A studying information to legendary Colombian creator Gabriel García Márquez

Begin with the tales, I inform my college students. In spite of everything, it’s the place I began. Like them, I as soon as was a group faculty pupil who cherished to learn. Again then, Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate, was the author to learn. However, maybe additionally like my college students (and a few readers), I used to be intimidated by the legend, the epic novels and perhaps slightly skeptical of probably the most celebrated work.

I used to be — and am — extra curious concerning the minor books of Colombia’s García Márquez, particularly the early work. The brief tales and the novellas and his journalism are each instructive and galvanizing.

Because the L.A. Instances Ebook Membership reads his son Rodrigo Garcia’s new memoir, “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes,” it’s an ideal time to savor the writing of the famend father.

Rodrigo Garcia is the creator of “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes,” a remembrance of his dad and mom.

(Rodrigo Garcia/HarperVia)

Right here’s the place to begin studying — or rereading.

Three exemplary collections

My slim Penguin paperback copy of “No One Writes to the Colonel” sports activities a sticker with its authentic value of $1.75. The gathering of tales and title novella has by no means gone out of print. The identical is true of two different collections of brief tales paired with transient novellas: “Leaf Storm and Different Tales” and “Harmless Eréndira and Different Tales.”

These tales supply a primer-like introduction to the sensibility and themes that distinguish García Márquez’s acclaimed work — particularly the magic realism that propelled the Latin American Increase, a dynamic literary motion that first detonated within the ‘60s. Usually in fewer than a dozen pages, the author creates the dreamy feat present in his for much longer novels: a person who meets the love of his life “six months and eleven days” earlier than his demise; the small city dentist with justice on his thoughts who contemplates the murderous mayor as his affected person; the angel who falls to earth and “rewards” his followers with paradoxical miracles; the good-looking useless man who washes ashore and transforms a city together with his lifeless magnificence. As ever, the twinned sense of burgeoning need, whether or not for love or for justice or each, combines with the burden of future, the inevitability of loss and demise.

These tales are gems of the magical realism style that use the improbable or surreal in an in any other case real looking narrative, although it’s nearly too benign or deceptive a time period. Certainly, García Márquez rejected the adjective “magical,” assigned by outsiders who maybe couldn’t acknowledge or reconcile a number of realities. He was writing, he insisted, the lived actuality of Latin America, unimaginable to some.

Fervent followers of García Márquez additionally will discover a lot to take pleasure in within the shorter work, “Leaf Storm,” particularly in how the city of Macondo, well-known from the novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” makes its first look years earlier within the novella, together with that disruptive banana firm.

An oft-overlooked novel

In The Autumn of the Patriarch,” a lesser-known however wildly formidable García Márquez novel, a seemingly immortal illiterate tyrant guidelines his nation by worry and deception. It’s a fever dream of a novel about political energy wielded by a ruler who manipulates media and makes use of spectacle, together with a self-enriching lottery rip-off, to mesmerize. He sells the ocean to overseas pursuits. He assaults ladies, taunts and tortures opponents and is worshipped by deranged followers. Generals conspire to have the despot institutionalized solely to be fed considered one of their very own at a banquet as a cautionary lesson.

When the novel was revealed within the mid-’70s, the composite mannequin for this imperishable tyrant was Spain’s Francisco Franco and the rogues’ gallery of Caribbean and Latin American caudillos, or “robust males.” Learn at this time, the depiction gives irresistible if perverse perception not solely into the previous however into our personal present political state of affairs.


Like many writers, García Márquez started in newspapers. Aficionados and newbies alike ought to think about “The Scandal of the Century and Different Writings,” a wide-ranging assortment illuminating the real-life political considerations and characters that form his celebrated fiction. He reveals the plight of a lone shipwrecked sailor surviving days at sea, the thriller of a useless lady washed up on an Italian seashore, the race in opposition to the clock to find the life-saving antidote for a younger little one — nothing is as easy because it appears, ever. By way of sharply rendered element and punctiliously paced narrative, García Márquez does what nice journalists do: make readers care. Concurrently, he makes bigger factors, invariably about energy, corruption and injustice together with the mysteries of human nature.

These less-celebrated “different writings” embody articles about barbers, revolutionaries, water shortages, writers (in fact) and, my private favourite, an elegiac essay on the demise of John Lennon with a cameo of Mexican author Carlos Fuentes typing with one finger, “remoted from the horrors of the universe” whereas blasting the Beatles. None of that is removed from his fiction. It suggests a first-draft effort at reporting earlier than reworking it into a special artwork kind. Learn at this time, every is the stuff of award-winning investigative journalism or a binge-worthy podcast.

All through the a long time, Gabriel García Márquez created a multigenre physique of labor earlier than his demise in 2014 at 87. He endures as an every-writer for practically each reader. Whether or not via his novels, brief tales or journalism, his work stays related and pressing in each predictable and shocking methods.

Celebrated as a magical realist, Gabriel García Márquez was not a magician, although his writing absolutely casts a spell. Magic is obfuscation, deception, sleight of hand. His work workout routines its reverse. A dependable witness, an internationally acclaimed public mental, he, like George Orwell, instructed the reality in wildly imaginative fiction, unflinching essays and courageous reportage. His reality is required greater than ever now.

Lisa Alvarez is a author, editor and professor who teaches English at Irvine Valley Faculty and is codirector of the Group of Writers in Olympic Valley.

Ebook Membership: Be a part of us

Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia, creator of “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes” will probably be in dialog with Instances editor Steve Padilla on the Los Angeles Instances Ebook Membership.

When: July 29 at 6 p.m. PT

The place: Free live-streaming occasion on Fb, YouTube and Twitter. Join on Eventbrite.

Extra data: latimes.com/bookclub

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