Chronicle of a Life Changed: a kind of eulogy for Marquez 1927-2014

DSCN0578In 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.

Kwame

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4 Responses to Chronicle of a Life Changed: a kind of eulogy for Marquez 1927-2014

  1. deweydecimalsbutler says:

    Right there with you. Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude was a new experience for me, and I’ve adored his style of writing ever since.

  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude was awesome, but I have to admit that it took me a while to build up to reading that one.

  3. Melinda says:

    I only read One Hundred Years of Solitude halfway, and I think I should finish it. I just didn’t like the book very much. I have heard that Love in the time of cholera is great, which I have on my kindle. Will get to it soon.

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