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Forever in the thick of it

Inimitable author Gabriel García Marquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude turns 40 this year, writes Gitanjali Dang.

books Updated: Jul 16, 2007 14:19 IST
Gitanjali Dang

If the year 2007 were to belong to any one writer then you can rest assured that Gabriel García Marquez would not be an also-ran in the race. Not that he has ever run the risk of being one.

Year to remember This year is of significance, both for the Columbian man of letters and for the literary culture he has been a towering influence over. To begin with, on March 6, Marquez turned 80.

Although Marquez, aka Gabo, now lives in Mexico City, only occasionally visiting his native land, his countrymen heralded the beginning of the writer's octogenarian years by firing 80 cannon shots in his Caribbean hometown Aracataca.

Memorable lines from One Hundred Years of Solitude



THE WORLD
must be all f**ked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight.



A PERSON doesn't die when he should but when he can.



IT WAS the last that remained of a past whose annihilation had not taken place because it was still in a process of annihilation, consuming itself from within, ending at every moment but never ending its ending.

Magic talk The year also marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). The book was, on its publication, extolled by The New York Times as "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race."

You may disagree with the analogy or think it as being a tad hyperbolic, but you cannot deny the influential character of the book.

After he successfully detonated his second novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, on literary scenes across the world, he has never slipped out of the consciousness of self-respecting bibliophiles.

Marquez is accepted as the big daddy of Magic Realism, not just by the third year literature student, but even by the spiffy literary soirées types.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is often perceived as being synonymous with the genre.

Always majestic Marquez has always been an eminently engaging writer.

Feel free to amble past his 2000 word paean to Columbian booty-shaker Shakira in The Guardian where he wrote, "…she has invented her own brand of innocent sensuality," and you will encounter some majestic writing. Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) are a couple of cases in point.

All said and done, even those dead against the exercise of canon building wouldn't have any qualms declaring One Hundred Years of Solitude as Marquez's best.

Oh yes… 2007 also marks 25 years since Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. How's that for a good year and we're only at the halfway point.