A fan of American writer William Faulkner, García Márquez fashioned his first books after works by Faulkner. He had trouble finding his own voice. Uninspired by the law career his family chose for him, he traveled the world from 1955 to 1960 in search of interesting stories to tell: Many he wrote as journalism.
He located his family in Mexico City in 1960 and for the first time in many years, settled in. His third novel, which had won a literary contest in Colombia, was sent to Spain to be published and the publisher crudely revised it beyond recognition. Heartbroken, García Márquez put down his pen for three long years. At the beginning of 1965, the author's writers' block had become so severe he was telling friends he would never write again. On his way out of Mexico City on vacation with his wife and two young sons, the opening chapter—one of the most powerful in all literature—started forming in his head.
Not one to let inspiration slip by, he turned the car around and asked his wife to take care of their finances for what he thought would be the six months he'd need to finish. Instead, Gabriel García Márquez wrote furiously for eighteen months straight. He toiled for eight hours every day. His novel grew thick and complicated. His character list grew to more than 100—like a Noah's Ark of personality-types with every kind of person he could imagine represented. In the end, he had produced an enduring novel of such stature it secured his reputation as an accomplished author for a lifetime.
And the People Cheer
Before One Hundred Years of Solitude, almost no one had heard of this Colombian author outside of Latin America. In fact, not many people in the Western Hemisphere had read a Spanish book in English translation. García Márquez brought many important things to the world. The politics and passions of Colombians became less foreign, and better understood. His unique blend of magic and reality casts a spell over readers worldwide, indeed launched an entirely new genre of fiction—magical realism—a genre that captures the ethos of his culture. Gabriel García Márquez brought life to the pages. Life that was grimy and sexy, mysterious and complicated, tragic and so big it fills our hearts and minds to overflowing. Gabriel García Márquez wrote a novel for all of us—including you—to savor with every one of your senses and every ounce of your soul.
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