Very few people outside of Colombia would be familiar with the town of Aracataca if it was not for Gabriel García Márquez. This small city, located in the north of the country, is the birthplace of one of the most important Latin American authors ever. Between the Port of Barranquilla and the Colombian-Venezuelan border, this city and its population of 40,000 have seen magical realism develop and thrive thanks to García Márquez’s pen.
We invite you to discover the life and works of this artist, who placed Colombian literature in the global spotlight. This is the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a craftsman of words who conquered the world with his eloquent prose.
The life of Gabriel García Márquez is full of keys that will help you understand his passion for fiction. Diving into his personal story, we understand why his texts bring fantasy to ordinary life. Let us reveal the events that led to the magical approach of his works.
Gabriel García Márquez, or Gabo to his friends, was born on March 6th, 1927 in Aracataca. The life of the writer came from an (almost) impossible love. After fighting against family pressures, his parents brought Gabo into the world. His grandparents took care of him during most of his childhood.
Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez was a tough womanizer who greatly influenced his grandson’s vision of reality and violence. In fact, he was the person who introduced Márquez to ice, an element that would go on to have a great symbolic value in his work.
His grandmother Tranquilina instilled in him his passion for stories. In them, the extraordinary was treated as perfectly natural. No matter how fantastic or unlikely, Tranquilina’s narrations rang true. Undoubtedly, this ended up being one of the most characteristic features of García Márquez’s writing.
After his grandfather’s death, Gabo’s parents sent him to Barranquilla, where he continued with his studies. After that, a scholarship allowed him to move to Bogotá. Although the pretext of this relocation was studying Law, his actual interests were reading and writing. Around this time, García Márquez published his first story: The Third Resignation.
The university closed its doors due to riots in the capital in 1948. Gabriel moved to Cartagena and began working as a journalist for El Heraldo. His press contributions from 1948 to 1970 are compiled in five volumes. He also worked on 13 short stories, including The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and The Blessed Mania of Storytelling.
In 1958, the writer married his childhood sweetheart: Mercedes Bacha. A year later they had their first child, Rodrigo, who grew up to become a film director. In 1961 they moved to New York for Gabo’s new job. There, he worked as Press Correspondent for Prensa Latina, an agency funded by Fidel Castro. From this work relationship, a close friendship was born between author and politician.
Some years later, he moved to Mexico. From this new family setting, Gabriel García Márquez published the book that would change the course of Hispanic literature: One Hundred Years of Solitude. This novel is most probably one of the reasons the writer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. After surviving lymphatic cancer in 1999, the life of Gabriel García Márquez quietly faded away in 2014. The world mourned the loss of a great figure with controversial political ideas, dour personality, and an enviable track record of living according to his principles.
In 1967, a jewel of Latin American literature was published. Today, One Hundred Years of Solitude is considered a masterpiece of world literature and is one of the most read and translated books. All the lists of top novels mention this classic, which has sold more than 30 million copies around the world.
It tells the story of the fictional town Macondo, where the Buendía family lives the same story once and over again. The cycle of events that make up the narrative merges fantasy and reality, demonstrating the characteristic style of magical realism.
Seven generations of the same family write their lives around three main topics: solitude, the marvelous real, and incest. This novel, full of religious symbology and tied together with an extraordinary narrative technique, has delighted millions of readers with its spatial-temporal games.
Gabriel García Márquez was more than an exceptional writer of Spanish-language literature. He also earned himself a place in the history of world literature. Few authors can claim to have given life to a whole literary genre, like magical realism. His distinctive style and controversial public life will always be remembered.
In addition to one play, two film scripts, 38 short stories, 9 compilations, 5 volumes of journalistic articles, and 13 reports and essays, Gabriel García Márquez wrote many wonderful novels. Find some of his greatest works below and embark on a journey through his words:
Leaf Storm (1955)
No One Writes to the Colonel (1961)
Big Mama’s Funeral (1962)
In Evil Hour (1979)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975)
Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981)
Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)
The General in His Labyrinth (1989)
Of Love and Other Demons (1994)
Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004)