Gabriel García Márquez’s oeuvre focuses on the nature of man, romantic love, and the political consciousness of Latin America. He has bagged numerous awards in his storied career, including a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez’s work ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude‘ was released in 1967 in Spanish as ‘Cien aos de Soledad‘. It was regarded as the author’s pinnacle achievement and the best representation of his brand of magic realism.
The epic saga of the Buendía family, which covers seven generations and a century of stormy Latin American history from the postcolonial 1820s to the 1920s, is told by the author. Amid a marsh, patriarch José Arcadio Buendía constructs the utopian city of Macondo.
The town, which was initially rich, draws hucksters and Gypsies, including the elderly writer Melquíades, a fictitious author. The town is virtually destroyed by a tropical storm that lasts for nearly five years, and by the fifth generation of the Buendía family, the family’s moral decay matches the town’s physical decay. Finally, a typhoon completely obliterates the city. By the book’s conclusion, Melquíades has been identified as the narrator; the text of the book is found in his enigmatic papers.
Time is continuously shifting, chapters are told out of sequence, and the relative importance of events isn’t always reflected in how much attention they receive on the page. The work has numerous plots and subplots that revolve around both the main characters of the Buendía family across generations and the ancillary characters who interact with them, as opposed to following a single protagonist through a linear series of events.
Love In The Time of Cholera
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, ‘Love in the Time of Cholera‘ takes place in northern Colombia. Fermina Daza and her two lovers, Florentino Ariza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino, are the primary characters in the story.
The beginning of the book takes place during Fermina Daza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino’s declining marriage. Fermina is 72 years old, Urbino is 80 years old, and on Pentecost Sunday, the doctor’s last day of life, he is attending to the suicide of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, a chess opponent and friend. After that, he goes to a party before going back home to get ready for Saint-funeral.
Amour’s The beloved parrot that belongs to Urbino hides in a mango tree at home; when Urbino tries to catch the bird, he dies after falling from a ladder. At her husband’s funeral, Florentino Ariza shows up and tells the recently bereaved Fermina Daza that they have been in love for more than 50 years.
The novel, which explores themes of love, aging, and death, is set in a South American community that has experienced wars and cholera outbreaks between the late 1870s and the early 1930s. It tells the story of two longtime lovers, Florentino Ariza, a talented artist, and Fermina Daza, a wealthy woman. Ironically, their spirit of unwavering love contrasts with the surrounding degradation of the physical body.
Autumn of the Patriarch
Six portions make up Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1975 novel ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’, which is set in the Caribbean and tells the story of a tyrant who holds onto power there until the eventual revolution overthrows him. Marquez referred to the novel as “a poem on the solitary of power” and painted the protagonist as an unstoppable autocrat condemned to repeat the same dreadful cycle of ascending to power and then falling from it. Even though different events put him in power every time, he always merges with the ruler he overthrows.
The fictitious tyrant was modeled on some real-life leaders, notably Spain’s Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Colombia’s Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, who ruled until just before the novel’s release. ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’ is regarded as one of the best contemporary works on oppressive governments and how they hold power. It explores themes of pride, authority, paranoia, and the way poverty and hopelessness lead to the rise of dictators.
The novella ‘Leaf Storm’ was García Márquez’s debut piece of long fiction to be published. The action in Leaf Storm takes place in Macondo during the first quarter of the 20th century, and it revolves around an anonymous doctor who is thought to be from France and who resided there for 25 years before committing suicide. Three narrators, a nine-year-old boy, his mother, and his grandfather, who attend the doctor’s wake, expose all of this, engaging the reader in a process of discovery.
The boy’s narrator often only discusses what is happening right now, focusing mostly on what he observes at the wake and how he is feeling. The mother’s perspective is broader; she shares details and tales that are not specific to the current situation but are mostly about her friends. The history of the doctor’s life and Macondo is given through the grandfather’s narration. This format allows for a deeper dive into Macondo’s reality than either a simple personal or strictly historical rendition would have permitted.
‘Leaf Storm’, according to Márquez, was modelled after Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’ (1930) both in structure and narrative perspective.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Published in 1981, the story describes the incidents leading up to the death of Santiago Nasar, a young man who is alleged to have stolen Angela Vicario’s virginity. After learning that Angela was not a virgin on her wedding night, her husband Bayardo San Roman takes her back to her home. When asked who stole Angela’s virginity, her twin brothers Pedro and Pablo Vicario learn that it was Santiago Nasar. Once they locate Santiago, the brothers execute him.
The writing style of the book is a ceremonial repetition of the activities leading up to a crime. It is told for the cathartic benefits of telling rather than following a conventional narrative arc.
What is Gabriel García Márquez’s best book?
There is no ‘best book’ as they all have their appeal and narrative. However, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude‘ remains his most recognizable and critically acclaimed work.
What book should one start with?
Any book will do just fine. They are all great works of fiction. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude‘ may be too convoluted and graphic for some people. ‘Love In The Time of Cholera‘ is a more accessible read.
What is the genre of García Márquez’s books?
García Márquez focuses a lot on magical realism and how it can be used to question and critique society.