Thursday, December 11, 2003


I'm a professed fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I got myself to buy the first volume of his autography within three days of launching the book. It's a wondeful book, and has not a single boring passage. I could have finished the book at one go, but didn't. I took time with it, savouring its contents bit by bit. After all, I was reading a great writer's life, though it read very much like one of his novels.

Marquez had a colourful life, and he lived it to the full, sometimes dangerously. Poverty, struggle, migration --he had to embrace all, and at a very ealy age. But he did not seem to care. He had a tremendous lust for life. Like he read all classics to get to his own distinctive style, he danced and sang like any Carribean youth in his days.

Of course, he knew life in the raw and had a first-hand knowledge of it. Who would stop him in his writing life with so varied and deep experiences of his times? As he reveals, the colonel in "Hundred years of Solitude" is none other than his grandfather, and the protagonist in "Love at the time of Cholera" is actually his father.

What I like most about the book is its candour. How easily Marquez tells us that he was a gonorrohea veteran at twenty three! His account of various sexual escapades is an an enjoyable and hilarious aspect of the book.

Marquez was a journalist, and as far as I know, still is. But I never knew he was so intensely involved with journalism. He was indeed a newspaperman. From being a columnist on a small daily for a meagre wage to a high-paying star reporter of El Espectador, he experienced every facet of journalism, and had a great respect for it.

The book convinces me that Marquez is not only a great writer, but a grand man as well. He gave away the royalties of his quick-selling "The story of a shipwrecked sailor" to the sailor who narrated the story to him. The sailor enjoyed the royalties for fourteen years after which the royalties were passed on to an educational institute.

Marquez comes across as a very honest, truth-seeking and simple persona in this book. I adore him even more as I finish the book.

More years to the great writer's life who is living to tell us tales!

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