The world lost two greatest minds within the first four months of 2014. The death of the Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude—”the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote”, the 17th-century masterpiece by Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes—as the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda puts it, hit the news less than 30 days to the death of world renowned Indian author Khushwant Singh. Though their styles and approach to literature were far from being alike, their literary work has enriched our souls and minds immensely.
"The magic realism Marquez employed in this novel has inspired many creative writers around the world to boldly follow this approach and open up their imagination"
More Sri Lankans may have read Khushwant Singh than Garcia Marquez. But thanks to a thriving translation industry in Sri Lanka (for better or worse), many may have also read Marquez’ best works, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. In Love in the Time of Cholera, Marquez brings out a story inspired by his parents’ courtship. His grandfather who was a master storyteller immensely influenced his literary career. In fact Marquez once said all his novels were based on the stories he had heard before he was eight.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is widely considered Marquez’ magnum opus. In the novel he narrates a story about a Buendía family that lives in a fictional town called Macondo. The magic realism Marquez employed in this novel has inspired many creative writers around the world to boldly follow this approach and open up their imagination.
In magic realism supernatural is presented as mundane. Through this style, Marquez was able to show his versatility as a writer and his endless capacity for imagination. Some say as a result, Marquez’ work even looked better when they were translated from Spanish into English or any other language!
It was indeed heartening to see a number of world leaders issuing messages over the death of Marquez apart from those in the literary world who were hugely saddened by his death.
Foreign media quoted Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeting «On behalf of Mexico, I express sorrow over the death of one of the greatest writers of our time.»
US President Barack Obama said the world had «lost one of its greatest visionary writers - and one of my favourites from the time I was young».
Former US President Bill Clinton said: «I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty. I was honoured to be his friend and to know his great heart and brilliant mind for more than 20 years.»
He added Garcia Marquez had “captured the pain and joy of our common humanity”
Rest in Peace Gabriel Garcia Marquez! Although you are no more, your literary genius will continue to amaze and inspire us.