Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 02:51 AM EDT, 7 July 2012
Born in 1928 in the small town of Aracataca, Colombia, he began his career as a journalist and throughout the 1950s he published numerous short stories.
In 1967 he wrote his first book in his native Spanish titled Cien años de soledad. It was later translated into English and published under the title One Hundred Years of Solitude. This book would become the cornerstone and seminal work for the movement that is known as magical realism.
German art critic Franz Roh is credited with first using the term magical realism in 1925, although the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier in 1949 coined the term “lo real maravilloso.” Like surrealism in art, magical realism is a literary device in which the line of demarcation that separates the real from the magical is blurred.
Marquez is the iconic patriarch of a literary tradition which yielded celebrated authors like Isabel Allende who wrote The House of the Spirits, Laura Esquivel who penned Like Water for Chocolate, Toni Morrison and her haunting tale Beloved, and Salman Rushdie’s daring novel The Satanic Verses.
What makes Marquez body of work magnificent is that his literary landscape is not limited to “the Latin American experiences, but to larger questions about human nature. In the end, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a novel as much about specific social and historical circumstances—disguised by fiction and fantasy—as about the possibility of love and the sadness of alienation and solitude.” (Source: Spark Notes)
The decline of a brilliant man with a mind capable of weaving intricate worlds serves as a stark reminder of the transience of life. Marquez, now in the twilight of his years remains inextricably trapped in the landscape of dementia as if he were a character in one of his novels.
Jaime Garcia Marquez reported to media that his brother, who is 85 and lives in Mexico, has increasingly lost touch with reality. It was a slow decline which is why the author hasn’t made any public appearances in recent years.
“It is a disease that runs in the family,” said Jaime Garcia Marquez. “He is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time but he still has the humor, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had.”
- Garcia Marquez ‘is losing memory’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Review 182: One Hundred Years of Solitude (thelablib.org)
- Garcia Marquez suffering from dementia (news.com.au)