Gabriel García Márquez ‘Suffering from Dementia’?
I am not what you would call a voracious reader. As a matter of fact I am a slow, haphazard reader who sometimes has six or seven books half-started, half-read, half-finished.
This becomes a vicious cycle in itself because when I finally pick up a half-read book after several weeks, I pretty much have to either start all over again, or at least keep extensively referring back to refresh my memory.
There have been, however, a few books that I literally could not put down.
Some of those books are by none other than by the great Colombian, 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Gabriel García Márquez.
As a matter of fact, I read two or three of his books twice: in Spanish and in English.
And of course those books included Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos de cólera) — made into a movie — The General in His Labyrinth (El General en su Laberinto) and his best-known 1967 master piece, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad), which has sold more than 30 million copies, has been translated into more than 30 languages and is considered by many critics to be the greatest of all Latin American works of literature.
Ironically one of the themes in his 1967 master piece of magic realism is about how the patriarch of the Buendía family becomes increasingly withdrawn from his family and loses touch with them and reality.
Ironically, because in a BBC story today, Gabriel García Márquez’ brother, Jaime García Márquez says that Gabriel García Márquez is suffering from dementia.
“He has problems with his memory. Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him,” [Jaime García Márquez] said.
He says the author has stopped writing altogether.
The BBC’s Arturo Wallace in Colombia said there have been rumours about Mr Garcia Marquez’ memory problems.
Jaime Garcia Marquez, his younger brother, is the first family member to speak publicly about it.
Invited to talk about his relationship with Gabo, as the writer is affectionately known in Colombia, Jaime said he could not hold back from talking about his illness anymore.
“He is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time,” he said. “He still has the humour, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had.”
If confirmed, this is very sad news. If it is any consolation for the world, Gabriel García Márquez has already given the world a body of literature that will live with us forever and will be near impossible to match.
No discussion of García Márquez’ literary miracles would be complete without mentioning his superb translators, especially Edith Grossman for Love in the Time of Cholera and Gregory Rabassa for One Hundred Years of Solitude.
It so happens that I enjoyed the translated versions more than the original works, but that is only because I am getting somewhat rusty in Spanish.
However, one reviewer of One Hundred Years of Solitude claims, “Gabriel García Márquez has said that he prefers Rabassa’s translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude to the Spanish original.”
Now these are some very impressive kudos for this translator.
Image: Courtesy Nobelprize.org