In the wee hours of the morning my wife and I were in the office on the couch/bed waiting for the internet to kick back in. It had been giving trouble all yesterday evening and I had some work to submit.
The internet kicked back in and I headed straight to my email. While I was checking my messages, Lisa looked over at me and said casually “Oh yeah, Gabriel Marquez died, I saw it on the BBC, but I forgot to tell you.”
I couldn’t believe it.
When I went over to Facebook I was bombarded by death announcements of Gabriel Garcia Marquez; a combination of friends and some online magazines that I follow.
For me, Marquez will always represent my rite of passage to adult reading. I discovered Marquez in my more wayward years when my only virtue was the love of reading.
Back then, I was in the habit of borrowing DVDs and books from an uncle of mine whose movie watching and reading tastes more or less paralleled mine.
So one day I headed over there looking for something good to read when he presented me with a slim paperback called Chronicle of a Death Foretold. In his usual abrupt way he said “read that”. The very next day I went back and borrowed a slim hard-cover called Memories of My Melancholy Whores.
At the time I had no idea what magical realism was, all I knew is that I had never read anything like this before and I wanted more.
Later on on my own, I discovered One Hundred Years of Solitude, Of Love and Other Demons and Love in the Time of Cholera ( which is my favourite Marquez novel to date). I still haven’t seen the movie, which I’ve heard mixed reviews about.
I am still haunted by his short story, “Ghost Ship”, which I found in The Oxford Book of Caribbean Stories edited by Stewart Brown and the late John Wickham.
Through Marquez, I discovered writers like Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabelle Allende and, many years later, Haruki Murakami.
Through Marquez, I discovered a new way of seeing the world.