Gabriel Garcia Marquez RIP

Dead at 87. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any of his books, but a friend used to quote from Love In The Time Of Cholera to me all the time.

65 replies
  1. 1
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    RIP. I believe that I’ve read every word of his that made it into English translation. The last line of his short story, “No One Writes to the Colonel” is priceless. That story is available HERE as a .pdf.

  2. 2
    Archon says:

    100 years of solitude is probably my favorite book of all time. Chronicle of a death foretold is also a masterpiece.


  3. 3
    Cronin says:

    Awful, but not surprising, given his age. Always loved his work.

    If you ever have the chance, I’d recommend…everything of his before Love in the Time of Cholera. Not the most popular opinion, but I think that’s actually one of his less-good novels.

  4. 4
    Archon says:

    100 years of solitude is probably my favorite book of all time. Chronicle of a death foretold is also a masterpiece.


  5. 5
    Tommy says:

    OMG> That is a very sad thing. I own all his books. I wish I could pull and post the first page of a Hundred Years of Solitude, cause it is the best first page of any book I’ve read. That is saying a lot. It might get better from there.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    Not surprised. He had dementia, too.

    But what a wonderful writer and journalist. He was writing until fairly recently. RIPeace.

  7. 7
    Tommy says:

    @Archon: I recall going on a train ride. 18 hours. Rereading 100 Years. IMHO it is the best thing ever.

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    How sad. Love in the time of Cholera was a favorite but right now I feel like I need One Hundred Years of Solitude.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    Damn. The mister and I first became interested in each other when we struck up a conversation as the only two people in a noisy little neighborhood pub who were reading. He was reading “100 Years of Solitude,” and I was reading “Crime and Punishment.” We agreed to switch books and discuss them at our next meeting, and our romance bloomed under the jaundiced eye of Colonel Aureliano Buendia and the hectic gaze of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. RIP, Gabriel García Márquez.

  10. 10
    Jennifer says:

    @Tommy: Wow. I always thought the last page, particularly the last line, was the stunner:

    Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliana Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    The LATimes has a nice writeup; more formal obit to come.

    Garcia Marquez’s death represents the passing of one of the world’s greatest living authors, and the loss of a powerful public intellectual whose opinions on Cuba, military dictatorship and Latin American cultural autonomy made front-page news.

    The news was met with an outpouring of grief and reverence for the writer known to his admirers simply as “Gabo,” and who was often compared to Hispanic literature’s other titan, “Don Quixote” author Miguel de Cervantes. More than any other author, Garcia Marquez fueled the post-World War II popularizing of Latin America literature known as the “Boom.”

    “Being a contemporary of Gabo was like living in the time of Homer,” said Colombian writer Hector Abad Faciolince, who described “One Hundred Years” as Latin America’s first and only epic work of literature.”In a mythic and poetic way, he explained our origins. His verbal imagination and creative force were astonishing.”

    …. Success came late to Garcia Marquez, his blockbuster 1967 novel published shortly before he turned 40. Until then he had scraped by as a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter and screenwriter. He was so poor when he finished his big novel that he had to mail the manuscript to his Argentine publisher in two packages because he couldn’t afford to send it all at once.

    But the subsequent growth of his global fame and influence leading up to and following his winning the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature was a phenomenon unsurpassed over the last century by any writer with the possible exception of Ernest Hemingway.

  12. 12
    Tommy says:

    I have some of his short stories in my bathroom. You know when ….

    My favorite author of all-time.

  13. 13
    the Conster says:

    Isn’t there a commenter here with the nym Jose Arcadio Buendia? Best.story.ever. There are images from that book that will be with me until I ascend.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    You haven’t read any of his books? This must be remedied at once. Go and read One Hundred Years of Solitude ASAP. One of my top 5 favorite books. Many of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short stories are also excellent.

  15. 15
    Sad_Dem says:

    One Hundred Years of Solitude is a timeless novel. I heard that when he was a journalist working in Mexico City in 1965, he packed his family in a car to drive to Acapulco for a vacation. On the way, he got the idea for the novel–it would be in the voice of his grandmother, who related the most fantastic and improbably stories as if they were everyday things. He turned the car around and holed up for the next year and half to write the book.

  16. 16
    Tommy says:

    @Jennifer: I didn’t have to go far to find the opening line.

    Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

  17. 17
    beltane says:

    @the Conster: Yes, there is a commenter with that nym.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jennifer: As the ants carry the baby off…absolutely haunting and profound. I agree with Tommy about the opening of the novel, though — I don’t have it in front of me, but it started off with something like, “As he faced the firing squad….” I mean, how on earth could you NOT keep reading?

