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Gabriel García Márquez: A Lifeby Gerald Martin
Synopses & Reviews
The first full and authorized biography of the 1982 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literaturethe most popular international novelist of the last fifty years. Over the course of the nearly two decades Gerald Martin gave to the research and writing of this masterly biography, he not only spent many hours in conversation with Gabriel Garcia Marquez himself but also interviewed more than three hundred others, including Garcia Marquez's wife and sons, mother and siblings, literary agent and translators; Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Alvaro Mutis, among other writers; Fidel Castro and Felipe Gonzalez, among other political figures; his closest friends as well as those who consider themselves his detractors. The result is a revelation of both the writer and the man. Garcia Marquez's story is a remarkable one. Born in 1927, raised by grandparents and a clutch of aunts in a small backwater town in Colombia, the shy, intelligent boy matured into a reserved young man, first working as a provincial journalist and later as a foreign correspondent, whose years of obscurity came to an end when, at the age of forty, he published the novel entitled Cien anos de soledad One Hundred Years of Solitude. Within months, the book had garnered spectacular international acclaim, the author hailed as the standard-bearer of a new literature: magical realism. Eight years later, in 1975, he published The Autumn of the Patriarch, and, in 1981, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, each novel rapturously received by critics and readers alike. With his books read by millions around the world, he had become a man of wealth and influence. Yet, for all his fame, he never lost touch with his roots: though he had lived outside of Colombia since 1955in Barcelona, Mexico City, Parishis Nobel Prize was celebrated by Colombians from all walks of life who thought, and still think, of "Gabo" as their own. More books followed, both fiction (Love in the Time of Cholera, The General in his Labyrinth, Memories of My Melancholy Whores) and nonfiction (The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, News of a Kidnapping, Living to Tell the Tale). But Garcia Marquez's renown and passion have continued to combine, as well, in a fervent, unflagging, and often controversial political and social activism. While chronicling the particulars of the life, Martin also considers the overarching issues: the tension between Garcia Marquez's celebrity and his quest for literary quality, and between his politics and his writing; the seductions of power, solitude, and love. He explores the contrast between the exuberance of the writer's Caribbean background and the authoritarianism of highland Bogota, showing us how these differences are manifest in his writing and in the very shape his life has taken. He explores the melding of experience and imagination in Garcia Marquez's fiction, and he examines the writer's reasons forand the public's reaction tohis turning away in the 1980s from the magical realism that had brought him international renown, toward the greater simplicity that would mark his work beginning with Love in the Time of Cholera. Gerald Martin has written a superb biography: richly illuminating, as gripping as any of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's powerful journalism, as enthralling as any of his acclaimed and beloved fiction.
Describes the life and accomplishments of the Columbian novelist, from his childhood and early career to his Nobel Prize in Literature and his exploits as a political and social activist.
In this exhaustive and enlightening biography—nearly two decades in the making—Gerald Martin dexterously traces the life and times of one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary titans, Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel García Márquez.
Martin chronicles the particulars of an extraordinary life, from his upbringing in backwater Columbia and early journalism career, to the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude at age forty, and the wealth and fame that followed. Based on interviews with more than three hundred of Garcia Marquez’s closest friends, family members, fellow authors, and detractors—as well as the many hours Martin spent with ‘Gabo’ himself—the result is a revelation of both the writer and the man. It is as gripping as any of Gabriel García Márquez’s powerful journalism, as enthralling as any of his acclaimed and beloved fiction.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gerald Martin is Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Research Professor in Caribbean Studies at London Metropolitan University. For twenty-five years he has been the only English-speaking member of the “Archives” Association of Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature in Paris, and he is a recent president of the International Institute of Ibero-American Literature in the United States. Among his publications are Journeys Through the Labyrinth: Latin American Fiction in the Twentieth Century and several contributions to the Cambridge History of Latin America. He lives in England.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements — Maps — Foreword — Prologue : from origins obscure (1800-1899) — pt. I. Home : Colombia : 1899-1955 — 1. Of colonels and lost causes (1899-1927) — 2. The house at Aracataca (1927-1928) — 3. Holding his grandfather's hand (1929-1937) — 4. Schooldays : Barranquilla, Sucre, Zipaquir
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