Monday 19 February 2018

Author and Nobel prize winner Marquez, dies at 87

Colombian Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez . Photo: Reuters
Colombian Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez . Photo: Reuters

THE Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at the age of 87.

The author, whose novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America's passion, superstition, violence and inequality, died at home with his family.

Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, he achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works – among them 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold', 'Love in the Time of Cholera' and 'Autumn of the Patriarch' – outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible.

The epic 1967 novel 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' sold more than 50 million copies in more than 25 languages.

The eldest of 11 children, Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca, a small Colombian town near the Caribbean coast, on March 6, 1927.

His stories made him literature's best-known practitioner of magical realism, the fictional blending of the everyday with fantastical elements, such as a boy born with a pig's tail and a man trailed by a swarm of yellow butterflies.

His death was confirmed by two people close to the family who spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for the family's privacy.

'One Hundred Years of Solitude' was "the first novel in which Latin Americans recognised themselves, that defined them, celebrated their passion, their intensity, their spirituality and superstition, their grand propensity for failure," biographer Gerald Martin explained.

When he accepted the Nobel prize in 1982, Garcia Marquez described Latin America as a "source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty, of which this Colombian is but one cipher more, singled out by fortune."

With writers including Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe, Garcia Marquez was also an early practitioner of the literary nonfiction that would become known as New Journalism.

Irish Independent

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