Gabriel García Márquez: Biography and Magical Realism

In this article, we have decided to immerse ourselves in the life and work of this Colombian novelist, considered one of the best writers of the twentieth century: Gabriel García Márquez, Gabo, as he is affectionately known. With millions of readers around the world, his masterful ability to combine magical elements with the most authentic sociocultural environments earned him the entrance to a style known as magical realism.

In his books, García Márquez unites extraordinarily the past, the present and the future. All his work is full of historical facts with strong political, cultural and social connotations that come together with fiction and supernatural events. As a result, we find his novels not only fascinating from the fictitious point of view, but they move through a point of reflection on the feelings of a society that he so wonderfully managed to capture.

Gabriel García Márquez is one of those authors with an incredible dexterity to handle the concept of time and death. His books are full of stories in which time is something mutable. Their stories travel from the present to the past to return again in a beautiful and extremely fluid narrative line.

His footprint goes beyond the borders of our language and has managed to captivate the international public and critics. He is considered one of the best authors in the Spanish language. His work One Hundred Years of Solitude has been compared to other classics of our language such as Don Quixote or La Celestina.

Early life

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Colombia in 1927; his father was a pharmacist and his maternal, military grandfather. He was the son of a large family, he had 11 brothers. Little Gabriel was raised by his grandparents, in a house where they enjoyed the readings and tales of local folklore, with a significant abundance of stories of dead ancestors, premonitions, ghosts and omens.

He was a brilliant student since he was a child and, although he had doubts about the professional career he wanted to pursue, ended up choosing to study law at the National University of Colombia. It was in this period when he began to write and published some of his stories in the newspaper El Espectador at the end of the 40s.

However, he ended up abandoning law studies, which he detested, and moved to Barranquilla, where he wrote as a columnist in a newspaper. He published his first novel in 1955, La hojarasca, which takes place in Macondo, an invented city that would appear again in his books. At a party, he met his wife, also the daughter of an apothecary, Mercedes Barcha, while still a student. They married in 1958 and had two children.

Gabriel García Márquez and fame

In 1961, he publishes The colonel has no one to write to him and only a year later sees the light “La mala hora”. Already in 1967, he launched his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, which would become one of his best-known novels. In a single week, it sold more than 8,000 copies, was translated into twenty-five languages ​​and received several international awards.

This work was followed by the story of a shipwrecked person, Chronicle of an announced death, Blue dog eyes, Del amor and other demons and many others. In 1985, he published El amor en los tiempos del cholera, a work based on the love story of his own parents. These are just some of his most recognized titles, his literary production was prolific and unimaginable editorial success.

His work is a reflection of the cultural and social reality of Colombia and Latin America. His success and literary quality were such that, in 1982, he was awarded one of the most prestigious international awards: the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Gabriel García Márquez was diagnosed with a cancer that, after years of struggle, managed to remit and, at that time, he decided to write his memoirs. A pneumonia would take him irremediably in 2014, at 87 years of age.

“It is believed that culture is only the fine arts. No. Culture is that, but it is also cooking, fashion, education, science, religions, folklore, the environment, the way of loving, in short, everything that human beings add or take away from improve or harm nature “.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez-

An extraordinary legacy

Despite being well known for its link to magical realism, he wrote many works of non fiction strongly influenced by realistic themes. His work has been described as imperishable and marked by a great social commitment.

Politics played an important role in his novels and was the way he had to express his opinions in fictitious contexts. He managed to capture the importance for him of social and political commitment as a crucial issue in the life of his country and its people. During the speech he gave at the delivery of his Nobel Prize, García Márquez said:

“In the face of oppression, looting and abandonment, our response is life. Neither floods nor plagues, nor famines nor cataclysms, nor even eternal wars through the centuries and centuries have succeeded in reducing the tenacious advantage of life over death. “

Undoubtedly, Gabo was a literary reference and an example of political and social commitment that was reflected in his unbeatable work.