March celebrates the birthday of “Colombia’s second most famous export” (guess what the first one is) and my favorite author. One of the world’s greatest writers, he elevated the art of magical realism to a whole new level. One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera (trivia: it’s the book in “Serendipity” where the dollar bill was placed by the characters), are two of his most famous works.
The first GGM book I read was “Chronicles of a Death Foretold”, which was required reading during freshman year of college. The writing style takes a while to get used to, but pretty soon, you’ll appreciate it. I was hooked to his works after that.
The way to read his works, I think, is on a weekend when you’ve got the whole afternoon to yourself. And slowly. You have to read slowly. It’s not like a Harry Potter book where you can’t wait to turn the page to get the story moving. You take in the words, let them run through your brain and imagine. Somehow, the movie that runs in my mind when I read his books is always in sepia tones. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.
Here’s a sample of magical realism:
“a trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta’s chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread. “
—one hundred years of solitude
PS: “Love in the Time of Cholera” is being made into a movie, to be released this year. But read the book before watching the movie. It’s always the book version that’s better.