We lost one of our literary heroes with the passing of Gabriel García Márquez, author of the iconic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude; Restless Books publisher and Márquez biographer Ilan Stavans calls it "a towering book of enormous influence worldwide." To celebrate the author, we've collected some of our favorite quotes about Gabriel García Márquez, by contemporary voices ranging from Thomas Pynchon to Salman Rushdie to Restless' own Hamid Ismailov. Read on, and feel free to leave your own reminiscences about Márquez in the comments.
Quotes in García Márquez's lifetime
“Oh boy, does he write well. He writes with impassioned control, out of a maniacal serenity: the Garcímárquesian voice we have come to recognize from the other fiction has matured, found and developed new resources, been brought to a level where it can at once be classical and familiar, opalescent and pure, able to praise and curse, laugh and cry, fabulate and sing and when called upon, take off and soar.”
“Chiselled stateliness and colorful felicities...distinguish everything García Márquez composes.”
“The familiar García Márquez world [is] a mixture of phantasmagoria and a realism whose truths seem as incredible and strange as the moments of demonic magic.”
“The whimsy and the magic are earned, it seems to me—which is to say that García Márquez starts off running on solid ground and simply takes off.”
“What Márquez is showing us all the time is the humanising power of the imagination. In all his writing, the imagination is no mere whimsy, nor a Latin-American eccentricity: it is a way of survival, as we say nowadays.”
Tributes to García Márquez after his passing
“The biggest hero that Latin America has ever had. He did more for us than Bolivar, Martí, and Sandino. [He united us] in a recognizable identity.”
“Everything he wrote was gold….I wish I’d translated everything he ever wrote.”
“No one wrote better about the sin of pride, the corruption of power and the redemption of love. I will miss you, Gabriel García Márquez.”
"A great writer whose works brought wide knowledge and prestige to the literature of our language has died. His novels will outlive him and continue gaining readers from all over."
“You haven't lived until you read at least one novel or short story by Gabriel García Márquez. He helped open an emotional aperture.”
“Descansa en paz, querido Gabo. Te extrañaremos siempre, como a un padre. Tu legado es muy grande." ["Rest in peace, dear Gabo. We'll always miss you, as a father. Your legacy is great."]
“I read One Hundred Years of Solitude for the first time in high school. You know how some books break your world to remake it?”
"Love in the Time of Cholera I read at the city pool where I was a lifeguard. It made the world seem huge & the possibilities for love deep.
“Today I am remembering when Gabriel García Márquez visited Book Soup and humored me while I told him in my halting Spanish how honored I was to meet him. He was really sweet and kind, and I am pretty sure super fan C. Max Magee fainted. RIP, Márquez.”
“It was like reading Dickens or Balzac. People in the streets read García Márquez. Every book he wrote had popular acclaim. So, in a way, he conquered readers and conquered the world and told the world about us, Latin Americans, and told us who we are. In his pages, we saw ourselves in a mirror, in a way.
“I knew García Márquez’s colonels and generals, or at least their Indian and Pakistani counterparts; his bishops were my mullahs; his market streets were my bazaars. His world was mine, translated into Spanish. It’s little wonder I fell in love with it — not for its magic (although, as a writer reared on the fabulous “wonder tales” of the East, that was appealing too) but for its realism…. For such magnificence, our only possible reaction is gratitude. He was the greatest of us all.”
“I have the feeling that writers in Latin America can’t use the word ‘solitude’ any more, because they worry that people will think it’s a reference to Gabo. And I’m afraid that soon we will not be able to use the phrase ‘100 years’ either.”
“He really was a one-off and one would really have to go back to (Charles) Dickens to find a writer of the very highest literary quality who commanded such extraordinary persuasive powers over whole populations….[García Márquez's work had] almost a Shakespearean quality."
"I once made out with someone purely because I thought he might be related to Gabriel García Márquez. What a beautiful writer – RIP."
"If you've read him, you know that he's not really gone. He is in an afterlife of his own creation, his own Macondo."
"Cuba suffers from this death, as do all readers of a writer who is an icon."
"Storytelling is such an important part of human being and with every story it is human nature to add something sort of magic, something kind of hyperbolic. When you are telling stories, you are sometimes hyperbolizing. And that was the essence of the technique of Márquez and he released this technique for the whole world."