April 17, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died at age 87. Gabo was the father of magical realism, in which characters see fantastic images, such as dead loved ones still dogging them or fantastic images of butterfly swarms as portents of coming event.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude,” a masterpiece about a Columbian family over many decades, their sins and their triumphs and breaths, affected me so deeply that magical realism is infused in many of my stories. The writer William Kennedy said that “Solitude” and “The Book of Genesis” should be required reading for every human on earth. Marquez wrote the book in 18 months, selling all but a space heater and two other items, his wife begging food merchants to extend them credit. It was an instant best seller.

“Love in the Time of Cholera” chronicles the separate lives of a man and woman who were in love when they were young, only to reunite when they are 80, and on to death. Gabo’s characters always march toward death. Though he wrote of violence and Fascism, as well as enduring love and the glories of the natural world, Gabo was by many accounts a happy, affable fellow.

Most if not all of you have read “The Book of Genesis.” It is time for “Solitude.” I would say rest in peace, but Gabo may show up here and haunt me. It’s his way.

So, I’ll say, “Welcome.”

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