Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so different from ordinary people

A great beacon of light has gone out for writers, for political writers, for magic realistic writers, for writers of enhanced realism, fabulist and speculative fiction, for those of us who write (or don’t mind reading) characters who speak to demons, become butterflies, or regularly pass through the thin scrim between the dead and the living. Garcia Marquez’s work taught me how to write magic (“matter-of-factly,” the way his ancestors took for granted that their dead loved ones dwelt among them). The below paragraph set a personal bar for me on how to write about love.


Florentino Ariza spied on her in astonishment, he pursued her breathlessly, he tripped several times over the baskets of the maid who responded to his excuses with a smile, and she passed so close to him that he could smell her scent, and if she did not see him then it was not because she could not but because of the haughty manner in which she walked. To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell. Nevertheless, when she entered the riotous noise of the Arcade of the Scribes, he realized that he might lose the moment he had craved for so many years.

Thank you, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for all of your magic.


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