With the eventuality of death constantly hovering over us humans, even though reluctantly, I had imagined a very romantic finale for Marquez. A moment frozen in time where the world realises that this is how it ends. Like how Dr. Juvenal Urbino, while falling from the ladder, failing to retrieve his parrot from the mango tree, realised that “he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday.”
So to fathom that Marquez died of something as commonplace as pneumonia was painful for me. And even more painful was the knowledge that there will never be another novel to guide me through the arduous damp alleys of Gabo’s world of nostalgia.
But then his last chapter was a witty episode of magical realism where an extraordinary life meets an ordinary death and leaves the world behind to ponder upon the uncertainty of existence.
To the world he most certainly was one of the finest authors but to me he was a little more. He was an ally in romance. I remember I first read Chronicle of a Death Foretold while I was in college. That was the first book I read that year. Compared to Jane Eyer and Mill on the Floss, Marquez’s novella gave me the respite of brevity. I picked it up first precisely because it would not be a long read.
By the time I had finished the first page, I was already a fan. Soon I was reading all that he had written which had been translated into the English language. The thing about wonderful literature is that you must share. So did I. With someone who was important enough to share Marquez with.
There must be something very special about the first gift of love that it stays etched in memory. Even more powerful, then, must be the last gift of a love gone bad which comes as a final goodbye. That was how Marquez defined our era. It was as if we drew close together talking about his works and drifted apart with the promise that Florentino Ariza would wait for Fermina Daza till eternity.
One thing I can say after having read quite a bit of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is that it all seems to have happened some long time ago and you were there and saw it all. But it was so long ago and so much has happened since that your recollections are a bit hazy. Or maybe none of it actually happened and you had just dreamtabout these things. It is with great surprise that you finally acknowledge that it was somebody else’s imagination, someone else’s culture and lifestyle you had read about.
Much like most of life. And even those sour-end relationships. After a while it all seems like someone else’s figment of imagination.