Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez, born March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia, winner of the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, best known as the father of magical realism, and his great works One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), died yesterday, April 17, 2014.
Gabriel García Márquez has always been one of my all-time favorite authors. At the tender age of eleven, his works were my introduction to Latin American literature and magical realism. When I first read Cien Años de Soledad or One Hundred of Solitud, Macondo was a place that my mind and heart immediately recognized, so that perhaps it inhabited a very personal inner space in my memory longer than it should have. I was too young to really understand the complete scope of his novel at the time, yet I was so dazzled by it! I have since reread the novel many times in Spanish, and later the English translation.
For many years, in my eyes, works by other talented authors did not measure up to this giant's talent. But then, nothing compares to that first author who opens the mind and heart of a youngster to something new and brilliant, and for me, García Márquez will forever be incomparable.
"Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo. Macondo era entonces una aldea de veinte casas de barro y cañabrava construidas a la orilla de un río de aguas diáfanas que se precipitaban por un lecho de piedras pulidas, blancas y enormes como huevos prehistóricos. El mundo era tan reciente, que muchas cosas carecían de nombre, y para mencionarlas había que señalarlas con el dedo."