Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Books

Nobel winner, literary giant Gabriel García Márquez dies

RECOMMENDED READING


Gabriel García Márquez, an international literary giant who brought a tiny Colombian village to enchanting life for tens of millions of readers and won the Nobel Prize for literature, has died.

Mr. García Márquez, who had been hospitalized recently for infections, died Thursday at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

Often called the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, Mr. García Márquez is credited with introducing modern Latin American literature to the wider world, creating a wave of success for himself and other writers that was dubbed el Boom. An accomplished journalist and author of literary nonfiction, Mr. García Márquez was best known for his fiction, particularly his masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Published in 1967, the novel made an indelible mark on readers and writers everywhere. Its epic tale of a mysterious and enduring family in the remote Colombian village of Macondo is told in a style called magical realism, a distillation of realism and fabulism that would influence generations of writers, including such major figures as Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie. American novelist William Kennedy called the novel "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race." One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 25 languages.

Mr. García Márquez drew upon his own early life for that novel and other works. Born March 6, 1927, in Aracataca, Colombia, which was the model for Macondo, he was the oldest of 11 children. Raised for several years by his grandparents before being sent to boarding school, he was a voracious reader who later cited Sophocles, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and especially William Faulkner as influences; he began writing while still a schoolboy.

Despite his father's wish that he be a lawyer, Mr. García Márquez became a cosmopolitan and sometimes controversial journalist, working and living in Europe and the United States as well as several Latin American countries. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha, a childhood friend. She survives him, as do their sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

Mr. García Márquez struggled at first as a writer of fiction, but the rapid and enormous success of One Hundred Years of Solitude allowed him to devote himself largely to writing short stories and novels, although he continued to write nonfiction as well.

He received the 1982 Nobel Prize for, as the citation said, "his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts."

A popular figure in Latin America known affectionately as "Gabo," he was also an outspoken public intellectual. His relationships with other public figures ranged from a feud with Peruvian author and politician (and fellow Nobel winner) Mario Vargas Llosa that devolved into a fist fight at one point, to a long and, according to the author, literature-based friendship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

For many years, Mr. García Márquez was refused visas to enter the United States because of his political views — he was a lifelong leftist and a vocal critic of U.S. imperialism. That changed when President Bill Clinton, a longtime fan, took office. In 1994, they dined together at the home of author William Styron on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Gabriel García Márquez," Clinton said in a statement Thursday. "From the time I read One Hundred Years of Solitude more than 40 years ago, I was always amazed by his unique gifts of imagination, clarity of thought, and emotional honesty. He captured the pain and joy of our common humanity in settings both real and magical."

Many of the books that Mr. García Márquez wrote after One Hundred Years of Solitude became bestsellers as well, and several of his short stories and novels were made into films, including the 2007 movie of his novel Love in the Time of Cholera, which starred Javier Bardem.

After publishing a memoir, Living to Tell the Tale, in 2002, Mr. García Márquez was less often seen in public. He was treated for lymphatic cancer in 1999 and was more recently reported to be suffering from dementia — an ironic twist worthy of one of his novels for a man whose work always revolved around the persistence and mutability of memory.

Mr. García Márquez sometimes protested the magical realism label given to his work, instead crediting its intensity to his experience of the world. As he said in a 1981 interview, "The truth is that there's not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination."

Times wires were used in this report.

Comments
What to watch this week: ‘Marvel’s Runaways,’ ‘Godless,’ Thanksgiving specials

What to watch this week: ‘Marvel’s Runaways,’ ‘Godless,’ Thanksgiving specials

MondayDavid Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize, 9 p.m., PBS: A special celebrating the work of Late Night and The Late Show host David Letterman.SERIES PREMIERE: Big Hero 6 the Series, 8 p.m., Disney Channel: The new animated series takes place after th...
Published: 11/20/17
Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

Video: Forget Pizza Rat. Meet St. Petersburg’s Pizza Squirrel

New York, it seems, doesn't have a monopoly on pizza-chomping rodents.Around 2:45 p.m. Friday, the Tampa Bay Times spotted a squirrel digging a nearly entire slice of pizza out of a trash can at 146 Second St. N in St. Petersburg. The squirrel hoppe...
Published: 11/17/17
Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

Here are this week’s pop culture winners and losers

WINNERS:Taylor SwiftFollowing the death of his mother, Gloria, The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon shared a touching story with the audience about his mom squeezing his hand three times and saying "I love you," when he was a kid. "Last week, I was in ...
Published: 11/17/17
Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

Review: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ pits rebellious teens against their evil parents

The parents in Runaways really are the worst.Hulu's new Marvel series follows a ragtag group of teenagers who have to band together to defeat their own parents, who are collective members of a secret criminal organization called the Pride.In the wake...
Published: 11/17/17
What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

What to watch this weekend: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Search Party,’ Elizabeth Smart Lifetime movie

GRIEF AND GUNS: THE PUNISHERMarvel fans first saw Marine veteran Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) in Netflix's Daredevil series. The brutish anti-hero finally gets his own series with The Punisher, exploring what he did after helping Daredevil (Charlie Co...
Published: 11/17/17
Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

Jesmyn Ward is having a good year.At a glamorous ceremony Wednesday night in New York, Ward was named the winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Sing, Unburied, Sing, about a Mississippi family's epic road trip. The book is Ward's third novel ...
Published: 11/16/17
Review: George Saunders’ ‘Sea Oak’ makes a dead-funny TV comedy

Review: George Saunders’ ‘Sea Oak’ makes a dead-funny TV comedy

Recently, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.And now he has a TV show about zombies!Saunders, one of America’s best writers of fiction, won the 2017 Booker for his splendid novel Lincoln in t...
Published: 11/16/17

Events: Tampa historians to sign books at hurricane relief benefit

Book TalkNancy Christie (Rut-Busting Book for Writers) will sign her book at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at 321 Books, 6901 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg.John Cinchett (Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes), Rex Gordon (History of Hillsborough High School), Linda ...
Published: 11/16/17
What’s Elaine M. Hayes reading?

What’s Elaine M. Hayes reading?

NightstandElaine M. HayesHayes, the author of Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan, said she was a college student when Vaughan’s voice first captivated her. "My roommate played a lot of her in our daily life. I remember thinking that s...
Published: 11/16/17
Your heart can go on when ‘Titanic’ returns to theaters

Your heart can go on when ‘Titanic’ returns to theaters

It's the holiday season, so why not capitalize on a beloved film by bringing it back to theaters for a limited engagement?That's what Dolby Laboratories, Paramount Pictures and AMC Theaters are doing, announcing that a remastered version of Titanic w...
Published: 11/15/17