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5 Best Gabriel Garcia Marquez Books

By | 02 July, 2014

Known as Gabo throughout Latin America, the late Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez is among the 20th century’s most significant writers. An award-winning novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, there is no shortage of his works. But for those unfamiliar with García Márquez’s fantastical novels, where to begin?

García Márquez was a member of the group known as the “Boom” generation, says Cynthia Vich, associate professor of Spanish and comparative literature at Fordham University in New York City. “The ‘boom’ period was a particular moment in the 60s when Latin American literature became highly visible in the rest of the western world,” she explains. “It was a best-selling publishing phenomenon which resulted in García Márquez and other boom writers being translated into many languages. As a result, many of the mainstream ideas of what Latin America was to foreign eyes were formed through the reading of the ‘boom’ generation’s works.”

García Márquez became the most popular writer of ‘magical realism,’ a genre Vich says was coined in the 1960s. In addition to having a strong influence on several authors from later generations, such as Chilean/American writer Isabel Allende, García Márquez’s mastery of the aesthetic style garnered him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

For a suggested reading list of García Márquez’s books, I consulted with Maria Palacio, a bilingual senior librarian for the Lee County Library System in Fort Myers, Florida. Palacio, a Colombian American who travels to the country often, counts herself among García Márquez’s biggest fans.

“While walking through narrow cobble stoned streets in Cartagena’s historic centro or gawking at the front door of La Cueva in Barranquilla, or just passing through the dusty towns and villages near Aracataca where Gabo spent his early years and reading his works, one can appreciate the places that shaped the Nobel Prize winner’s life and put him, his magic realism and Colombia on the literary map,” she says.

Palacio recommends those new to Gabo’s works read the following novels:

This article originally appeared in our book, Sounds and Colours Colombia.

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