Just the other day, I was having a casual chat (on G-talk) with a friend on Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s breakthrough novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Of course in recent days Márquez had not come in my discussions often… but when I read the news of his death last night, I wondered whether it was time to revisit the revered Nobel-winning Colombian writer, whom Fidel Castro once referred to as “the most powerful man in Latin America!”
I remember having fond memories of reading One Hundred Years of Solitude during my college days. My lecturer who taught sociology got me introduced to Márquez and his masterpiece. I cannot say the same for Love in the Time of Cholera – it’s not among my favourite books (and to comment on it now, I confess I should read it again). In fact, No One Writes to the Colonel and other stories – which I read much later, was much thought-provoking.
Later, in my Media School, where I was doing my masters’, one of the highly-read professors, someone for whom I have great regards, explained that the first encounter with Márquez can be bewildering. Trying to keep all the characters straight can be too taxing for some readers. Many, especially the older generation also found it a little weird relating to his characters.
Reading and understanding Márquez at certain age was undoubtedly a rewarding experience, though his writings appeared as cheesy and overly dramatic at times. However, he never loses the confidence and continued writing with all his passion.
As a youngster, straight out of college – I quite enjoyed his “magical realism,” the free flowing way he would write about magic carpets flying, ghosts haunting villagers, storms that could last for centuries and the miraculous floods – as if they were everyday occurrences. I learnt, many others too were awestruck by his highly dramatic outlook on life at a certain age. If Márquez made the magical seem real, he also made the real magical by his unique writing style.
However, after my university days, I had stopped reading Márquez – not for any obvious reason – but I guess as I started reading other things extensively, my literary world zoomed beyond Marquez. But now I want to revisit him. I want to see if I can recall the wonder and joy I felt when I first immersed myself in his world. In any case, a writer like Márquez will always be remembered. A tweet I came across this evening by Peter Englung, secretary of the Nobel committee aptly sums up what Márquez means to the world: “A great artist is gone, but his grand art remains with us. Most authors are only shadows, but Gabriel García Márquez belonged to those who cast a shadow, and he will continue to do so long after his death.”
RIP Gabriel García Márquez!