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Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the giant of Latin American literature, dies at 87


Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87 in Mexico City. The Nobel Prize-winning author was one of the most influential Latin American authors of recent times. The writer had recently been hospitalized for a lung and urinary problems, but was released last week.

His best known books are Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of CholeraAutumn of the Patriarch and his classic 1967 novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has sold millions of copies around the globe.

García Márquez, known as ‘Gabo’, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 and known for his left-leaning views, which included supporting Cuba’s Fidel Castro and opposing America intervention in various world issues.

Born in Aracataca in Colombia in 1927, he was the eldest of the 11 children.  With his parents away attempting to earn a living, he was raised by his grandparents for the first 10 years of his life and their storytelling inspired many of his own stories.

Aracataca became the model for ‘Macondo’ – the village surrounded by banana plantations at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains where One Hundred Years of Solitude is set.

García Márquez carved out a career in journalism, and was equally at home writing non-fiction and short stories although it was his novels that earned him worldwide fame. He became part of a literary clique called the Barranquilla Group, a loose association of writers and thinkers that inspired him and alerted him to authors that rarely saw much light in Latin America such as Virginia Woolf.

The work of William Faulkner heavily influenced Garcia Marquez and he wrote his first novel, Leaf Storm, at the age of 23 although it took several years before it was published in 1955.

The idea for One Hundred Years of Solitude came to him during a road trip to Acapulco. The novel is a multi-generational epic, describing the story of the Buendía family, in the town of Macondo. The novel’s first printing in Spanish sold out within a week, and the book went on to sell more than 20 million copies. It has been translated into many languages and is essential reading for any lover of literature.

Love in the Time of Cholera further cemented his reputation after being published in 1986. It is a love story about a couple, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, and their trials and tribulations after Fermina’s father intervenes in their relationship. The novel compares lovesickness to an actual illness. Many literary critics have argued that Garcia Marquez was the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.

Signed copies of his books are not plentiful. Prices start at $375.

Novels and Novellas by Gabriel García Márquez

Leaf Storm (1955)
No One Writes to the Colonel (1961)
In Evil Hour (1962)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975)
Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981)
Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)
The General in His Labyrinth (1989)
Of Love and Other Demons (1994)
Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004)

Short Story Collections by Gabriel García Márquez

Eyes of a Blue Dog (1947)
Big Mama’s Funeral (1962)
The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother (1978)
Collected Stories (1984)
Strange Pilgrims (1993)

Non Fiction by Gabriel García Márquez

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor (1970)
The Solitude of Latin America (1982)
The Fragrance of Guava (1982) with Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza
Clandestine in Chile (1986)
News of a Kidnapping (1996)
A Country for Children (1998)
Living to Tell the Tale (2002)

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Richard Davies

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