Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away on April 17th 2014. The world saw a great outpouring of memory: how his stories, novels, words had touched and transformed the lives of so many. Some he gave the courage to look a the world in a different way. Others learned the art of patience in love. And yet others found the courage to express themselves in new ways. Marquez will forever be lauded for his magic-realism. Salman Rushdie, in his obituary, reminds us that while we remember the magic in magic-realism, we must not forget that there is realism too.
from The Telegraph:
The trouble with the term “magic realism”, el realismo mágico, is that when people say or hear it they are really hearing or saying only half of it, “magic”, without paying attention to the other half, “realism”. But if magic realism were just magic, it wouldn’t matter. It would be mere whimsy – writing in which, because anything can happen, nothing has effect. It’s because the magic in magic realism has deep roots in the real, because it grows out of the real and illuminates it in beautiful and unexpected ways, that it works. Consider this famous passage from One Hundred Years of Solitude:
“As soon as José Arcadio closed the bedroom door the sound of a pistol shot echoed through the house. A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living-room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs… and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack 36 eggs to make bread.
‘Holy Mother of God!’ Úrsula shouted.”
Something utterly fantastic is happening here.