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Remembering Gabriel García Márquez (1928-2014)

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The staff of the Library was saddened to hear of the death of the renowned Latin American writer and journalist, Gabriel García Márquez, who died at his home in Mexico City on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, García Márquez was a formidable influence in world literature and a widely quoted commentator on Latin American politics and culture. His influence is attested to by the size of the Library’s collection which includes more than 700 titles by or about him in fifteen different languages, including Japanese, Polish, Hebrew and Quechua.

His breakthrough novel, Cien años de soledad, published in Spanish in 1967 and translated into English as One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1970, ushered in a new wave of Latin American literature. The novel chronicles the life of the fictional town of Macondo, based in part on García Márquez’s hometown of Aracataca, Colombia, and seven generations of the founding family, the Buendías. García Márquez created a complex world with characters and events that display the full range of human experience. For the reader, the pleasure of the novel derives from its fast-paced narrative, humor, vivid characters, and fantasy elements. In this world of “magical realism”, the author combined imaginative flights of fancy with social realism to give us unforgettable images of levitating priests, flying carpets, a four-year long rainstorm, and a young woman ascending to heaven while folding sheets (excerpted from The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century).   

Often heralded as the most influential Spanish language novelist since Cervantes, García Márquez was above all, a great writer, who lit our imaginations with both the beauty and reality of Latin America.   

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