Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s name will echo eternal in literature’s history as a premier writer in the world. His transcendence to death, felt globally, ended April 17, aged 87, in his adopted home of Mexico City.
The Columbian author whose 1967 masterpiece novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide, earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 for his pioneering magical realism works. His books’ illuminating prose and enchanting language fused realities from political opposition to his native country’s violence.
Marquez’s parents moved away after his birth and he was left in his grandparents’ care. His grandfather fought in Columbia’s Thousand Days’ War and was a liberal activist – shedding light on Marquez’ political awareness while grandmother told tales of folklore. Blending this content and influenced later by William Faulkner proved to be valuable in his writing.
He started studying law but soon abandoned it to pursue journalism, which he continued throughout his life.
Known as “Gabo,” Marquez often shared his similar literary tastes with Fidel Castro, facilitated negotiations between Columbia’s government and guerilla groups, and even formed a friendship with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
City College English and Chicano Studies professor Elva Salinas first came across Marquez’s work while attending San Diego State University.
“Marquez uses magical realism to emulate people’s worst realities, and worst feelings of desperation in a very entertaining way,” said Salinas.
Feeling connected to the Latino sensibilities, Salinas knew it came from someone who understood the human condition.
For professor and writer, Chris Baron, who uses Marquez’s short story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” in some classes, stresses the importance of the late author.
“Magical realism is a profound genre exploring human truths because it makes myth possible and acceptable,” Baron shares.
Baron also feels human history’s cautionary tales tell important truths, and magical realism, for him, can deepen that.
“Gabo” has gone beyond Earth’s realm but will forever live through his works between reality and dreams of our world.