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Gabriel Jose García Márquez: 1928—: Author, Journalist

Wrote Critically Acclaimed Novel

Though García Márquez continued a steady production of novellas and short stories during these years, he did not achieve prominence as a writer of fiction until the publication in 1967 of his landmark novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Based on the author's childhood memories of Aracataca, the novel recounts the founding of the fictional town of Macondo by Jose Arcadio Buendia, and its subsequent rise and fall through several generations from the 1820s to the 1920s. Blending historical events with surrealism and fantasy, the novel includes such characters as Colonel Aureliano Buendia, fomentor of 32 political rebellions and father of 17 illegitimate sons; matriarch Ursula Buendia, who witnesses the town's eventual decline; and the old gypsy scribe, Melquiades, whose mysterious manuscripts are revealed as the novel's text. The complex saga of Macondo and the Buendias, many critics noted, suggests the labyrinthine history of Latin America itself.

The novel caused an immediate sensation, selling out its entire first Spanish printing within one week. So heavy was demand for the book that its publisher could scarcely keep enough copies in print. Critics hailed it as a monumental achievement; Chilean Nobel laureate poet Pablo Neruda was quoted in Time as calling the book "the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since the Don Quixote of Cervantes." One Hundred Years of Solitude went on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide and to be translated into more than 30 languages. It is widely considered the most popular and influential example of magical realism, a literary style that incorporates supernatural or surreal elements within a realistic narrative. As Faulkner had done with the American South, García Márquez had created in Macondo a world of mythic dimensions.

The success of One Hundred Years of Solitude enabled García Márquez to focus full-time on his own writing. In 1975 he published the novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, about a tyrant who has held political power for so long that no one can remember his predecessor. After that, however, he vowed not to release any additional fiction until Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was removed from office. Though Pinochet was not ousted until 1989, García Márquez published the novel Cronica de una meuerte anunciada in 1982. Considered by some critics to be the author's best work, it tells the story of brothers who plot to kill their sister's husband when, after discovering on his wedding night that his bride is not a virgin, he returns her to her family.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyGabriel Jose García Márquez: 1928—: Author, Journalist Biography - A Childhood Steeped In Myth, Success As A Journalist, Wrote Critically Acclaimed Novel, Won Nobel Prize