Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Biography: Gabriel Garcia
Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez is famous for developing the style of magical realism, a genre of realism that incorporates elements of the fantastic. His most celebrated work, the 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has been translated into at least thirty-two languages and is considered a classic of contemporary literature. García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982.
García Márquez was born in the river town of Aracataca, Colombia, on March 6, 1927, the oldest of sixteen children born to Gabriel Eligio García and Luisa Santiaga Márquez. Until the age of eight, young Gabriel was raised by his maternal grandparents, whose stories activated his imagination. His grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía, told tales of the civil war in Colombia, and his grandmother, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán, spoke to him about ghosts, omens, and premonitions as if they were scientific truths. Her fantastical view of reality would later inspire Gabriel to write in the style later called magical realism.
García Márquez began his career as a journalist, writing editorials, columns, film reviews, and news articles for various newspapers. While working for the local newspaper El Heraldo in Barranquilla, Gabriel met regularly with a group of writers known as the Barranquilla Group. Contact with these writers and thinkers inspired him to pursue a literary career. In 1955, he published his first work of fiction, the novella Leaf Storm (Hojarasca). The central character in the story is an old colonel, like Gabriel’s grandfather.
In the late 1950s, he was sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent for Bogotá’s El Espectador. When he returned in 1958, he married his longtime sweetheart Mercedes Barcha. A year later, they had a son, Rodrigo. In 1961, they moved to Mexico City, where their second son, Gonzalo, was born.
In 1967, Gabriel García Márquez published the novel that would win him international fame, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad). The sweeping story spans one hundred years and tells the history of a Colombian family, the Buendías, in the fictional town of Macondo (based on the author’s real hometown of Aracataca). True events from Colombian history are blended with magical and fantastic happenings in a characteristic style known as magical realism, a style García Márquez believed reflected the unique worldview of Latin American people. One Hundred Years of Solitude became the best selling Spanish-language novel ever to be published after Don Quixote.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was followed by Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and then Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981). In 1982, García Márquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature on the strength of those three novels as well as a number of short stories. Other novels by Gabriel García Márquez include Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), The General in His Labyrinth (1989), Of Love and Other Demons (1994), and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004). Film adaptations have been made of his works, most recently Love in the Time of Cholera, which came out in 2007.
Gabriel García Márquez lives in Mexico City. He has written an autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale.