Awarded the Nobel Price for Literature in 1982, Garcia Marquez is known for his natural ability to draw readers into his stories and make them believe almost anything. The Colombian author incorporated the imaginative stories he had been told by his grandmother, as well as the corruption he uncovered as a Latin American journalist in his stories.
Prior to his death, Marquez had not published anything in over a decade. Paraphrasing the words of fellow Nobel laureate, Alice Munro, who recently retired, writing had finally worn him out and he wanted the chance to truly live and enjoy his life.
Considered by many readers to be a revolutionary writer, his legacy will likely continue to move readers for generations to come. The following are just four of the ways Garcia Marquez’s words, as well as how he lived his life, have inspired us.
- He believed in everlasting love.
In his most romantic novel, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” his dedication was simple. It reads, “To Mercedes, of course.” Mercedes is Mercedes Barcha, the woman he joined in marriage in 1958. She survives him.
The story of a couple who had met as children, but do not become lovers until they are elderly, due to family issues and other factors, is based on that of Garcia Marquez’s parents. This story can be interpreted in two ways. One, as the story of a woman conned by a lothario for several decades or two, as the story of two people whose love withstood being apart for decades.
Regardless of how you view the story, Florentino and Fermina end their lives in love and together. Essentially, Cholera reminds readers that passion doesn’t have to dwindle over time. In fact, it is such a significant part of life that its mere existence mandates an “of course.”
- He redefined himself.
Garcia Marquez wrote fiction throughout his lifetime, though his first full novel wasn’t published until he was 40. Before this, he worked as a reporter and editor for several newspapers.
Considered his masterpiece, his novel, “100 Years of Solitude,” was only written after he became disenchanted with journalism and was in search of a way to better explore the truth.
Many of his novels and novellas explore material he collected during his time working as a newspaper reporter. For example, the murder detailed in “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, as well as the primary character of “The Autumn of the Patriarch” exiled Marcos Perez Jimenez, a Venezuelan dictator.
According to his translator, Edith Grossman, bringing these stories to life in the form of fiction allowed him to “use fantasy to tell the truth; that is what literature does. It tells the truth through invention and make believe. The magic comes from encountering a writer of genius who turns everything he touches into gold.”
- He respected and listened to his elders.
The influence of Garcia Marquez’s grandparents, who initially reared him, can be seen in everything he wrote. Even though he didn’t invent the style of fiction referred to as “magical realism”, he is considered to be the father of its popularity. Magical realism combines the details of real life with mythology’s fantastical elements.
As the father of magical realism, his grandmother, Dona Tranquilina Iguaran Coles, is, by default, its grandmother. Garcia credits his grandmother’s stories, which “treated the extraordinary as something perfectly natural” with assisting in the development of his writing style. Actually, it could well be the tales told to him by his grandmother and grandfather, Colonel Nicolas Ricardo Marquez Mejia that helped him develop his gift as a novelist. His grandfather is credited with teaching him about the importance of politics and history. His grandparent’s home acts as the setting in “100 Years of Solitude.”
- Hollywood bothered him, but it didn’t matter.
It should come as no surprise that Garcia Marquez’s popularity sent Hollywood all the way to Colombia to knock on his door. However, he may regret answering.
“The Chronicle of Death Foretold,” a 1987 movie starting Latin America actor Rupert Everett, completely missed the point of Marquez’s harrowing tale of suspense. Over a decade later, Broadway also missed the point. “Love in the Time of Cholera” received the same misguided treatment, though at least the star, Javier Bardem, shared a native language with Marquez.
His books have managed to survive Hollywood’s awkward attempts at adapting them. His son, Rodrigo Garcia, may well be Garcia’s real gift to Hollywood. Rodrigo has directed numerous independent films including “Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her,” “Albert Nobbs,” and the upcoming “Last Days in the Desert,” This movie, influenced by magical realism, stars Ewan McGregor.
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