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| 11/27/2008 12:00:00 AM

The making of a magician

Nov 27 -- Gabriel García Márquez's life story is just as magical as anything in his fiction. He was raised in a tiny, largely illiterate town in an isolated region of a developing country, and his origins could hardly have been more obscure.

His father was a philandering telegraphist, his mother bore 11 children, and he was left in the care of his eccentric grandparents. Though always prodigiously talented, he was so poor as a young man that he resorted to living in the attic of a whorehouse (apparently a purely economic decision).

And yet, by the age of 40, García Márquez had written a book, One Hundred Years of Solitude, that caught the imagination first of Latin America, and then the world. As Gerald Martin argues in this official biography, it became the "first truly global novel". Nor was it a one-off: a string of critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling books followed. García Márquez became the best-known practitioner of "magical realism", the style with which successive generations of authors have recalibrated the relationship between developing countries and their former colonisers. Martin argues, indeed, that he is the only indisputably great author of the late 20th century. He has won many accolades, including the Nobel Prize, and men of influence - Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro - have sought his friendship and confidence.

Read the full article here.
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