IN his magnum opus, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote: “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” Unfortunately, the Columbian Nobel Prize winner will not be able to celebrate his memories as a novelist, short story writer and journalist as he has been diagnosed with dementia.
His brother, Jaime Garcia Marquez, told a group of students at a lecture: “He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I am losing him.”
One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into 37 languages, with many writers claiming Marquez as perhaps the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes. He achieved critical acclaim for popularising magic realism in fiction, by blurring the lines between fantasy and reality to such extent that distinguishing between the two became impossible.
Marquez has been fighting a long battle, since 1999, against lymphatic cancer and it is widely believed that the chemotherapy treatment, along with a genetic inclination towards the disease, have greatly accelerated his mental decline. But he still has “the humour, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had,” said Jamie.
His stories have a wealth of imagination and experience, and his narrative is almost unmatched. Every great work of his is inspired by politics, oppression and economic exploitation. By creating a world around the imaginary town of Macondo, Marquez weaves together the rapture of being alive, the inevitability of death, the passions of a man, war and courage and, most of all, family with all its eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. His stories will remain a staple for readers all around the world and an inspiration for generations to come.