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    gogol's wife says:

    Very sad. Great writer. Read him ASAP.

  20. 20
    dollared says:

    RIP. I have so many more to read, but I finished The General in his Labyrinth about a month ago. Such an amazing, brilliant man, and his public life was something to admire.

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @Betty Cracker: I re-read 100 years this past winter in a marathon reading session. I think my husband was starting to get jealous.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    @Betty Cracker: Great story. 100 Years is so epic.

    Let’s also not forget the great story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”

    First line:

    On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    Since I’m close to medicare age, this quote seems appropriate, The secret of a good old age is simply an honourable pact with solitude

  24. 24
    Honus says:

    La Cien Anos de Soledad. I love the passage where the people were fascinated and amazed by ice and ignored the flying carpet because it was old hat.

  25. 25
    Tommy says:

    @BGinCHI: I’ve said this once I will say it again.

    I have books of his short stories in my bathroom. He is my favorite author. When my parents went there I asked him to buy his books for me. In a language I can’t read much less speak, just because.

  26. 26
    aimai says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thats a beautiful story, Betty. Thanks for sharing it. Mr. Aimai and I share a lot aesthetically, historically, culturally, and emotionally but our background in books is not one of those things. What fun to have that as the tie that binds.

  27. 27
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Way back in my college days, one of my Lit. professors had us read a book of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges. He quickly became one of my favorite authors. What a joy it was, years later, to read Marquez and to see how much he had done with the style of which Borges was a predecessor.

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    I remember back in grad school I mentioned to a specialist in Latin American literature that I’d read ‘100 Years of Solitude’. She wasn’t impressed. “Well,” she said, “you know, it is the greatest and most famous novel ever written.” And yes, you should read it.

  29. 29
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    And yes, you should read it.

    In a long life of reading there have been three books that, when I looked up from them, had caused me to see the world with different eyes. 100 Years of Solitude is one of them.

  30. 30
    Jennifer says:

    FWIW, I stumbled across a book years ago and bought it because of Garcia Marquez’ comment about it: “Finally, this is the novel I always wanted to read.” And I agreed – if you’re a fan of Marquez, you’ll love Santa Evita (Tomas Eloy Martinez). It owes a big debt to Marquez.

  31. 31
    K488 says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: What were the other two? I’d say 100 Years was on my list of such books!

  32. 32
    Jennifer says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m not taking anything away from the opening line, but I still think it’s the last one that was Nobel-worthy. I found the novel a hard slog the first time I read it because of the cycles of repetition and the re-use of names through the generations & etc. Of course I was in my twenties then; back then I didn’t have the patience for Faulkner. But I settle on the last line because it’s the one that gives meaning to everything that has come before it in the novel.

  33. 33
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Ulysses,James Joyce
    Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    Instead of reading books about aggravating Republicans and the trouble they bring, why don’t we do a GGM tribute book party with 100 Years of Solitude?

    It would be a pleasure to read it (again or for the first time).

    May we?

  35. 35
    Gordon, the Big Express Engine says:

    The world is round! Like an orange!

  36. 36
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Sounds like an excellent idea! I’m in.

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    @aimai: We sort of knew each other already because we had mutual friends and lived on the same little island, but the books got us talking.

    It’s a good thing too, because before that, he thought I was gay, LOL! Total misunderstanding — my sister, who IS gay — and I went to a party, and all he heard about us before he met us was that we were sisters and one of us was gay. I’m definitely more of a hippie type, whereas my sister is stylish and put together. So it was an honest mistake. ;-)

    @Jennifer: Added to my list, thanks! And I agree about that last line — I’ll never forget reading it for the first time and being utterly blown away by it.

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: The thing that gets me about “Gravity’s Rainbow” is how funny it is in some places (the old ladies with their horrible chocolates, for example). I didn’t expect that.

  38. 38
    MariedeGournay says:

    Delurking just to say that to this day the ascension into heaven of Remedios the Beauty is my favorite moment in any novel. So simple, funny and brilliant.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    sharl says:

    The New Yorker has unlocked a couple of the author’s stories for access by non-subscribers.
    The Autumn of the Patriarch (1976)
    The Challenge (2003)

    And here’s an appreciation of the author written by Jon Lee Anderson in 1999.

    I found the presentation format of the last two links a bit unwieldy – though certainly workable – but YMMV.

