Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bringing Magic to Macondo

Perhaps the bookish biggest news story of the last few days was the story of Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez' return to the town of Aracataca which he immortalised as Macondo in his classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. The book has sold 30m copies worldwide.

Marquez spent the first eight years of his life in the town, living with his grandparents. Writes Juan Forero in the Washington Post:
It was here that a young García Márquez heard ghost stories, fairy tales and one adventure yarn after another, drawn from the region's rich and often blood-soaked history. The inspiration led him to become one of the leading writers in the style known as magical realism, with its penchant for weaving sharply drawn realism with dreamlike, even preposterous twists, all presented in a deadpan tone.
Marquez arrived in style on the Macondo Express decorated with yellow butterflies that have come to symbolise Macondo and a train-load of musicians, singers, friends and family - and even a government minister. Forero describes the scene:
Thousands of people had lined the route, screaming "Gabo, Gabo, Gabo" and holding up giant posters featuring the irreverent author's smiling face framed by enormous glasses. They threw confetti, set off fireworks and let loose yellow balloons. Brass bands played and pint-size schoolgirls performed, dressed as butterflies.
Marquez' triumphant return marks the launch of a new passenger service which it is hoped with bring much needed tourism to the area. A holiday with a little magical realism sprinkled in, anyone?

(Pics nicked from Guardian (top) and the Age (bottom))


Tunku Halim said...

100 Years is not an easy book to read. But it is one of my true favourites. Here's the opening line:

"Many years later, as he face the firing squad, Colonel Auerliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

There's the instant hook!

KayKay said...

I concur! Few novels have so insidiously sucked me into its swirling vortex of an epic familial saga shot through with magic realism like One Hundred Years.Even the notoriouly high brow Thor Kah Hoong said it's a book that he finished and immediately flipped back to the first page to begin re reading it.Weeks after reading it I could still remember the names of most of the Buendia family members in spite of generous repetitions in first and middle names spanning across at least 5 generations!

animah said...

I think Love in the Time of Cholera has a wonderful opening - someone remembering the scent of roasted almonds, or something like that.
Can you imagine any writer in Malaysia getting a greeting like this?
Is Mawi writing anytime soon?

lil ms d said...

i love marquez. what a beautiful homecoming!

Amir said...

(In Malay except for English titles) 37 books on Islam banned ... including a few that sound quite interesting!

Greenbottle said...

snce we all love banning things, I think UMNO should also be banned for introducing the kooky ISLAM HADARI ...kerana didapati mempunyai fakta yang menyeleweng dan boleh menjejaskan akidah umat Islam....

Anonymous said...

Loved One Hundred Years, what a joy to read. Found it easier to read than I expected. Really dig magic realism, these south americans authors sure have a knack for it, don't they?

Thanks for the interesting post Sharon,

Anonymous said...

Gabriel García Marquez was born on March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a house filled with countless aunts and the rumors of ghosts. But in order to get a better grasp on García Márquez's life, it helps to understand something first about both the history of Colombia and the unusual background of his more

This Indian Boy said...

Another favourite book of mine! Great info about Marquez's visit to Aracataca. Thanks again :)

Interestingly, the commencing sentence of this novel reminds me of the introductory narration of one of my favourite films, La Jetée (1963).

From the book:
"Many years later, as he face the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

From the film:
"This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood. The violent scene that upsets him, and whose meaning he was to grasp only years later, happened on the main jetty at Orly, the Paris airport..."

A magnificent film to watch if you can get hold of it!