Gabriel García Márquez

In my case, the only advantage to fame is that I have been able to give it a political use. Otherwise, it is quite uncomfortable. The problem is that you're famous for twenty-four hours a day, and you can't say, "Okay, I won't be famous until tomorrow," or press a button and say, "I won't be famous here or now."

Gabriel José García Márquez (born 1927-03-06) is a Colombian novelist, journalist and activist. He was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Sourced

  • It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there's not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality. The problem is that Caribbean reality resembles the wildest imagination.
  • In the end all books are written for your friends. The problem after writing One Hundred Years of Solitude was that now I no longer know whom of the millions of readers I am writing for; this upsets and inhibits me. It's like a million eyes are looking at you and you don't really know what they think.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 322
  • Interviewer: You describe seemingly fantastic events in such minute detail that it gives them their own reality. Is this something you have picked up from journalism?
    García Márquez: That's a journalistic trick which you can also apply to literature. If you say that there are elephants flying in the sky, people are not going to believe you. But if you say that there are four hundred and twenty-five elephants in the sky, people will probably believe you.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 324
  • Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 325
  • I would like for my books to have been recognized posthumously, at least in capitalist countries, where they turn you into a kind of merchandise.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 336
  • A famous writer who wants to continue writing has to be constantly defending himself against fame. I don't really like to say this because it never sounds sincere, but I would really have liked for my books to have been published after my death, so I wouldn't have to go through all this business of fame and being a great writer. In my case, the only advantage to fame is that I have been able to give it a political use. Otherwise, it is quite uncomfortable. The problem is that you're famous for twenty-four hours a day, and you can't say, "Okay, I won't be famous until tomorrow," or press a button and say, "I won't be famous here or now."
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 337
  • I can't think of any one film that improved on a good novel, but I can think of many good films that came from very bad novels.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 338
  • I was asked the other day if I would be interested in the Nobel Prize, but I think that for me it would be an absolute catastrophe. I would certainly be interested in deserving it, but to receive it would be terrible. It would just complicate even more the problems of fame. The only thing I really regret in life is not having a daughter.
    • Interview with Peter Stone (winter 1981), The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at Work, Sixth Series (1984), p. 339

One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)

Cien años de soledad as translated by Gregory Rabassa (1970) Harper Perennial Modern Classics ISBN 0060883286

  • Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. (p 1)
  • He imposed obligatory military service for men over eighteen, declared to be public property any animals walking the streets after six in the evening, and made men who were overage wear red armbands. He sequestered Father Nicanor in the parish house under pain of execution and prohibited him from saying mass or ringing the bells unless it was for a Liberal victory. In order that no one would doubt the severity of his aims, he ordered a firing squad organized in the square and had it shoot a scarecrow. At first no one took him seriously. (p. 104)
    • Referring to Arcadio
  • In the shattered schoolhouse where for the first time he had felt the security of power, a few feet from the room where he had come to know the uncertainty of love, Arcadio found the formality of death ridiculous. Death really did not matter to him but life did and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear but of nostalgia. He did not speak until they asked him for his last request. (p. 119)
  • "A person fucks himself up so much," Colonel Aureliano Buendía said, "Fucks himself up so much just so that six weak fairies can kill him and he can't do anything about it." (p. 128)
  • He had not stopped desiring her for a single instant. He found her in the dark bedrooms of captured towns, especially in the most abject ones, and he would make her materialize in the smell of dry blood on the bandages of the wounded, in the instantaneous terror of the danger of death, at all times and in all places. He had fled from her in an attempt to wipe out her memory, not only through distance but by means of a muddled fury that his companions at arms took to be boldness, but the more her image wallowed in the dunghill of war, the more the war resembled Amaranta. That was how he suffered in exile, looking for a way of killing her with his own death. (p. 148)
    • Referring to Aureliano José
  • Carmelita Montiel, a twenty-year-old virgin, had just bathed in orange-blossom water and was strewing rosemary leaves over Pilar Ternera's bed when the shot rang out. Aureliano Jose had been destined to find with her the happiness that Amaranta had denied him, to have seven children, and to die in her arms of old age, but the bullet that entered his chest had been directed by a wrong interpretation of the cards. (p. 153)
  • Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction. He was bothered by the people who cheered him in neighboring villages, and he imagined that they were the same cheers they gave the enemy. Everywhere he met adolescents who looked at him with his own eyes, who spoke to him with his own voice, who greeted him with the same mistrust with which he greeted them, and who said they were his sons. He felt scattered about, multiplied, and more solitary than ever. He was convinced that his own officers were lying to him. He fought with the Duke of Marlborough. "The best friend a person has," he would say at that time, "is one who has just died." (p. 166)
  • At dawn, worn out by the tormented vigil, he appeared in the cell an hour before the execution. "The farce is over, old friend," he said to Colonel Gerineldo Marquez. "Let's get out of here before the mosquitos in here execute you." Colonel Gerineldo Marquez could not express the disdain that was inspired in him by that attitude.
    "No, Aureliano," he replied. "I'd rather be dead than see you changed into a tyrant."
    "You won't see me," Colonel Aureliano Buendía said. "Put your shoes and help me get this shitty war over with."
    When he said it he did not know that it was easier to start a war than to end one. (p. 169)
  • "A person doesn't die when he should but when he can." (p. 241)
    • Said by Colonel Aureliano Buendía
  • "Shit!" she shouted.
    Amaranta, who was starting to put the clothes into the trunk, thought that she had been bitten by a scorpion.
    "Where is it?" she asked in alarm.
    "What?"
    "The bug!" Amaranta said.
    Úrsula put a finger on her heart.
    "Here," she said. (p. 251)
  • The anxiety of falling in love could not find repose except in bed. (p. 269)
  • The world was reduced to the surface of her skin and her inner self was safe from all bitterness. (p. 279)
    • Referring to Amaranta
  • "One minute of reconciliation is worth more than a whole life of friendship." (p. 282)
    • Said by Úrsula
  • In that Macondo forgotten even by the birds, where the dust and the heat had become so strong that it was difficult to breathe, secluded by solitude and love and by the solitude of love in a house where it was almost impossible to sleep because of the noise of the red ants, Aureliano, and Amaranta Úrsula were the only happy beings, and the most happy on the face of the earth. (p. 404)

External links

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Gabriel García Márquez
Last modified on 21 May 2008, at 17:50