Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1927-2014

Marquez

We report with great sadness that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has passed away at the age of 87. Novelist, screenwriter, playwright and journalist, Marquez will perhaps be remembered as the most famous South American writer of all time. He also paved the way for many other novelists and poets on the continent, including Julio Cortazar, Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Allende, all of whom have become unofficial laureates for the literary communities within their respective countries.

While Marquez worked as a journalist for a number of years, he would only receive literary success nearly forty years into his life. In 1967, he published his most famous work, the pioneering One Hundred Years of Solitude. The result of several months of tireless writing, the novel was an immediate success, and became an exemplar text for authors around the world seeking to tell their local stories to a global audience. Magic Realism, the idiosyncratic style he used in the novel, was emulated by hundreds of authors including Salman Rushdie in India, Italo Calvino in Italy and Peter Carey in Australia. Learn more about Magic Realism Here

The novel–along with his other two successful works, Love in the Time of Cholera and The Autumn of the Patriarch–did not only open doors for a whole new type of storytelling, but they effectively permitted the literary world to become a global effort. As the opening line of Solitude shows us, Marquez was interested in writing a whole new style of literature that blended art and politics:

 Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Magic Realism blends actual historical events with fantastical additions that often reflect the mythological or religious beliefs of a certain people. Unlike the realist or naturalist traditions once the norm in English and American literature, the genre addresses one of the most challenging aspects of reading regional literature. One Hundred Years of Solitude was a groundbreaking demonstration of how a people’s history could be told within a fictional lens without relinquishing the power of superstition for the sake of historical truth. The novel would even lead to the creation of a genre called “historiographic metafiction”, where the past becomes  a playground for storytelling and the authority of history can be skillfully interrogated.

Blending the inevitability of violence with the allure of magic, One Hundred Years of Solitude will be read for centuries to come. Until then, we should celebrate the life of one of the most innovative writers of our time, someone who carried the weight of his nation on his shoulders and became a national icon for it. Rest in peace, Gabo.

25 Rare Photos of Famous Authors

Aldous Huxley

“The trouble with fiction… is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.” – Aldous Huxley from The Doors of Perception

Aleksandr Solzenitsyn

“For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of Cancer Ward

Anthony Burgess

“All art preserves mysteries which aesthetic philosophers tackle in vain.” – Anthony Burgess, author of a whole stack of books, including A Clockwork Orange

Fitzgerald

At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That’s a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, from “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz”. Pictured here with Zelda and their daughter, Frances.

Harper Lee

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” – Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird

Edith Wharton

“There are moments when a man’s imagination, so easily subdued to what it lives in, suddenly rises above its daily level and surveys the long windings of destiny.” –  Edith Wharton, author of The Age of Innocence

Djuna Barnes

“A strong sense of identity gives man an idea he can do no wrong; too little accomplishes the same.” – Djuna Barnes, author of Nightwood

Chinua Achebe

“Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit — in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever. – Chinua Achebeauthor of Things Fall Apart

Dashiel Hammett

“People always say things like, Oh, well, he was suffering so much that he was better off dying. But that’s not true. You’re always better off living.” – Dashiell Hammett , author of The Maltese Falcon

Henry James

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance… and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” – Henry James, author of Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors

Hemingway

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” – Ernest Hemingway, outside Shakespeare and Company in Paris

Iris Murdoch

“Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.” – Iris Murdoch, author of The Black Prince and A Severed Head

James Baldwin

“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.” – James Baldwin, author of Go Tell It on the Mountain

Jack Kerouac

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.” – Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road

Joseph Heller

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.” – Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22

Kurt Vonnegut

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” – Kurt Vonnegut, author of Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five

Marquez

Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera

JP Sartre

Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have. – Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher, author and playwright

Julian Barnes

“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.” – Julian Barnes, From “The Sense of an Ending”.

John Galsworthy

“Life calls the tune, we dance.” – John Galsworthy, author of The Forsyte Saga

Milan Kundera

“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.” – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Truman Capote

“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.” –  Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood

Sylvia Plath

“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.” – Sylvia Plath, author of The Bell Jar

Vladimir Nabokov

“Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth.” – Vladimir Nabokov, chasing his second passion—butterflies.

William Burroughs

“Language is a virus from outer space” – William S.Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch