Death of a literary great: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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As a great fan of Colombian author, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I was very sad to hear of his death earlier this month, aged 87. Garcia Marquez died of pneumonia on April 17 2014 in Mexico City, where he had lived for over thirty years.

Garcia Marquez was best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), although he wrote a total of six novels, four novellas, five collections of short stories and seven non-fiction works. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on 8 December 1982, “for 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”. Garcia Marquez was the first Colombian and only the fourth Latin American to win the award.

Garcia Marquez is recognised by many as being one of the literary greats. When first hearing of his hospitalisation, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said his country was thinking of the author and said in a tweet “All of Colombia wishes a speedy recovery to the greatest of all time: Gabriel García Márquez”. Carlos Fuentes recognises him as “the most popular and perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes”.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez has long been one of my favourite authors and here I’ve listed some of my personal favourites, if you would like to discover his writing for yourself:

Syndetics book coverMemories of my melancholy whores / Gabriel García Márquez ; translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman.Memories of My Melancholy Whores
“Memories of My Melancholy Whores is a powerful novel about a man who, so far, has never felt love.
‘The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin’.
On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a newspaper columnist in Colombia decides to give himself ‘a night of mad love with a virgin adolescent’. But on seeing this beautiful girl he falls deeply under her spell. His love for his ‘Delgadina’ causes him to recall all the women he has paid to perform acts of love. And so the columnist realises he must chronicle the life of his heart, to offer it freely to the world.” (abridged from

Syndetics book coverChronicle of a death foretold / Gabriel Garca Marquez ; translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa.Chronicle of a Death Foretold
“Chronicle of a Death Foretold
is a compelling, moving story exploring injustice and mob hysteria by the Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.” (
Clandestine in Chile : the adventures of Miguel Littin / Gabriel Garcia Marquez ; translated by Asa Zatz.
“Miguel Littin, one of Chile’s most prominent film makers, was exiled 12 years ago by Pinochet and in 1985 he returned illegally in order to make a film. On completing the film he told the story to Marquez who writes it in the first person, putting himself in Littin’s shoes.” (

Syndetics book coverOf love and other demons / Gabriel Garcia Marquez ; translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman.Of Love and Other Demons
“Compelling and unforgettable, this remarkable, bittersweet story of a doomed love affair set in the colonial era “demonstrates that one of the masters of the form is still working at the height of his powers” (The New York Times). Amid the lush, coastal tropics of a South American seaport, an unruly, co pper-haired girl and a bookish priest are caught in a chaste, ill-fated love affair.” (Syndetics summary)

I also highly recommend the movie based on Garcia Marquez’s famous work, Love in the Time of Cholera:

Love in the time of cholera [videorecording] / a Stone Village Pictures production in association with Grosvenor Park Media ; a film by Mike Newell.
“Florentino is a poetry-writing telegraph operator who lives in a Central American city. He spots the graceful Fermina while making his rounds, and finds himself in love. While Florentino’s mother encourages the courtship, Fermina’s father absolutely forbids it. Years pass, and the well-born Dr. Urbino treats Fermina for a case of cholera. When Urbino proposes, Fermina accepts. A distraught Florentino decides to wait. With the help of his uncle, he amasses wealth of his own. All the while, he drifts from woman to woman, never really finding what he is looking for in a woman. After five decades of waiting, he gets a second chance to win Fermina’s heart.” (Library catalogue)