“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
-- Gabriel García Márquez
Today we remember Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, who died of pneumonia at the age of 87 on April 17, 2014 in Mexico City.
Márquez was born in the town of Aracataca in Colombia on March 6, 1927 and was raised in his early years by his grandparents who were a source of inspiration for his writing. They told him stories about Latin politics as well as tales of romantic adventures which worked as a strong influence. Known as 'Gabo' among his loved ones, Márquez began his writing career in 1948 after college and worked for numerous newspapers as journalist and editor in Colombia and neighbouring Venezuela. He married Mercedes Barcha in 1958 and had two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo García Barcha.
The writer's first work was the short novel, “Leaf Storm” -- published in 1955. His literary masterpiece, “Cien años de soledad”, was published in 1967 and was later translated in English as “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. The book received worldwide acclaim and Márquez was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Colombian and only the fourth Latin American author to win the esteemed prize.
“El amor en los tiempos del cólera”, which translates to “Love in the Time of Cholera” is another widely popular novel by the author, published in 1985. It was also adapted into a movie in 2007. His other notable works include: short story collections “Big Mama's Funeral” and “Strange Pilgrims”, novellas “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” and “Memories of My Melancholy Whores”, and novels “The Autumn of the Patriarch” and “Of Love and Other Demons”.
Márquez is widely considered as the best writer to have emerged from South America. His ability to tell stories about places and times that uphold the culture and heritage of the region is exceptional. He introduced his audience to magical realism, a genre very specific to his work, which is a mix of myth, fantasy and factual elements. Although Márquez claimed to have never acquired a style, his gift of portraying reality through strong narrations of simple events stands out.
As one of the millions of readers of Márquez, I too am heartbroken at his demise. Tributes have poured in from all around the globe for the 'Master of Magical Realism' and his absence will be felt as literature progresses over time. His contributions through journalism in the early years, to the rise of South American literature, and also his pivotal role in many political relationships between Europe and Latin American nations have proved to be invaluable in the history of the territory.
Muchas gracias, Señor Márquez.