Colombian author became standard-bearer for Latin American letters after success of One Hundred Years of Solitude: The Guardian
The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish language literature and magical realism with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, died at the age of 87. He had been admitted to hospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.
Matching commercial success with critical acclaim, García Márquez became a standard-bearer for Latin American letters, establishing a route for negotiations between guerillas and the Colombian government, building a friendship with Fidel Castro and maintaining a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years. Read more
The man wore a Mao suit with a red emblem pinned to the breast pocket. It looked like a party emblem, but only his name appeared on it. He was holding a lecture in Stockholm, the Nobel Lecture that all authors are required to give when they receive the Nobel Prize in literature, the world’s most important literary award.
It was Dec. 7, 2012, and the Chinese man, whose soft words almost felt like a song as he delivered his speech, had been considered a disappointment. He had written wonderful books, no question. They include “The Garlic Ballads” and “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out,” family novels that are broad, lush and colorfully told. They always have a historic element to them, with reporting on China’s development in the past decades, from the poverty of the early years, through the hardships of the Cultural Revolution and on to the economic rise. Yet despite all the criticism of the Communist Party and its leaders, which is clear in his books, the author is still considered to be a regime loyalist.
Mo Yan, 58, has been a member of the Communist Party (CP) since 1979. He had a career in the army and is today the deputy chairman of the party-aligned China Writer’s Association.
His readers have long been puzzled by the disconnect between his unequivocal criticism of the state in his work and the conformity of his appearances. Reactions to his Nobel Prize were also correspondingly divided. Chinese dissidents, like author Liao Yiwu were “stunned,” whereas German author Martin Walser said he didn’t have “any kind of misgivings.”