Over the Easter holiday, or some time in the near future, you may be in need of a new book to read. Something offering escape, but at once engaging attachment and truth. If that book should also contain masterfully crafted escapism heavy with wisdom, then the late Garcia Marquez' bibliography may provide.
The 87 year-old Columbian author sadly passed away yesterday, but there is little doubt his works will live on for generations. There is little doubt, not because he was awarded the Nobel prize in literature, but because of his skill at guiding wisdom, insight and a personal fascination to his works.
Barack Obama yesterday said the world mourned "one of its greatest visionary writers". Juan Manuel Santos, president of the author's native Columbia gave a hint of the loss his country feels:
"A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. Solidarity and condolences to his wife and family ... Such giants never die."
Garcia Marquez was, and will remain a Columbian hero, and a global literary icon. But for all those who have yet to experience the author's works, what examples can be offered to convey the quality of his talents?
Well, the height of the acclaim for his works may be enough, yet - though to do so is to pick morsels from what many millions would consider a feast - a look at some of the writer's extracts sheds light. Familiarisation through The Guardian, or even Goodreads, the result will be largely the same.
Among the many perfectly pitched lines, is the often misquoted, perhaps impossible, yet strikingly perfect phrase, "Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.” Alongside may be placed, “A lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth.”
Such semantic elegance might be the hallmark of a brilliant writer, but also of a person who knows something of life and so-called 'universal truths'. Garcia Marquez may not have claimed such a lofty perch.
Born in Aracataca, a place which would inspire his own fictional village of Macondo, he was raised from a young age by his grandparents. A young Columbian, inspired by his liberal grandfather, he would later attend law-school but opt for journalism.
He was a brother, a husband, and father to two sons. He was an observer of life and he felt the lives of individual were fascinating: "All human beings have three lives", he once noted, "public, private, and secret".
It was secret lives which helped produce Love in the Time of Cholera. Concerned with the love of elderly people, the title was inspired by a couple in their late 70s who met every year. One tragic year the couple were murdered onboard a boat by their boatman. Garcia Marquez noted:
"Through their death, the story of their secret romance became known. I was fascinated by them. They were each married to other people."
Of Garcia Marquez' own life we know a fair bit. Perhaps not of any of the 'secret', although a fair portion of the 'private' - such information a by-product of fame and renown. Mostly, we have known of his public life. Yet should we wish to have a hint of the others, his works could at best provide clues.
At worst, they may delight and enrich and inspire our own lives.