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Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Only the Bible Sold More Copies than His Books
Apr 22, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate whose novels and short stories exposed tens of millions of readers to Latin America's passion, superstition, violence and inequality, died at home in Mexico City on 18 April. Hewas born in Aracataca, a small Colombian town near the Caribbean coast, on March 6, 1927.

Widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century, Garcia Marquez achieved literary celebrity that spawned comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

His flamboyant and melancholy fictional works like, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of Cholera and Autumn of the Patriarch outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible. The epic 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude sold more than 50 million copies in more than 25 languages.

His stories made him literature's best-known practitioner of magical realism, the fictional blending of the everyday with fantastical elements such as a boy born with a pig's tail and a man trailed by a swarm of yellow butterflies.

When he accepted the Nobel Prize in 1982, Garcia Marquez described Latin America as a "source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty."  He was an early practitioner of the literary non-fiction that would become known as New Journalism. He became an elder statesman of Latin American journalism, with magisterial works of narrative non-fiction that included the Story of A Shipwrecked Sailor, the tale of a seaman lost on a life raft for 10 days.


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