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BACKGROUND INFORMATION - BIOGRAPHY
Gabriel García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in the rural Colombian town of Aracataca. Primarily his grandparents, who he claims are the source of his stories and his style, raised him.
He worked as a journalist for a while, and then spent many years "becoming a writer." By 1965, he had written two novels, a novella, and a collection of stories, and had worked on some films with Carlos Fuentes, but none of this would mark him as one of the great 20th century writers.
In 1965, he began to write One Hundred Years of Solitude. How he wrote it is a story which itself has achieved mythic status: according to García Márquez, he worked nonstop for eighteen months, telling his wife not to bother him, especially with money problems. It was published first in Spanish (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in 1967, and was translated into English by Gregory Rabassa and published in 1970. It won many awards around the world and became an instant classic.
García Márquez has published many novels and collections of stories since One Hundred Years of Solitude, but nothing has surpassed or even achieved its level of popular and critical success.
In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) is one of the classic examples of "magical realism." A good, but simple definition of magical realism is fiction in which the supernatural or magical occurs within the realm of the everyday without attracting excessive attention to itself. Although one could apply this term to many different texts, it is generally applied to Latin American fiction; this is because magical realism originated in the works of such Latin American writers as Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Carlos Fuentes.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is also considered one of the classic "Boom" novels.
From the late 1950s through the early 1970s, there was considered a "Boom" in Latin American writing. The major writers of the "Boom" are García Marquez, Julio Cortázar, Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, and a few others. The popularity of these novels in non-Spanish speaking countries helped define the boom. It was not that more novels were being written, per se, but that the popularity was spreading, making it seem like an upsurge in the quantity and quality of Latin American writers.
Since this period, Latin American writers have experienced an amazingly high level of popularity in the United States and Europe.