Remembering Gabriel García Márquez

He left this world Thursday 17, April of 2014 wrapped in yellow butterflies, like the ones that preceeds the appearances of Mauricio Babilonia in "One Hundred years of Solitude".
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, known as "Gabo" was born on March 6, 1927, at 9 o´clock in the morning in Aracataca, a little town from Colombia situated in the department of Magdalena. Son of Gabriel Eligio García and Luisa Santiaga Márquez, he had ten brothers.
In 1929 her parents move to Sucre, and Gabriel was left to the care of his maternal grandparents, who would influence his life and literary creation.
His grandfather, who used to call him "Papalelo", had been colonel during the War of the Thousand Days and was described by the writer as his umbilical cord with history and reality because of the stories he told him. It was his grandfather who introduced him in the "Miracle of ice" by taking him frecuently to The United Fruit Company, scene that would be reproduced at the beginning of "One hundred years of solitude" and would remain in our memory for ever. His grandmother "Mina", Tranquilina Iguaran Cotes, told him stories full of superstitions, ghosts and omens, García Márquez point out these stories as an influence to deal with natural themes and extraordinary narrative situations. He describes her as an imaginative and superstitious woman, who filled the house with ghosts. According to the writer she was his first literary influence, he said he was inspired by the original way in which she treated the extraordinary as something completely natural when she told stories regardless how fantastic or unlikely could be, she always referred to them as an irrefutable truth. Grandmother Mina also inspired the character of Ursula Iguaran, one of the main characters of "One hundred years of solitude".
When he was a little boy he used to be serious and shy and he was called "The old men" by his mates. In 1947 pressured by their parents he begins to study law in the National University and moves to Bogota, city that impressed him for the silence and the introversion of its habitants. One year later he leaved the University due to "El Bogotazo", that implied the indefinite closure of the institution. He starts studying in Cartagena's university and writing for the newspaper "El Universal", thus begins as a journalist. Years later he works in "El Heraldo" and "El Espectador" at Bogotá city.
In 1955 he won the first price in the contest of the Asociation of writers and artists and published his first novel, "La Hojarasca". The book "Relato de un naufrago"
( Story of a castaway ) is censored by the regime of the general Gustavo Rojas Pinillas, the directors of "El Espectador" decided to send Gabo to Europe as a correspondent. In 1958 published "El coronel no tiene quien le escriba" and he get married with Mercedes Barcha, the woman who would fill with yellow flowers everyday at Garcia's Marquez studio. He met her in a student´s dance and he decided in the moment that he should marry her, he proposed to her since he was thirteen. The couple had two sons: Rodrigo and Gonzalo. They lived most of their lives in Mexico.
In 1966 starts writing "One hundred years of solitude", it was published on 1967, the novel constituted his masterpiece and would make him famous and remembered, also the main exponent of the Latin American magical realism and one of the most important novelist of the twentieth century.
Magical realism is a literary trend that emerged at mid-twentieth century, characterized by the narrative of unusual, fantastic and irrational acts in a realistic context. Garcia Marquez together with Julio Cortázar and Vargas Llosa, between others, was part of the important literary movement called "The Latin American Boom" that emerged between 1960 and 1970 when the work of a group of Latin American writers was distributed all around the world.
The novel sold thirty million of copies and was translated into more than thirty languages, in a week it sold 8000 copies and won four international awards. In 1969 the novel won the "Chianciano Aprecia" in Italy and was denominated The Best Foreign Book in France. In 1970 it was published in english and chosen as one of the best twelve books of the year in United States. He worked eight hours per day during eighteen months.
"One hundred years of solitude" is the story that tells the life of the family "Buendia" full of alchemy, gypsies that brings news of the new world and magical characters, it takes place in the mythical town "Macondo" a place invented by Garcia Marquez based in his hometown Aracataca, a typical little town of the Caribbean, warm and quiet at nap time, of dusty streets, influenced by legends and superstitions. Macondo felt so real for the popular imaginary that Aracataca became real famous in the world and in the year 2006 the people themselves wanted to change the name of the town into "Aracataca Macondo", however the votes were not enough and the town remained the real name. García Márquez birthplace is today a museum visited by thousands of tourist, also the statue of "Remedios la Bella", the house of the telegraphist and Melquiades grave are visited. Gabo used to say "Fortunately Macondo is not a place, but a state of mind that allows one to see what you want to see". He was inspired about Macondo when he returned at the age of fifteen to Aracataca with his mother to sell the grandparents house and he realized that the idealized village by him in his childhood was really a sad town remained in the old days. Macondo becomes in one more protagonist of the story that along the pages grows, decays, rises and transform by the strain "Buendia".
There is one hotel where to stay in Aracataca called "The gipsy residence" that opened in the year 2010 and offers tours through the town. Everything in Aracataca refers to Macondo, in the train station there are painted yellow butterflies, like the ones that preceeds the appearances of Mauricio Babilonia in the novel. They say anyone can find one of the brothers or sisters of the writer like Margarita, the girl who ate ground and who inspired the character of Rebeca Ulloa. In the Camellon street doing the same route that used to do Gabo to assist to Montessori school today there is a monument honoring Macondo.
In he won the Literature Nobel Prize, he wanted to donate his prize to create in Colombia a newspaper that should be called " El Otro". In 1985 published "Love in the Times of Cholera", novel that was inspired by his parents love story.
When his parents fell in love , Luisa's father ( mother of Gabo) the colonel Nicolás Ricardo Mejia didn't approve the relationship, because Gabriel Eligio García ( father of Gabo) who had arrived to Aracataca as a telegraphist was the son of a single mother, belonged to the Conservative Party and was a self-confessed womanizer. With the intention to separate the young lovers, Luisa was sent out of the city but Gabriel Eligio courtship her with violin serenades, love poems, letters and telegraphic messages. Finally Luisa got the permission to get married with him, what happened on June, 11 of 1926 in Santa Marta.

Today the entire world is crying for him but also celebrating and making tribute for the great life he had and the legacy he left us though his books and magic characters.
In Thursday 17 his hometown waked up with the chimes of the main church, it was the call for the mass that honored Gabo. Hundred of inhabitants hung butterflies and yellow flowers made of paper in the House of Culture of Aracataca. Secretary of Culture expressed that "is important to show that the whole town is with him". The municipality decree five days of mourning. President Santos ordered that flags be flown at half mast in the public buildings.
In Mexico the ashes were exposed in The Bellas Artes Pallace. Many of the guests weared yellow flowers, writer`s lucky charm. Gabo favorite music was played, like Bartok or Beethoven and also cumbia and vallenato from the colombian coast.
On the other side of the world, in Paris, France in the Latin Quartier were García Márquez lived while he was writing "El Coronel no tiene quien le escriba" he was remembered by a public act. Madrid Town Hall anounced that a street or a public building will be named after the writer´s name.
Since Friday 18 three thousand persons visited Gabo's house in Aracataca.
Gabo left this world but he didn't belong to it, he was part of a magical world, an fictional world that exist in the imagination of all of us, of all the people that read his books and could dream and fly with him. Gabo will live forever in his books and in readers minds.

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