Gabriel García Márquez is a Columbian novelist, screenwriter and journalist, born on 6th March 1927 in a small town called Aracataca, Columbia. He was mainly raised by his grandfather ‘papalelo’ who was a retired army Colonel whom Marquez called his ‘umbilical cord with history and reality’. The Colonel was a big inspiration for Marquez throughout his life. He taught Marquez everything there was to know about politics and helped shape his ideological outlooks. Marquez’s grandmother was also equally involved in his upbringing. He enjoyed her stories about magic and his parent relationship adventures in a deadpan style which was the source of inspiration of Marquez’s most well-known novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ about thirty years later.
Marquez enrolled in the University of Cartagena to study law. Writing for many local newspapers such as ‘El Universal’ in Cartagena and ‘El Heraldo’ in Barranquilla, Marquez began a career in journalism while bringing him to the end of his law studies.
Marquez’s most popular novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ was published in 1967 instantly gaining international commendation. It got him the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Romulo Gallegos Prize in 1972. The American author William Kennedy praised this book by calling it ‘the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race’. After the immense popularity of his novel, Marquez was fortunate enough to gain important friendships with many influential men. This led to his participation in various negotiations between the Columbian government and the guerillas.
Marquez’s novel ‘Autumn of the Patriarch’ published in 1975 was based on a Venezuelan dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez. It is a story about the life of the General and the solitude of power. ‘Chronicles of a Death Foretold’ was published in 1981 consisting of a plot of Santiago Nasar’s murder, which moved backwards. In the first chapter, Marquez tells who murdered him and the rest of the book narrates incidences that led to this murder.
Marquez’s novel ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ was published in 1985 and it was a love story that was based on the love affair of his own parents. Recent works by Marquez consist of a memoir ‘Vivir Para Contarla’ which is a 3 volume autobiography. His novel ‘Memories of my Melancholy Whores’ published in 2008 faced many controversies and was also banned in Iran after a few thousand copies were sold. Marquez announced his retirement from writing in 2008 however there have been rumors that he is writing a novel that is yet to be published.
Marquez never really set a determined style for his writing. He said a writing style varies with every book as every story differs from the other with a separate mood for each one. However ‘reality’ is a common and most important theme in all his novels. Most of his early works such as ‘In Evil Hour’ and ‘Nobody Writes to the Colonel’ portray the reality of the Columbian life.
Marquez has played a very significant role in the Latin American Boom of literature. Currently he is suffering from lymphatic cancer and is undergoing treatment.