Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate novelist, 1927-2014

Novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude "established him as a giant of 20th-century literature," died today at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

From the New York Times obituary:

“Each new work of his is received by expectant critics and readers as an event of world importance,” the Swedish Academy of Letters said in awarding him the Nobel.

Mr. García Márquez was considered the supreme exponent, if not the creator, of the literary genre known as magic realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate, and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half century apart.

Magic realism, he said, sprang from Latin America’s history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence. In accepting his Nobel, Mr. García Márquez said: “Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”

“Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” — Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera.

Image: Reuters.

Notable Replies

  1. jyoti says:

    Oh no. One of my favourite authors - 'Love in the time of cholera' one of my most-loved books. Sad.

  2. these two comments at the NYT site summed up my thoughts perfectly:

    a o sultan:
    "Here's to dreaming dreams of iridescent butterflies. May the monarchs rise from the wet leaves of mourning as the passing of a brilliant light leaves us to wonder where the time goes. Garcia-Marquez painted my young brain with word webs and i have been forever changed and eternally grateful for the wonder he shared."

    Lou H:
    "100 years is the best written work I have ever read. Even now I can remember back to the distant autumn when I first discovered Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I enjoy his other novels and works but there is nothing like A Hundred Years of Solitude. From the first paragraph it transports you."

    "100 Years" blew me away when i first read it in my 20s. it's still such a hypnotic, swirling dream of a book to me. "Love in the Time of Cholera" is like a companion piece to "100 Years" for me -- his lyrical, magical way with words and phrases is like none other to me. i am so sad to hear he is gone.

  3. "Many years later, in front of the firing squad, colonel Aureliano Buendía would remember that distant afternoon his father took him to see ice.”

    What a fantastic book. I read this in my late teens and it it had such a profound affect on me.

  4. My first exposure to Marquez was his short story A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, which I loved. That was followed by a literature class in which we read No One Writes To The Colonel.

    After we'd read it the professor started the class by saying, "I know you found this novella boring..." I looked around wondering who he was talking about. Not much happened, but I found it sad and lovely, and that was enough.

    Years later I'd be lucky enough to work with a really nice man from Colombia, and we talked about Marquez a lot. He was amazed by how much I'd read. "How do you know so many of his books?" he asked once. I said, "Because he's such a wonderful writer!" And that was enough.

  5. Wonderful novelist, horrible human being.

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