Remembering The Magical Realism Of Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez and his spell of magical realism. We’ll cast it again, in remembrance.

In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, is seen in Monterrey, Mexico. Behind is Colombian journalist Jose Salgar. Garcia Marquez died on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at his home in Mexico City. (AP)

In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, is seen in Monterrey, Mexico. Behind is Colombian journalist Jose Salgar. Garcia Marquez died on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at his home in Mexico City. (AP)

There was magical realism in the world, in literature, before Gabriel García Márquez.  Plenty.  But in the twentieth century, nobody wielded magical realism like the literary giant out of Latin America, out of Colombia.  In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” “Love in the Time of Cholera” and more, “Gabo” – as the Latin world knew him – created worlds of interwoven fantasy and reality so rich and revealing that readers around the world were swept away.  He won the Nobel Prize.  Transfixed the world.  Last week he died.  This hour On Point:  Gabriel García Márquez and the spell of his magical realism.

— Tom Ashbrook


Ilan Stavans, professor in Latin American and Latino culture at the Amherst College. Author of “Gabriel García Marquez: The Early Years.” Also author of “José Vaconcelos: The Prophet of Race” and “A Critic’s Journey.” (@IlanStavans)

Marcela Valdes, literature and culture critic. Founder of Criticas, an English-language magazine devoted to Spanish-language books. (@valdesmarcela)

Isabel Allende, author of “Ripper,” “City of the Beasts,” “The House Of The Spirits” and many more. (@isabelallende)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel Prize-winning explorer of myth and reality, dies at 87 — “By fusing two seemingly disparate literary traditions — the realist and the fabulist — Mr. García Márquez advanced a dynamic literary form, magic realism, that seemed to capture both the mysterious and the mundane qualities of life in a decaying South American city. For many writers and readers, it opened up a new way of understanding their countries and themselves.”

The Paris Review: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Art of Fiction No. 69 — “When I’m writing I’m always aware that this friend is going to like this, or that another friend is going to like that paragraph or chapter, always thinking of specific people. In the end all books are written for your friends. The problem after writing ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ was that now I no longer know whom of the millions of readers I am writing for; this upsets and inhibits me. It’s like a million eyes are looking at you and you don’t really know what they think.has given it literary value. Journalism has helped my fiction because it has kept me in a close relationship with reality.”

The Atlantic: The Origins of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Magic Realism — “It’s often said that the works of Colombian novelist and short-story writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez are quintessential examples of “magic realism”: fiction that integrates elements of fantasy into otherwise realistic settings. In his 1967 novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, which ambles through a century in the lives of one family in the enchanted Latin American hamlet of Macondo, magic carpets fly, ghosts haunt villagers, and trickles of blood from a killing climb stairs and turn corners to find the victim’s mother in her kitchen.”

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