Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the towering literary colossus and Nobel Prize winning Colombian author, passed away today at age 87.
While not from Spain, it’s impossible to ignore the massive contribution Garcia Marquez has made to the written Spanish language. We’re certainly not literature experts here at The Spanish Red nor claim to be, but when you consider the avalanche of glowing academic praise showered on Gabriel Garcia Marquez over the past 40 years, some that even elevates One Hundred Years of Solitude to the heights of Don Quijote by Cervantes, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious. One can safely state this amazing book is a masterpiece not only for our time, but for all time.
Front-page eulogies appear on major newspapers globally, including The Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post and countless others – take your pick. Garcia Marquez’s passing is one of those remarkable moments that transcends the normal borders of a particular country or language. It’s a global moment, and today the world celebrates a monumental life’s work.
I remember reading One Hundred Years of Solitude as a 20-year old college student. Like millions of readers everywhere, that tremendous first line immediately captivated my attention and propelled me through the 450 pages that followed:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
The original, in Spanish:
Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.
Thank you, Mr. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.