The world said goodbye to Gabriel Garcia Marquez last week. As a nobel laureate, he helped to distinguish the unique Spanish voice of Latin America in literature. Known simply as Gabo, his novels have been published all over the world, introducing the world to Latin America. According to the Associated Press, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which was first published in 1967, sold more than 50 million copies. There are very few authors who have achieved this level of success. He may be one of the only Spanish-speaking writer to have done so. Born in Colombia in 1927, he had witnessed so much in Latin America. Revolutions, political upheaval, decolonization, and had once considered Fidel Castro a friend. Long before we became more familiar with Shaqira and Sofia Vergara, Marquez brought recognition to his home country of Colombia.
Other Latin American writers have followed in his footsteps, hopefully grateful that he had paved the way for him. Love in a Time of Cholera is one of his best known books. Along with One Hundred Years of Solitude, he popularized the style of magical realism, which incorporates an element of the supernatural. Solitude remains for me, one of the best books I’ve ever read. There is something uniquely Latin American about this tale – there is love, passion, family history, politics, and an ultimate search for peace. Similar themes are explored in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. This novel is less well-known, but worthy of just as much praise.
Mario Vargas Lloso, Junot Diaz, Miguel Angel Asturias, even Edwidge Danticat have emerged in his wake. Along with many other writers, they are carrying on Marquez’s legacy. Let’s celebrate his life and career, and remember the contribution he made.