Gabriel García Márquez, 1927-2014
My first introduction to Gabriel García Márquez was reading his memoir, Living to Tell the Tale which he began writing shortly after receiving a cancer diagnosis. I was totally immersed in Gabo’s life story from the beginning until the end (nearly five hundred pages). García Márquez led an eventful life in his youth, his adolescence, as a budding journalist, a poet, and later a novelist, but foremost a journalist. He often said that nothing ever happened to him after the age of eight, so all his stories are written through the eyes and voice of a child.
Gabo won many awards during his career such as the Nobel Prize in Literature, The Rómulo Gallegos Prize, Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Ariel Award for Best Original Story, and Ariel Award for Best Screenplay for Cinema and more. Some of the films that he wrote are Love in the Time of Cholera, Eréndira, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, No One Writes to the Colonel, Miracle in Rome, Time to Die, Oedipus Mayor, Of Love and Other Demons, Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier, Letters from the Park, Far Apart, Mary My Dearest, The Widow of Montiel, The Invisible Children, The year of the Plague, There Are No Thieves in This Village, The Golden Cockerel, Eyes of a Blue Dog, The Death of Abraham Lincoln (in three parts), Dead Man's Coughing and many more.
My fascination with García Márquez’ memoir Living to Tell the Tale led me to read his fiction. I had a need to know more about this man who had lived through cataclysmic times in his native Colombia. I began reading Gabo’s fiction with One Hundred Years of Solitude, an enchanting journey through the founding of the fictional town of Macondo by the Buendia family and their lives over a period of over one hundred years. The story is magical, with the weaving of fact and fiction that entwines to create its own logic. One Hundred Year of Solitude is not a quick and easy read but more of a philosophical study. It is difficult to keep up with the numerous characters bearing the same name but well worth it. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. Once read, it cannot be forgotten. It is very entertaining and is meant to be read thoroughly. I even recommend rereading it for the greater depth you will reach once you have the characters figured out.
García Márquez’ books, in the tradition of great novels, are deeply appreciated by his millions of readers because his themes of love, friendship and death are so easily accessible to everyone. Gabo’s work is especially important to many Latin Americans because he shows that even if one is born far from important centers of politics and culture, the power and charm of pure imagination can create a magical fictional world that will be recognized everywhere.
“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” ― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
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