Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, journalist and screenwriter, was born on the 6th of March, in 1927, in Aracataca, Colombia. His father, Gabriel Eligio García moved with his wife Luisa Santiaga to Barranquilla, leaving him under the care of his maternal grandparents. His grandparents Doña Tranquilina and Colonel Nicolás Ricardo have strongly impacted his early growth as a boy. His grandfather, a colonel retired from the army, was a highly respected figure among the Columbian liberals. He taught his grandson lifelong lessons, which Gabriel later integrated into his works. His grandmother also played a significant role in his early development by narrating ghost stories in a unique way that even nonsense statements appeared to be unquestionable truths. Since they raised him, his parents remained strangers to him for the first few years of his life.
After Gabriel’s grandfather died, he moved to Barranquilla, where he started his formal education. He was known to his peers as a timid boy who loved to express his ridiculous ideas on paper. After completing high school in 1940, he joined Colegio Jesuita in the city of San José. A change came in him thereafter which he became a published poet when his first poems got published in the school magazine. Later, he earned a scholarship and went to Bogotá to finish his secondary education. After graduation in 1947, he started studying law at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, but his interest in literature did not vanish. He continued to study law for two years. However, in 1950, he quit his legal studies and opted for journalism. Besides this, he also nurtured his passion for fiction reading and writing.
Personal Life and Death
Gabriel met his love, Mercedes Barcha when she was at school, but he decided to wait for the completion of her studies. They tied a knot in 1958, and the couple had two sons, Rodrigo García and Gonzalo. His two loves stood the test of the time and continued writing stories. After leading a successful literary life, his health deteriorated in 1999 when he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. However, his successful chemotherapy led him to continue his literary efforts. Unfortunately, in the later years, he got a severe lung infection that led to his death on the 17th of April, in 2014 in Mexico City.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- Gabriel was highly inspired by two significant literary figures; Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges.
- He received the Nobel Prize in Literature on the 8th of December in 1982 for his short stories and novels.
- He also won Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972
- Although he produces many masterpieces, he earned glory for his work, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which brought him the most significant commercial success.
Gabriel García Márquez successfully pursued two careers. First, he became a journalist and later a successful writer. Becoming a published writer at a very young age when his first poems got published in his school magazine, paving the way for his future publications, proved a harbinger of the great literary mind. His first novella, The Leaf Storm, published in 1955 demonstrated this strain when the readers welcomed it. However, his massive big hit, One Hundred Years of Solitude, appeared in 1967. The novel features the lessons he learned from his grandparents and several generations of the Buendía family. Besides writing fiction, he tried his hands on screenwriting as well, penning down various screenplays that were successfully produced into movies. His notable works include Big Mama’s Funeral, One of These Days, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and One of These Days.
Gabriel is well-known for trying various styles in his writings. However, one style that is evident in almost all of his works is magical realism; his favorite style in short stories. To make his work enjoyable and worth reading, he used literary devices and techniques like intertextuality, suspense, paradox, irony, and humor. Following his Greek masters, he used to leave a lot of details for his reader’s imagination, such as he did not name the characters in his novel, No One Writes to the Colonel. The major themes in his writings stand solitude, violence, and evil, Macondo, and life.
Some Important Works of García Márquez
- Best Novels: His notable novels include In Evil Hour, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Of Love and Other Demons.
- Other Works: His other notable works include Leaf Storm, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Strange Pilgrims, and Eyes of a Blue Dog.
Gabriel García Márquez’s Impacts on Future Literature
García Márquez left a considerable legacy to the world. His works have continued to win a special place in the global literature. In the real story or epic novel, whether in nonfiction or fiction, his impact resonates impressively. To many critics and authors, his works are free from biases, prejudices as if the author was raised far from the centers and clashes of cultural and political powers. Instead, he successfully created a magical world that can be recognized everywhere.
- “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” (Love in the Time of Cholera)
- “To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.” (Love in the Time of Cholera)
- “It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.” (One Hundred Years of Solitude)