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Quote of the Day: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

May 19, 2009

From a Slate story about Gerald Martin’s biography of Colombian magic-realist author Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

García Márquez made many jokes about his fame over the years, often claiming he always knew it was going to come. He is supposed to have told his wife as soon as they were married (in 1958, when he was 31 and she was 26) that he would write “the masterpiece of his life” when he was 40; and he once said he was famous even at birth, except that he was the only person to be aware of it. We could take these jokes as signs of a Joycean or even Shakespearean confidence: He knew. I think, rather, they are witty and complicated acts of gratitude for a destiny the writer was sure could have been quite different. One of his finest sentences, written in an article in 1983, concerns a dream of the life he might have led if he had stayed in his isolated birthplace of Aracataca, Colombia, a dying town once the United Fruit Company abandoned it in the 1930s.

“I would not perhaps be the same person I am now but maybe I would have been something better: just a character in one of the novels I would never have written.”

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