In his novels and short stories, Gabriel García Márquez has transformed the particulars of his own life and the lives of his fellow Colombians into wondrous fiction. Now, we are given the chance to see the reality behind the "magical realism". While telling the story of the sloppily dressed, skinny young man who rose from obscurity as a provincial journalist to international fame as the progenitor of a new literature, Gerald Martin also considers the tensions in García Márquez's life between celebrity and the personal quest for literary quality, between politics and writing, and between the seductions of power, solitude, and love.
He explores the contrast between the writer's Caribbean background and the authoritarianism of Colombia, and in the 1980s, his extraordinary turning away from magical realism toward the greater simplicity that would mark his work, beginning with Love in the Time of Cholera. Over the course of 15 years, Gerald Martin interviewed not only "Gabo" himself, but also more than 300 other men and women, including Fidel Castro, Felipe González - the former prime minister of Spain - and several former presidents of Colombia; the writers Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Álvaro Mutis, among others; García Márquez's wife and sons; his mother and siblings; his literary agent and translators; the people he considers his closest friends; as well as those who count themselves among his detractors. The result is a revelation of a life that is as gripping as any of the writer's powerful journalism and as enthralling as any of his fiction.
"Martin's control of his prodigious material in this first authorized biography of the great Colombian novelist García Márquez is astonishing.... Martin has come to praise García Márquez—whom he regards as the one writer who has been as artistically influential as the early modernists (in pioneering magical realism, now a staple in fiction from the developing world) and positively Dickensian in his popular appeal." (Publishers Weekly)
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