Dante Gagelonia ponders the life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
While the concept of magical realism came about years before Garcia Marquez published One Hundred Years of Solitude, it was his novel that best illustrated its spirit. One Hundred Years of Solitude did more than tell the story of a family: it did so in a way that demonstrated the way he saw the realities of Latin American culture, and of Colombian identity. Through the lens of metaphorical Macondo and by utilizing the complex shadows cast by the Buendía family, García Márquez depicted ideas, morals and realities that would inspire an entire generation of Latin American expression. The Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s counted One Hundred Years of Solitude as one of its seminal works, and García Márquez as one of its four undisputed pillars alongside Mario Vargas LLosa, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortazár.
There is so much more to García Márquez’s writing than what can be found in One Hundred Years of Solitude, however. While it stands as a capital city in the landscape of his work, his other novels, novellas and short stories still comprise the rest of a bountiful and detailed map. Each of his stories is different yet familiar, staying true more to a sense of being rather than to a strict sense of style. He would reference specific historical periods while generalizing locations, dissect emotions while obfuscating intent, and employ other fluid narrative techniques. It’s an elusive sort of vitality, giving readers a grounded sense of reality while leaving just enough unspoken. There is room to interpret, to feel, to explore.
Originally published in the Fully Booked Zine, June-July 2014.