It has been confirmed the Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today in Mexico City at the age of 87 after battling a long illness. He is considered the most popular Spanish writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century and has achieved literary celebrity that has spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Gabriel Marques is also considered along with some of his contemporaries to be the progenitor of the writing technique that is known as Literary Non-Fiction or Literary Journalism as well as popularizing the style of magic realism.
Garcia Marquez’s magical realist novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America’s passion, superstition, violence and inequality. His flamboyant and melancholy works outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible. The epic 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude sold more than 50 million copies in more than 25 languages. This novel was widely popular and led to Garcia Marquez’s Nobel Prize as well as the Romulo Gallegos Prize in 1972. [although I must admit I have always preferred Love in the Time of Cholera]
It has been called “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race,” [William Kennedy] and hundreds of articles and books of literary critique have been published in response to it. However, Garcia Marquez himself did not completely understand the success of this particular book:
Most critics don’t realize that a novel like One Hundred Years of Solitude is a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends; and so, with some pre-ordained right to pontificate they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves.
Below is a wonderful clip sharing Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s last words in a letter to his friends and public before retiring from public life due to his ill-health and now his death on April 17 2014.