The world lost one of its greatest literary voices and most popular celebrities on April 17, 2014, with the death of Colombian writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In his 87 years of life, Marquez touched the hearts and lives of individual readers around the world, and is renowned for his poignant words and heartbreaking characters. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
Marquez’s anthology of works is all-encompassing. He wrote novels, short stories, screenplays and poetry. The most famous of his texts are “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” The genre of magical realism is what it is today because of his foundational and groundbreaking approach to it as a writing style.
Arguably his most groundbreaking narrative, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” speaks to the realities of many impoverished or rural communities across the developing world. In it, he creates the fictional village of Macondo, and follows its various trials and tribulations through the span of several generations, such as death, disease and abuse. Underlying these problems though, is his constant tone of hope and love, which are even more accurate realities of such communities.
Beyond his specific works, he is remarkable as a writer in general for the position from which he writes. Having grown up and spent the majority of his life living and working in developing nations of South America, he is what can be called a post-colonial writer. That is, his writing seeks to validate the voices and experiences of the inhabitants of regions of the world still reeling from colonialism.
Such countries tend to have large populations of socially repressed communities, historically silenced because of their low economic, racial or cultural status. Writers and activists, such as Marquez, are vital to opposing and subverting the disadvantageous system that continues to subjugate.
He is a constant testament to the power of love, friendship and the inherent beauty of life. He never ceases to affirm the life of the individuals he writes:
1. “Humanity, like armies in the field, advances at the speed of the slowest.”
2. “The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good.”
3. “Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
4. “A true friend is the one who holds your hand and touches your heart.”
5. “There is always something left to love.”
6. “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
7. “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
8. “Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.”
9. “Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”
10. “I would not have traded the delights of my suffering for anything in the world.”
These quotes give us not only a glimpse into Marquez’s mind and soul, but also into the incredible beauty of life for all of us. He reminds us to never take anything or anyone in life for granted, and that we are always in control of our own happiness. These are messages valuable to all of us, regardless of our socioeconomic status.
– Stefanie Doucette