Gabriel Garcia Marquez...
(Gabo)


Hundreds - if not thousands - of reviews on Gabriel Garcia Marquez's life, publications, achievements and literary style have been written to date so I'm certainly not a pioneer on this matter, nor do I intend to be one.

However, I have been reading him since I was a teenager.
In other words, grew up devouring his books and learnt to admire and respect his literary genius since my very beginning, by the time of "No One Writes to the Colonel" (El Coronel no tiene quién le escriba), first published in 1961 - even though I've read it a few years later.

He's introduced me to Caribbean culture before I began to discover it myself, as much as Jorge Amado did it with Brazil, particularly the enchanted world of Bahia and its inhabitants.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez - (Gabo) © EFE

The following is simply a humble introduction to the life and achievements of Gabriel Garcia Marquez - in case you are not familiar with.
For a website entirely dedicated to South America such as this one, he certainly has a place here, together with our little homage at the same time...


Gabo was born in Aracataca, Colombia, on March 6, 1927.

He was raised by his grandparents from age two to eight, when he joined his parents in the city of Barranquilla.

His grandfather "Papalelo" played an important role in shaping his political and ideological vision, as he was a well-known liberal mind, highly respected at the time.

So was his grandmather role in feeding him with her fantastic stories.
A great story teller that he described later as somebody capable of "treating the extraordinary as something perfectly natural", delivered in such a way that it seemed to be an irrefutable truth.


Garcia Marquez childhood home
Gabo's childhood home © El Espectador/Sean Dolan

He began his career as a journalist while studying law, writing for a number of newspapers in the following years.

First was "El Universal" (Cartagena), followed by "El Heraldo" and later Bogota's newspaper "El Espectador".

The serie of news articles compiled under the name of "The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor" generated such a controversy in Colombia that basically led him to exile.

He was sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent.


All his journalistic experiences led him to become a writer, and a very famous one indeed.

His first novel "Leaf Storm" (La Hojarasca) was published in 1955.
This one, together with two other Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic short novels: "No One Writes to the Colonel" (El Coronel no tiene quén le escriba) and "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (Crónica de una muerte anunciada) were published as a single volume under the name of Collected Novellas, in 1991.


Throughout his prolific career, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote many other novels that fall into the realm of magical realism...

The non-fiction category includes...

His narrative style that he himself defines as inspired by a "visual image" has led him to a long involvement with film as well, as film critic and founder and director of the Film Institute in Havana.

He also wrote several screenplays, such as "Tiempo de morir" (1966), "Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes" (1988) and others.
His literary style has also inspired a number of movie directors who adapted and directed several others Gabo's novels in the last thirty years or so.


Garcia Marquez with Neruda in Paris
With P. Neruda in Paris © El Espectador/Sean Dolan

But the novel that catapulted Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the pinnacle was "One Hundred Years of Solitude", the saga novel of the Buendía family in the fictional village of Macondo, that he's used as a setting for several other stories.

This novel motivated William Kennedy to say.."the first piece of literature after the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race".


One Hundred Years of Solitude was awarded with the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, in 1972 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.
By the way, Garcia Marquez's acceptance speech on the occasion is a very interesting reading I truly recommend you not to miss.

Just go for it, it's named "The Solitude of Latin America".


Little could be say about Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his contribution to Literature that hasn't been said yet. Like other millions readers in the entire world I have enjoyed-and still enjoy- his literary genius and ways of describing the Colombian caribbean.


If you haven't done it yet, rush to the nearest book shop and immerse yourself in his reading, for Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the most unique South America travel experience of the writing world...




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