina Sandino Moreno. courtesy Penguin Random House Audio

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"I really worry that something has been authorized which should not be authorized," he told an audience at a book event last year in Spain. Rushdie made it clear he doesn't want any of his own unpublished manuscripts released. He's concerned that Until August could damage García Márquez's reputation. "It may not do him justice," Rushdie said.

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez strolls in Rome's piazza Navona with his wife Mercedes and sons Gonzalo and Rodrigo on Sept. 6, 1969. Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty Images hide caption

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Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty Images

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez strolls in Rome's piazza Navona with his wife Mercedes and sons Gonzalo and Rodrigo on Sept. 6, 1969.

Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty Images

Rodrigo García appreciates such allegiance to his father but says Rushdie still has the intellectual power to judge which of his books should be published.

"Our father lost that, he did not have that, so we decided for him," he said.

In the end he says both of his parents often told him and his brother that after they were dead the siblings could do "whatever the hell they wanted to."

"We are speaking for our father because he gave us permission to speak for him. Is there some betrayal? Yes, of course. This is not the last wish of an aging writer," García said.

But García says he is willing to let the readers judge. And as he and his brother wrote in the preface to Until August, if the audience is delighted then hopefully their father will forgive them.