Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth. – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The chink on the porcelain vase with blue floral motifs in a dark cupboard, the smell of coffee with peppermint and the precise route from where the Pope embarked off his boat to the house of Santiago Nasar is all written in vivid prose in his books. Gabriel Garcia Marquez made reading experiential. He concocted a world filled with Amazonian plumage, fetid odour of photography chemicals, heat that killed birds mid-flight and more sensorial conundrums that questioned reality. With this as the backdrop, there were characters living through love and longing, separation, war and bravery or every politics of existence. I later discovered that this is the underlying syntax of Tamil epics of yore. Probably that is the reason I love Marquez’s writings so deeply.
I read One Hundred Years of Solitude, my first book of his, on a 36-hour train journey from North Western India to Peninsular South in summer with little (or no) money in my pocket. The train rattled through flat red soil plains and bridges over dry riverbeds on which the shadows quivered. With the heat and hunger playing tricks with my perception, in that journey, I lived that book. With that experiential assault as a teaser, I voraciously devoured all of his writing the year after. This has been a personal milestone in comprehending the power of stories and narration.
García Márquez did not achieve prominence as a writer of fiction until the publication in 1967 of his landmark novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Based on the author’s childhood memories of Aracataca, the novel recounts the founding of the fictional town of Macondo by Jose Arcadio Buendia, and its subsequent rise and fall through several generations from the 1820s to the 1920s. Blending historical events with surrealism and fantasy, the novel includes such characters as Colonel Aureliano Buendia, fomenter of 32 political rebellions and father of 17 illegitimate sons; matriarch Ursula Buendia, who witnesses the town’s eventual decline; and the old gypsy scribe, Melquiades, whose mysterious manuscripts are revealed as the novel’s text. The complex saga of Macondo and the Buendias, many critics noted, suggests the labyrinthine history of Latin America itself. Read More in Encyclopedia.com
Marquez has been a strong figurehead in Latin American politics and progress. He was a pioneer in magical realism that inspired many more writers across the World including Salman Rushdie. He has also written reportages, screenplays and beautiful memoirs that combine the real with magic in the lucid province of his mind. I thank him for making my life richer.