Martin, Gerald. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: a Life. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008.
This is going to sound horrible but I read the biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez before reading a single word written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have a bunch of different books by Garcia Marquez on my challenge list but his biography came up first. It’s sad to say I never read anything of his in high school or even college. You would think, I being a huge John Cusack fan, that I would have at least read Love in the Time of Cholera! (If you have no idea why I made that connection go rent Serendipity or High Fidelity.)
Surprisingly, this is one of my favorite biographies read so far. It has to be the subject matter. Like other biographies that spend an inordinate amount of time setting the stage (political and socially) or produce pages and pages of mini biographies of the subject’s great-great-great grandparents Martin does bog down with those details in the beginning. His focus is not primarily on Gabriel Garcia Marquez but rather the myriad of family members from both his mother’s and father’s sides of the family. I got lost trying to keep the just cousins straight. Forget about all the drama that went with them! But, aside from that reading about Marquez’s life was fascinating. Martin took 17 years to research his subject and it shows.
Probably my favorite aspect of the biography is the parallels Martin makes between Marquez’s life and his art. Martin doesn’t miss an opportunity to make note of people in Marquez’s life who eventually became characters in his books later. I have a deeper understanding of where the soul of One Hundred Years of Solitude came from.
Favorite quotes, “A whispy costeno moustache appeared on his adolescent lip and was left to wander where it would” (p 108), and “Acquaintances remember him always drumming his fingers on the table as we waited for his lunch , or on anything else to hand…music always wafting through him” (p 145). Guess my husband has something in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez…always drumming on something.
Reason read: Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in March.
Book trivia: Gabriel Garcia Marquez: a Life includes great photography. GGM’s first year picture was adorable.
Author fact: According to Martin’s Wiki page his biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was the first full biography to be published in English. Interesting.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Hail, Columbia!” (p 91).