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Gabriel García Márquez

The King's Orders

By Ricardo P Nunes

    Request a comment at the height ofOne hundred years of Solitudeperhaps it requires us to draw on the very “fantastic realism” in which the critics classified it, and whichOne hundred yearsit was an apex. As every peak presupposes a slope, I will not venture into that genre; at least not in its content. But I must suggest that this classification is ambiguous only as a didactic concept. The embarrassing but dazzling dilemma that we feel when reading, when finishing reading, the work of the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez perhaps results from the fact that until then we had not realized that, in essence, the world of our experience is marked less by its objectivity that by what we unconsciously bring in the intimate, in the imaginary, in the hypothetical, or whatever. The order of the real, in its sense and instantaneity, can be apprehended by its momentary logical causes and effects, but in its totality it evokes a foundation or an underlying meaning that can only be captured by what remains of the emotional and instinctive.


  Illustration by Carybé for cena "The dead don't come out, we are the ones who can't handle the weight of conscience"

   In Macondo, the town where the story of the Buendía family takes place, this subjectivity prevails. That is, beyond its plot, the main thing is not to accentuate whatOne hundred yearsit has something fictitious or fantastic, but what inspires us about the experience of people in which that silent and contained, but permanent dimension of our experiences constitutes the primordial, visible and loquacious world. The fantastic, therefore, can be the most real and faithful thing that accompanies us.


Inscription on the gateway to the world of Macondo

    Maybe tired of flattery, García Márquez once admitted that nothing he told there was invented, but remembered the stories his grandmother told him in childhood. The language into which he had to translate this magical experience could not be less powerful. There's something there from um ethosconducive, but also visceral and spellbinding. The solitude of the title may well suggest the solitude in which we intimately experience the echo of events in our lives. And we believe, half stunned, that the manifestation of the fantastic side of things is a matter of circumstances; that nothing can be reduced to reality alone while living with the certainty of death.


García Márquez in the traditional tailcoat with which he honored his roots at the Nobel Prize in Literature

    In his autobiography, Gabriel García Márquez reports that his reading of Kafka, Faulkner and Juan Rulfo, as well as his practice in journalism, provided him with the spark that there would be a way to tell their own stories. His work beforeOne hundred yearsseems like a preparatory sketch, just as the one after it was an aftermath, and he would only catch his breath in the 1980s, withChronicle of a Death ForetoldIt isLove in the Time of Cholera. Nothing, therefore, seems to have been more crucial for the formation of his genius than his childhood and youth in the semi-supernatural environment of his grandparents' house, his contact with the hybrid people of the highlands and with the convulsions that disturbed the interior provinces of Colombia, whose impressions and “memories” he knew he could never faithfully portray without resorting to the fantastic.

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