Gabriel García Márquez, Living To Tell The Tale
I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude in the late 70’s. I read it again in the late 80’s. I just finished reading it for the third time after I finished reading in succession all of Gabriel García Márquez novels that have been translated into English, including his autobiography, Living To Tell The Tale. For that collection of writing and work he was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Because I am living in Latin America, and am immersed in the culture, I am making a project out of reading the greatest of the Latin American authors. There is a lot to learn from them.
I learned something important from García Márquez. How did he do it? He wrote. First he was a journalist that wrote articles every day with a deadline. When he wrote One Hundred Years Of Solitude he isolated himself in his home office and wrote every day and night for 18 months. When he wrote Living to Tell The Tale his friends never saw him. He wrote. He was a genius, but he wrote.
In Living to Tell The Tale, he explained he only wrote about what he knew. Whether from the stories his grandparents told him as a child or the characters and towns in his personal history, he transferred or transformed them to his novels. He said most writers can not make up believable characters or landscapes. They have to be real characters and places that the author disguises to make them look fictional, and real at the same time.
My favorite García Márquez novel is the The Autumn of the Patriarch. It is written in a unique style. I read many of the sentences over two or three times in amazement. There are pages with no punctuation at all, no commas or periods. I know Mark Twain and William Faulkner are famous for long sentences but I think the record for the longest sentence must go to Gabo, as his friends call him. What is with those wonderful sentences? Only a confident genius could have written those sentences that start out either in the present or the past and end up somewhere completely different several pages later.
The General in his Labyrinth, a partially fictional, partially historical account of the time near the end of Simón Bolívar’s life, is the second favorite of my friend Gabo’s novels. It is a sad story. Although Simón Bolívar accomplished so much in his life as the liberator, he never accomplished his goal of unifying all of Latin America. No one ever could.
All of Gabriel García Márquez’s novels that have been translated into English are in the library of the Amazon Explorers Club. Find the time, stop on in and read them.
Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon