By Ali Imran
WASHINGTON, April 18 : Tributes have been pouring in from political leaders, writers and the media as the world remembers Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian-born giant of Latin American literature, who Thursday passed away in his home in Mexico City at the age of 87.
Affectionately called as Gab the journalist-turned novelist had the unique ability to blend magic with realism, which led to creation of such masterpieces as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985).
Marquez won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.
His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old, the National Public Radio noted.
In writing profusely about the struggles, aspirations, tyranny, natural forces, conflicts and enduring human values, Marquez became one of the greatest literary figures of the 20th century and an inspiration to many.
The New York Times counted Marquez among a “select roster of canonical writers — Dickens, Tolstoy and Hemingway among them — who were embraced both by critics and by a mass audience.”
“Each new work of his is received by expectant critics and readers as an event of world importance,” the Swedish Academy of Letters said in awarding him the Nobel.
His biographers have noted his rise to fame with the publication of his magnum opus One Hundred Years of Solitude.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude is a towering book of enormous influence worldwide. And it is also as close as one could get to a perfect book,” says biographer Ilan Stavans.
“He was a nobody,” Stavans says. “He was really an unknown journalist and author of short stories, just beginning to make his career. He was, at that point, coming close to 40, and the fame and celebrity and this standing that he has as a literary giant of the 20th century really all coalesced in that particular moment when the book was published.”
Magic realism, according to Marquez, sprang from Latin America’s history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence, the Times said.
His Nobel Prize acceptance speech became famous as García Márquez said: “Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”
According to Chilean novelist, cited by the NPR, Ariel Dorfman in the speech Marquez spoke about “all the people who are marginal to history, who have not had a voice.”
“He gives a voice to all those who died. He gives a voice to all those who are not born yet. He gives a voice to Latin America.”
President Barack Obama was among the world leaders who paid tribute to the monumental works of the novelist:
“With the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, the world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers – and one of my favorites from the time I was young. I once had the privilege to meet him in Mexico, where he presented me with an inscribed copy that I cherish to this day. As a proud Colombian, a representative and voice for the people of the Americas, and as a master of the “magic realism” genre, he has inspired so many others – sometimes even to pick up the pen themselves,” Obama said in a White House statement.
Writing for The Washington Post, Marcela Valdes noted that by fusing two seemingly disparate literary traditions — the realist and the fabulist — García Márquez “advanced a dynamic literary form, magic realism, that seemed to capture both the mysterious and the mundane qualities of life in a decaying South American city.
“For many writers and readers, it opened up a new way of understanding their countries and themselves.
“He forged Latin America’s most contagious and original style. He wrote its most influential and popular books about the motives of tyrants and the endurance of love. And he explained what connects his perennial themes:
“You know, old friend, the appetite for power is the result of an incapacity for love.”