It is with grief that I say goodbye to one of the greatest writers of our time. One who embellished literature with his magic-realism words and inspired many people. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel Prize winner, died at age 87. Nevertheless, his words are more alive than ever. He didn’t die when he should; he died when he could.
When I received the news yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t help but to remember the time when I walked inside a library in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I was excited, as I always am whenever I enter the literary paradise. I began to ramble between the aisles, carefully scanning each and every shelf, wishing it were possible to have all books at once.
High up in a lonely shelf, stood a book that at this point you might have already guessed which was it. One Hundred Years of Solitude was calling me in desperate need of being brought home, the pages were screaming for a pair of eyes to dance through its lines. And so, I took it down. My mother has always encouraged me to read, but this time she proposed I chose a less complex book, claiming that I wouldn’t understand it at the moment. But I was stubborn and she was right.
It took me a while to finish it for the first time. The book kept me going back and forth, remembering who was who and a little unaware of what was really going on. Once I turned the last page, I was confused. I wasn’t sure whether I had liked it or not. Now I realize, that at that moment, I was yet to understand the mirroring effect it has. And while I thought that just by it being an entangled magical story, I was about to see it as much more than just a literary piece.
Last year, Gabriel Garcia Marquez became part of my family, and I became part of his world. One Hundred Years of solitude accompanied me through my last year of high school and I acknowledge Lucia Rodezno for strongly helping me experience life at Macondo.
The Buendia Family became my family. I grieved whenever they did, loved whenever they loved and I couldn’t wait but to read the last page of the parchment. I’m still interested in solving the only mystery that was never clarified in Macondo, and I definitely confirmed my doubts about the earth – It is round like an orange. I was intimidated by Remedio La Bella’s beauty. I trusted Melquiades. I realized that love is nothing but a plague, and yet is inevitable. And not even if you run from it like Amaranta, will you be able to escape it. Ursula taught me that time passes, and from Colonel Aureliano, that it passes but not so much.
Each and every of Garcia Marquez’s masterpieces are adorned with Latin America culture, crafted with the mind of a journalist and the skill of an artist. When reading his books, you feel as if you are in a family meeting.
By the second time I read it, I saw my country’s history reflected. Nicaragua is also Macondo and has fought hard to develop. Nicaraguans are still deciphering the parchment, and I can only hope that one day in the near future the last word in Sanskrit will read: Democracy. Rather than have it blown away and dissapear. And that finally, we are allowed a second chance in the world.
Garcia Marquez exquisitely describes our solitude as an ethnicity. But a question still lingers, and it is not whether or not we are given a second chance in the world, because we learned that the linages condemmed to one hundred years of solitude do not get a second chance on earth. But the question is whether we’ll allow us to have the second chance and not let our country downfall.
Chilean writer Isabel Allende wrote, “We are Macondo.” And she can’t be more right.
Farewell Gabo, as you once said, it was the outsized reality and not just the literary expression of your novel, that deserved the attention of the Swedish Academy of Letters.