It was inevitable. He has been ill for a long time. It was just a matter of a year, two, maybe even months. But when the news came I did not want to hear it.
Garcia Marquez is the reason I am who I am. His books brought me – no, dragged me, kicking and screaming with horror and wonder, into Latin American literature. I read ‘El otoño del patriarca’ before I could speak Spanish properly, and the sheer power of Garcia Marquez’s word captivated me.
All the right things are said about him. He was a genius. His contribution to Latin American literature is incalculable. He is a world renowned author, who, like Borges, transgresses the borders of Latin America. But there is more to the man’s word – there is an inherent wildness, a force unlike any other that does not merely entertain. It makes you pay attention. It makes you remember it well after the book is read, the article is written, the exam is passed. You come back to it, again and again, just to feel that visceral presence in your mind.
I have been putting off writing this because I don’t want to admit that there won’t be any more word from him. But a tattered copy of ‘El otoño del patriarca’, with many pencil marks – some angry, some elated – is on my desk. And the word is in my heart.
If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment and re-read his work, if only a few pages, to keep the spirit alive and the word powerful.