Sunday, March 4, 2012

BW10: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

March 6, 1927
Happy birthday to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author best known for his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and popularizing the literary style of  magical realism.  I was first introduced to Marquez's books during a couple literature classes last year. I never did get around to reading any of his books at the time, but have One Hundred Years of Solitude in my TBR pile.  In honor of his birthday, moving it up to the top of the stacks to read as my G author for the A to Z by author challenge.   I've noticed in various novels read lately, they keep referring to Solitude time and time again. Plus Susan Wise Bauer lists it in Well Educated Mind as one of the fiction great reads.   The universe must be trying to tell me something - read his book.  Okay. I'm listening.

Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982: "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts".

He wrote a number of novels and shorts stories including 

Leaf Storm
"This story was written in 1952 as La hojarasca, after visiting his old home in Aracataca and while under the influence of Faulkner and Sophocles. After one publisher’s rejection, a self-critical García Márquez tossed it into a drawer. In 1955, when he was in Central Europe, his friends in Bogotá rescued it and had it published." ~Modern Word

No one Writes to the Colonel
 " El coronel no tiene quien le escriba was written in 1956-1957, when García Márquez was broke and unemployed in Paris. Having gone through eleven copies and wearing out a typewriter, he tied it up with a red ribbon and tossed it in his suitcase. Years later in 1961, his friends in Mexico City found it and had it published." ~Modern Word

Evil Hour

"Published in 1962 as La mala hora, In Evil Hour is a short novel about a town in the grip of a malicious oppression, a tale told against the background of la violencia and greatly influenced by Hemingway" ~Modern Word

One Hundred Years of Solitude

 "Published in 1967 as Cien años de solidad, this novel is considered García Márquez’s masterpiece, the breakthrough work that put him on the literary map. It was written in eighteen months of solitude, where García Márquez locked himself into his room with paper and cigarettes, writing day and night while his wife took care of family affairs" ~Modern Word

The Autumn of the Patriarch
 "Published in 1975 as El otoño del patriarca, this novel is a character study in corruption and tyranny – García Márquez called it “a poem on the solitude of power.” Its focal character is an archetypical South American dictator, a nameless creature whose genius at politics and survival is set off against his profound loneliness and paranoia."~Modern Word

Love in the Time of Cholera
" Published in 1985 as El amor en los tiempos del cólera, much of the inspiration for this novel comes from the strange courtship of the author’s parents." ~Modern Word

The General in His Labyrinth
" Published in 1989 as El general en su labertino, the subject of this novel is Simón Bolívar, whom García Márquez removes from the mythic prison of history and places into the magical alembic of his transforming prose" ~Modern Word

Love and Other Demons
 "Published in 1994 as Del amor y otros demonios, this haunting novel reads like a lost chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Set in a colonial seaport in mythic South America, the novel tells the tale of a strange girl named Sierva María, a girl who may or may not have contracted rabies." ~ Modern Word

What great books has the universe been putting in your path lately?


Speaking of great books, I'm halfway through Moby Dick. How are you doing? 


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  1. Hmm, "magical realism." I've never heard of these but I'll have to check them out.

  2. I have two of his books on my TBR list but I don't own them yet. I finished The Unlikely Wife by Debra Ullrich today. Reviewed it too but it doesn't go live until April. Oh, I did a Fist Impressions post - I'll link that. :D

  3. So I read a lot. I have easily conquered War and Peace, Moby Dick and Nabokov. Can't. Can. Not. read Marquez. As a matter of fact, I don't think I actually know anyone who can read Marquez. But I don't want to be a downer ... best of luck.

  4. I've sampled One Hundred Years of Solitude, and just didn't get it. Maybe I'll try one of the others you listed...we'll see.

    As for Moby Dick, I've tried that one several times, and enough is enough. I did just finish a different (much shorter! much more focused!) book that starts out in that nineteenth century world of sailing ships - Skeletons on the Zahara. (It doesn't stay aboard ship. There's a wreck early on in the story.)

    Still working on Dickens and Barnaby Rudge, though I may have sidetracked myself with Richardson's Clarissa...that one's so long I may not get through it all by the end of the year! It's starting well, as long as you're a little skeptical of Clarissa's version of things.

  5. You might want to give a warning on One Hundred Years of Solitude. I read it for The Well-Educated Mind reading list, but there are many conservatives who are part of that group of readers that were offended by the book. I wasn't necessarily offended, but it was pretty different. :)

  6. I tried to read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" last year and I could not get into it at all.

  7. Currently reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Just started it this afternoon and I'm halfway through already!


Thank you for your kind comments.