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Author Study: Gabriel García Márquez Curated by Emma Ferguson '18

Latin America's greatest magical realist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

1. Marquez

“One has only to read a few pages of Márquez’s novel to understand the response it has occasioned. Immediately, the reader senses in its style a simple audaciousness which alerts him to the premise that he is attending to something more than an ordinary chronicle of fiction, that he is being presented, rather, with a work that presumes nothing, that starts from a beginning both in literary and historical time, as if existence itself had no previous records or memories.

- Jack Richardson, The New York Review of Books


“This extraordinary novel obliterates the family tree in a prose jungle of overwhelming magnificence … Above all, García Márquez (via his translator) feeds the mind’s eye non-stop, so much so that you soon begin to feel that never has what we superficially call the surface of life had so many corrugations and configurations, so much bewilderingly impacted detail, or men so many grandiose movements and tics, so many bizarre stances and airs.

- Paul West, The Washington Post 


“Many of the ingredients of contemporary Latin American fiction are packed into this novel. As in other novels, particularly in Carpentier, a savage nature voraciously devours civilisation if it is riot hectically kept at bay; the cult of male virility is fervently, if periodically and humorously, sustained; and as in many Latin American novels, human events are seen ultimately to unfold not progressively but cyclically.

David Gallagher, The Observer 

2. Magical Realism

Don't be deceived by the thumbnail--Memento Mori offers insightful criticism of Marquez, as well as a greater look into magical realism as a genre.

The trouble with the term “magic realism,” el realismo mágico, is that when people say or hear it they are really hearing or saying only half of it, “magic,” without paying attention to the other half, “realism.” But if magic realism were just magic, it wouldn’t matter. It would be mere whimsy — writing in which, because anything can happen, nothing has effect. It’s because the magic in magic realism has deep roots in the real, because it grows out of the real and illuminates it in beautiful and unexpected ways, that it works...The real, by the addition of the magical, actually gains in dramatic and emotional force. It becomes more real, not less.

- Salman Rushdie