Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the wizard of magical realism, dies at 87

In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, is seen in Monterrey, Mexico. In this 2003 photo released by the Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, is seen in Monterrey, Mexico.
Associated Press | Posted: April 18, 2014 7:35 am | Updated: April 18, 2014 8:38 am

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted intoxicating fiction from the fatalism, fantasy, cruelty and heroics of the world that set his mind churning as a child growing up on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

One of the most revered and influential writers of his generation, he brought Latin America’s charm and maddening contradictions to life in the minds of millions and became the best-known practitioner of “magical realism,” a blending of fantastic elements into portrayals of daily life that made the extraordinary seem almost routine.

In his works, clouds of yellow butterflies precede a forbidden lover’s arrival. A heroic liberator of nations dies alone, destitute and far from home. “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” as one of his short stories is called, is spotted in a muddy courtyard.

Garcia Marquez’s own epic story ended Thursday, at age 87, with his death at his home in southern Mexico City, according to two people close to the family who spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect for the family’s privacy.

Known to millions simply as “Gabo,” Garcia Marquez was widely seen as the Spanish language’s most popular writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century. His extraordinary literary celebrity spawned comparisons with Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

“A thousand years of solitude and sadness because of the death of the greatest Colombian of all time!” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Twitter. “Such giants never die.”

His flamboyant and melancholy 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.

 In this March 1, 2011 file photo, Mexican telecom tycoon and world's richest man Carlos Slim, left, and British financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, right, help Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the inauguration of the Soumaya Museum's new home in Mexico City. In this March 1, 2011 file photo, Mexican telecom tycoon and world’s richest man Carlos Slim, left, and British financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, right, help Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez at the inauguration of the Soumaya Museum’s new home in Mexico City.

The first sentence of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” has become one of the most famous opening lines of all time: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

With writers including Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe, Garcia Marquez was also an early practitioner of the literary continued…

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