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Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from Columbia, has to his credit some of the most grandiose literary legacies ever. The author of about 25 books, including sever works of long  fiction, short stories, novellas, non-fictions and memoirs, he is truly a prolific author. The literary world raves on and on about him, and today we will see 10 reasons you should read Marquez books?

The magical realism his books shine with

Marquez is credited with, if not creating, then perfecting and defining the genre of literary fiction called magical realism. Magical realism refers to narratives that are rooted in reality, but either have one fantastical element to them or which flow like fantasy. The worlds have an undercurrent of fantasy, giving the works an otherworldly feeling. In Marquez’s magnum opus, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ for instance, a whole town falls prey to insomnia.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez opening sentences

Almost all of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s opening lines are memorable. Take, for instance ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ – ‘Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon his father took him to see ice’. Or look at ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ – ‘It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love’. Or ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ – ‘On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on’.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books

The distant but incisive treatment of characters

Marquez’s books are usually characterized by a whole host of characters, but no one is really the protagonist. Especially in 100 Years of Solitude, the narrative shifts through the smaller narratives and stories of many characters. All these characters are important, and we get insights into all their lives, but the narrator is detached. It almost feels like a watching a movie, the world is so different you’re distant from it, but you still know the most intimate parts of everyone’s life.

His off-beat plots and themes

Marquez rarely writes about commonplace things. His plots and treatment of themes is always out of the ordinary and very original. In ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’, for instance, death is a cliché theme, but the plot makes it unique. We follow a town, all of whose residents know a man is to be murdered, but for several reasons are unable to stop the death. The death is thus, foretold, but not prevented. This makes his books highly engaging. In ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, we follow the simple story of an unrequited love that finds fruition in old age, but the book is so much more than that. It has dozens of intricate sub-plots, which make it all the more wonderful.

The sensuousness of his prose

Marquez’s language is breathtaking, something that is preserved in his literary translations. It’s a sensory experience to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez – his sentences simultaneously satisfy your thirsts of sight, sound, smell and taste. This quality of his work transports you to a different world, a world in high definition almost.

His inclusion of authentic Latin American culture

All of Marquez’s works are rooted in his Columbian, and Latin American culture. They roll and bask in the sunshine of the Caribbean, and have it ingrained in their very being. Every sentence, word, letter of his echoes with the tremendousness of the Latin American lands. And since his novels are experiential and so very sensory, we, as readers, can touch and smell and hear the Caribbeans, no matter where we are. Reading Marquez is a form of teleportation.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 10 Reasons You Should Read Marquez Books

The subtle investigation of the human mind and sociopolitics

Even as Marquez writes literary fiction bordering on fantasy, some aspects of his world are far from fantastic. The banana plantation owners in ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ are proponents of a capitalist imperialism, and violators of the indigenous Macondo residents. In ‘Of Love and Other’ demons, Marquez explores the idea of social isolation due to mindless superstitions. Plus, he also talks about the legal and medical systems in Latin America, as well as mental health systems. Marquez never opines or directly, overtly discusses politics or social orders in his work, but like any writer work his salt, he acts like a mirror to society. A misty, dreamlike, otherworldly looking mirror, but a mirror nonetheless.

His brilliant, whimsical and out-of-the world language

With long sentences with many clauses and often complex imagery. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s style is not the easiest to understand but perhaps one of the most beautiful. As aforementioned, his language seeks of sensory hedonism, and is overflowing with imagery of all kinds. His language is also very fluid and very lucid, like a river that accumulates many tributaries into itself.  Scenes melt into one another and the lines between them blur together, in a celebration  of unity of action through diversification of mini-narratives.

The temporal structure of Gabriel Garcia Marquez works

what Marquez does with time is truly out of the world. He warps time, twists it and turns it and creates magic out of it. His works are not temporally structured in a linear or even back and forth way. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ has a cyclical time structure, with certain events, like the arrival of gypsies or deaths of Aurelianos recurring time and again. Similarly, in ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’, Marquez creates a narrative time like a jigsaw puzzle, with pieces coming together one by one. And then suddenly, the whole picture comes into focus.

His larger-than-life treatment of everything, especially love

Nothing about Gabriel Garcia Marquez is even remotely subtle. With all the loudness, pomp, and larger-than-life-ness of the Latin American culture, Marquez crafts stories about extremes. Florentino Aziza, in ‘Love in the Time for Cholera’ is a story about an extraordinary love bordering on senseless obsession. Aziza’s love is intense and very, very passionate. It brings his own destruction in its wake – it is potent and powerful. Almost all emotions in Marquez’s works are magnified, glorified and intensified.

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