Garcia Marquez with his wife and children, in the late 1960s
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, world-renowned and Nobel awarded writer, would celebrate his 93rd birthday today, if he had not passed away in April of 2014. While there are many words that could describe Marquez’s brilliance, his creative word play, and his vision of a fantastical world, the best words to demonstrate these characteristics are his own.
For your reading pleasure, enjoy the excerpt below from Marquez’s classic novel, 100 Years of Solitude. In these three sentences, Marquez describes a father and son’s relationship, the dreams of the future, and the comfort of the past, in a way like no one else could. It seems appropriate on his birthday to remember how Marquez enjoyed toying with the concept of time, like child’s play:
“In the small separate room, where the walls were gradually being covered by strange maps and fabulous drawings, he taught the children to read and write and do sums, and he spoke to them about the wonders of the world, not only where his learning had extended, but forcing the limits of his imagination to extremes.
It was in that way that the boys ended up learning that in the southern extremes of Africa there were men so intelligent and peaceful that their only pastime was to sit and think, and that it was possible to cross the Aegean Sea on foot by jumping from island to island all the way to the port Salonika.
Those hallucinating sessions remained printed on the memories of the boys in such a way that many years later, a second before the regular army officer gave the firing squad the command to fire, Colonel Aureliano Buendia saw once more that warm March afternoon on which his father had interrupted the lesson in physics and stood fascinated, with his hand in the air and his eyes motionless, listening to the distant pipes, drums, and jingles of the gypsies, who were coming to the village once more, announcing the latest and most startling discovery of the sages of Memphis.”
– translated by Gregory Rabassa, 1970
Happy birthday, Gabito. And thank you for everything.
Today, remember a man with a unique world view, and celebrate his life and legacy by leaving your comment below or collaborating on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Everlasting Footprint.