Written by Karine St-Jean

 

Biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1928-

 

            Gabriel José García Márquez was born in March 1928 in Aracataca, a banana town in the Caribbean. He was raised by his maternal grandparents for the first eight years of his life. His parents were poor when he was born; so, his grandparents took care of him. However, he went back to his parents after his grandfather’s death. His grandfather was a colonel who was fighting for his people. His grandmother used to tell him folk superstitions and beliefs that inspired him later.

            García Márquez is one of the world’s greatest writers and he studied law and journalism. He is the founder of the Prensa Latina, which is a Cuban press agency. He worked in the New York and Havana offices. This novelist and short story writer is an important figure in the Magic Realism Movement which combines fantasy with realistic fiction. A lot of people associate García Márquez with magic realism since he incorporates that movement in some of his work, such as “A Very Old man with Enormous Wings”, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and “Leaf Storm”.

            Gabriel García Márquez married Mercedes Barcha Pardo in 1958 and they had two children. Throughout his life he travelled around Europe and he was inspired by many other authors. Some important writers such as Juan Rulfo, Virginia Wolf, and William Faulkner influenced his works. His life changed when he read “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. The story affected him and made him aware that literature does not have to follow a straight traditional plot: "I thought to myself that I didn't know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago" (The Modern World, 1999). Kafka made him remember his grandmother’s superstitious tales that she told him in such a realistic voice. William Faulkner was also a great influence for García Márquez. He was amazed to see Faulkner’s ability to rephrase his childhood in a mythical past, so he considered Faulkner’s work in his writing.          

            Gabriel García Márquez published his first short stories in 1940. His most valuable work, Cien Anos de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), earned him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. This work was mostly inspired by his grandmother’s stories. Like many great writers, García Márquez took events from his life and integrated them into his writing. The political history of Columbia played an increasing role in the issues his works targeted. Márquez took experiences and events from his own life and from the conditions of Columbian political history to create magical stories well after his exile from his native land.

            García Márquez is still alive today. However, in 1999, he has been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. He tries to accept his illness by writing his memoirs. The first volume was published in 2001 and is called Vivir para Contrarla (To Live to Tell It).          

           

            In conclusion, this renowned Latin American author is certainly one of the initiators of Magic Realism into literature. He has been influenced by many other authors, but he was certainly inspired by his grandmother’s stories and the history of his native town. Gabriel García Márquez is certainly one of the most prestigious authors known all around the world.

Other Important Works

      Ø      Leaf Storm, and Other Stories. (La hojarasca. 1955)

Ø      No One Writes to the Colonel. (El coronel no tiene quien le escriba. 1961.)

Ø      Collected Stories. (1984)

Ø      The General in his Labyrinth. (El general en su laberinto. 1989)          

  Works Cited