    (h/t tbogg’s twitter feed)

  41. 41
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    “You’ve taken the last of my Marmalade Surprises!” cries Mrs. Quoad, having now with conjuror’s speed produced an egg-shaped confection of pastel green, studded all over with lavender nonpareils. “Just for that I shan’t let you have any of these marvelous rhubarb creams.” Into her mouth it goes, the whole thing.

  42. 42
    K488 says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Moby Dick; LETTERS by John Barth, 100 Years, and then my list continues like yours. Amazing how certain books can shift the ground under your feet.

  43. 43
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: LMAO! I need to re-read GR. It’s been too long. :-)

  44. 44
    gogol's wife says:


    I love the idea of using Köchel numbers as nyms.

  45. 45
    ItAintEazy says:

    I wonder if it says something about me if the only book I read of his was “Memories of My Melancholy Whores.”

  46. 46
    Origuy says:

    Unfortunately, it looks like the only Kindle editions of his works are the Spanish editions. No puedo leer lo bastante bien para comprender.

  47. 47
    Miki says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m convinced the 2d-Ex (RIP) stuck around as long as he did in part because he wasn’t comfortable rejecting the WOman who’d turned him on to 100 Years of Solitude, among other great works. That and some other stuff, like a fishing buddy. And sex – the sex was good until it wasn’t.

  48. 48
    Valdivia says:

    Love in The Time of the Cholera, A hundred years of Solitude and No one writes to the Colonel just a few of his great writings. A life full great and beautiful words.

  49. 49
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Probably outing myself as some sort of Philistine, but twice I’ve started to read 100 Years — because everyone says it’s so great — and I just couldn’t get the momentum going. I’ve read lots of books over the years, and I know I should read this one, but … magical realism just doesn’t work for me.

  50. 50
    Elizabelle says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    We’ll be a book club of two, but I think we will get more.

  51. 51
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: I’m in.

  52. 52
    Ronnie P says:

    The man knew how to write first lines.

  53. 53
    gogol's wife says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    It took me three or four tries, but it was worth it. Then I read a bunch more.

  54. 54
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @gogol’s wife: OK, thanks.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That news makes me very happy. Not quite sure why; I’m usually pretty meh about babies. But somehow, the idea of Bill and Hillary being grandparents just fills me with delight. All good wishes to Chelsea.

    P.S. Edit: I’m still having to enter my nym and email address every time I comment. What a pain in the ass. Is there some way to fix this annoyance?

    #yeahiknowfirstworldproblems #stillagiantpain

  56. 56
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m exactly the same way – and can’t tolerate magical realism in general. Nonetheless, I’m sorry to hear of the passing of a writer who brought delight and insight to others, even if not to me.

  57. 57
    JustRuss says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I read it in college, which was….quite a long time ago, and found it a hard slog. Might give it another shot. I hated Heart of Darkness in college, loved it on the second read.

  58. 58
    Ernest Pikeman says:

    I wish I could read him in Spanish. I’ve read most of his work in two translated languages.

    Other than 100 Years, Rushdie’s Midnight Children really blew the top of my head off when I first read it. Grass’ The Flounder comes close. Still haven’t gotten into Pynchon, maybe it’s time.

  59. 59
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JustRuss: I’m not averse to hard slogs. I’ve read Gaddis and Pynchon. Marquez and Rushdie just didn’t click for me.

  60. 60
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ernest Pikeman: Still haven’t gotten into Pynchon, maybe it’s time.

    My recommendation is to start with V. If that doesn’t work for you, I don’t think anything else will.

  61. 61
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Excellent recommendation. V was my first Pynchon novel..

  62. 62
    Hawes says:

    Love in the Time of Cholera is my favorite novel.

    But I don’t find this sad. David Foster Wallace was sad. I imagine Gabo being lifted off to paradise by a flock of yellow butterflies.

  63. 63
    Biscuits says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Me too! Picked it up because it was recommended to me by someone who’s opinion I respect. I just could not get into it. I found it overbearing and melodramatic. Maybe I should try again.

  64. 64
    lahke says:

    I first read 100 Years in Spanish when I was an exchange student in Colombia in 1969, and then had to share it around to all my friends because their parents had banned it (oooh, sex!). Everyone insisted that everything in the book had really happened: the episode of the massacre of the striking workers was based on the Bull Ring Massacre, etc. So the trappings might have been magic, but there was a lot of reality it was based on.

  65. 65
    Bunji says:

    100 years of solitude has been over and over and over, listed at the top of the best novels by so many serious readers. No excuse, read it. And weep with joy and sadness and every other human emotion.

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