I dropped off a couple of books at my neighborhood community library box the other day — New Age material which my cerebral cortex had outgrown. As I stood peeking through the glass door, I noticed a novel by Gabriel García Márquez: The General in His Labyrinth. Márquez is famous for his books, Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1982. I had read both and didn’t care for either, which made me hesitate to consider a third. Then I remembered how I’d revisited Graham Greene after many years and been enriched by it. The thought gave me courage and so I decided to give Márquez another chance. (See blog July 2, 2013)
I had read One Hundred years of Solitude when it first came out. I was 31 at the time. Now at 77 I may have grown in perspective. I don’t know. To be honest, though I was born in Central American and raised by a Costa Rican mother, proud of her heritage, I don’t care for the Latin writers, except for Garcia Lorca who is too lyrical to ignore. Jorge Luis Borges and Isabel Allende make me yawn with their unbroken moans.
French writers are Latin, I suppose, and I like them even though neither Sartre nor Camus is famous for comedy. Still, like medical examiners poking at a cadaver, they display skill and curiosity. Where these qualities survive, there is always hope.
Unfortunately, the children of Spain, unlike the French, prefer to shed tears and beat their breasts, behavior too self-indulgent to please me. I prefer a drier sense of irony.
Some professor of Literature might pin back my ears with a counter argument, but I’m inclined to shrug and say I’m entitled to my opinion. Still, at 77 I’m young enough to want to learn — which is why I’ve brought Márquez home with me. Perhaps the passage of over forty years will make me recant my earlier opinion. We shall see.
(Courtesy of barnes&noble.com)