This morning, on the front page of the Tampa Bay Times, I read the news that Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87. He was a towering literary figure of the last century, journalist, novelist, essayist, public intellectual, and Nobel laureate. His fiction became a pillar in a literary movement known as “magical realism,” an oxymoron that elevated the work of a school of South American authors and gained it global attention.
A journalist at heart who wrote for newspapers in Colombia during the 1950s, Márquez expressed dissatisfaction with the “magical” part of the literary equation, arguing that every word he had ever written was grounded in experience.
Colette Bancroft, book editor of the Tampa Bay Times, included in her tribute to Márquez, the author’s most famous passage, the first sentences of his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude”:
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Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.