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In Memoriam: GGM



A re-post, from almost exactly two years ago to the day, in memory of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Another one of the absolute greats–first Bellow, now GGM; Kundera, at 85, probably soon–taken from us recently. Personally, a writer who has strongly influenced my ideas about place, the geographical sense that was so important to his fiction, and to my own.

Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.

One of the best short story writers alongside his novels. Innocent Erendira and Other Stories remains one of my favorite books. GGM was one of the few writers who could write in both styles (as I usually put it) of fiction, the river narrative and the cloud. A great craftsman and a great storyteller. A very old man has now got his big wings.

“Good Times”, from 4.21.12


A good time to read Autumn of the Patriarch, what with many of our current ones reaching their own dilatory autumns, particularly in the Middle-East, particularly those who came into their twenties and thirties of power during the mutually terrified fifties and sixties and are now, finally, weak enough and senile enough to throw out with the rest of that generational garbage. (This is probably more of an easy relief to those of us who do not have to worry so immediately about what will take their place: you don’t dare and never will dare kill me because you know that afterward you will have to kill each other.)

More directly, some wonderful lines from a book full of them—prose-poetic and laced with the most uniquely utilized adjectives I have ever had the pleasure to read. Like Cortazar and Kerouac, GGM again shows you the type of novel that can be written as a cloud as opposed to a river—an all-encompassing, suffused state, through which you as reader swim your way, catching the glints of condensation that demarcate plot and characters and the other trivialities of the physical world.

These, for which we again have the demigod Gregory Rabassa to thank—if ever you choose to read a translator’s, instead of an author’s, oeuvre, start with his—describe the lustful sexual throws (particularly sex without love, which is primarily, as life without the ability to love, the solitary lust for power) of our autumnal patriarch:

…he slipped, he fell into the illusory vertigo of a precipice cut by livid stripes of evasion and outpourings of sweat and the sighs of a wild woman and deceitful threats of oblivion…his terror of existing through the flash and the silent thunder of the instantaneous explosion of the deep spark, but at the bottom of the precipice there was the shitted slime again, the hens’ insomniac sleep…

Good times.


From → Readings

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