21 April, 2014

Farewell to Gabo

Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

I read Gabo's mythic novel for the first time as a university student, and it took my breath away, left me wandering around wide-eyed, stupid, over-the-moon and ecstatic for days afterwards — I have no idea how many times I have returned to the town of Macondo since my first reading, to the most beautiful work of magical realism ever written, the finest novel of them all in my book {period}.

A cloud of yellow butterflies follows a character wherever he goes in life.  A plague of sleeplessness keeps Macondo awake for an age, and the town's residents descend into the "quicksand of forgetfulness" as a result of unrelenting insomnia.  They post labels everywhere so they will not forget what mundane things are named, and they dread the day when they will no longer remember how to read what they have written.  Having lost their memories of the past, they invent new ones for themselves by reading decks of cards.  Visitations from ghosts are common occurrences in Macondo.  One character ascends into the sky as she is folding a white sheet, others move from life into death and then back into life again — there is magic everywhere.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away last week in his late eighties, and this world and everyone in it is poorer for his passing.  Wherever Gabo is now, I would like to think he is still writing, even if we unascended mortals are somewhere else entirely and unable to read his new "stuff".  If you have not already read One Hundred Years of Solitude, find a copy of the book, park yourself in a quiet out-of-the-way corner and get ready to be amazed and enchanted.  If you are reading the novel for the first time, I envy you.

3 comments:

sandra hagan said...

I have not read One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I am now on the lookout for Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writings.

Tabor said...

OK...now I have to read it!!

Cari said...

Thank you for this wonderful tribute to "Gabo" (I had not heard this name for him) and for reminding me to re-read this book, which has been sitting idle for far too many years on my shelf (but survived the cull of last summer). You made me feel the magic again. Always wonderful to visit your place here and read and look.