The Wonderful World of Márquez

Gabriel Garcia Márquez was a Nobel Prize winning Colombian author who singlehandedly changed the literary landscape. Short stories, novels, journalistic articles- Márquez wrote everything. It is no surprise that his is one of the most prominent Latin American names globally.

Furthermore, what really makes Márquez stand out is his ability to reach to the masses. Each story of his reflected some aspect of the average Latin American citizen. There is definitely the pleasure of identification for all third world inhabitants. Yet, his works are also categorised alongside other iconic first world literature.

Márquez and Magical Realism

Magical Realism and Márquez go hand in hand. Where there is one, there is another. Let’s start with the basic question here: what is magical realism?

Is it the magic within our reality, or is it a reality different from ours embedded with magic? There are many definitions that theorists have come up with. However it can be simplified as the integration of the fantastic with the real in a matter-of-fact manner.

Further, It is no surprise that Márquez is a master of this genre. His birthplace plays a significant role in this. According to his, the magic of his stories is his lived reality- “A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us”. 

Moreover, when the unbelievable is the norm for Latin America– from famines to dictators to killing sprees- why not magic? This is precisely Márquez’s idea. In his Nobel lecture he states,

“Our independence from Spanish domination did not put us beyond the reach of madness. General Antonio López de Santa Anna, three times dictator of Mexico, held a magnificent funeral for the right leg he had lost in the so-called Pastry War. General Gabriel García Moreno ruled Ecuador for sixteen years as an absolute monarch; at his wake, the corpse was seated on the presidential chair, decked out in full-dress uniform and a protective layer of medals. General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, the theosophical despot of El Salvador who had thirty thousand peasants slaughtered in a savage massacre, invented a pendulum to detect poison in his food, and had street lamps draped in red paper to defeat an epidemic of scarlet fever.”

 

Where to Start From?

Now that we know who Márquez is and what magical realism is, where do we start from? Lucky for you, we at Daastan, have compiled a beginners guide to Márquez!

  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude – This is a classic Márquez novel. It is a multigenerational story, starting at the start of all things and leading to the end of it all. Don’t get confused by the sheer amount of repeated names! We promise, by the end of it the characters will become very real for you.In addition to that, it is set in the fictional world of Macondo, the story follows the Buendia family through…well everything a human could be expected to encounter. War, plague, unrequited love, this novel has it all.

  1. Big Mama’s Funeral – However, if you wish to get a taste of Márquez without going through a novel- he wrote quite a lot of short stories. One of them being “Big Mama’s Funeral. He creates the grotesquely grandiose funeral of Big Mama- whose death seemed unimaginable, in order to comment on the excess of power and consequent corruption
  2. Eyes of a Blue Dog – Following the stream of short stories, we have the “Eyes of a Blue Dog“. This one is quite an experience. Perhaps the magic of it is closer to all of us as well because it focuses on the idea of dreams. And well, what really are dreams? Are they just inside our heads, or are they brief moments of lived experiences as well?
    It is through our narrator’s experiences with a woman inside his dreams that Marquez highlights questions of human loneliness and isolation.

Once again, we have reached the end of your brief exchange of literary ideas! We hope that Márquez’s world proves to be as wonderful for you as it is for us. Furthermore, If you enjoy more focused discussions, do give a read to our lyric essay spotlight as well.

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