I found out late last night that Gabriel Garcia Marquez transitioned. I felt a strange sense of disbelief, as though he were one of my own beloved, elderly relatives. I saw post after post on the facebook pages of my friends reminding me of the magic Garcia Marquez could spin into pages. It’s been a couple of years since I read one of his books, but that wasn’t what came to mind when I learned of his absence. I thought of how I felt as a senior in high school when I was at the end of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
The book came to a flawless end and in its perfection opened up my consciousness to writing I never knew could exist. Magic realism gave validity to my life in a way that no other genre I had read up to that point could. Though fictional, there was a reality to its profound spirituality that I understood. Somewhere inside of me and people like me is a place where magic realism is nonfiction. Garcia Marquez gave me the eyes to see that even when framed as fiction, our experiences are valid and impactful.
On the flip side of that coin, the breadth and depth of Garcia Marquez’ literary body made space for other Latin@ authors to come behind him, unabashed, to tell their tales. Somewhere in this mix are the Latin@ authors, like my father, who were suggested by white mainstream publishing companies to try their hand at magic realism instead of whatever genre they had chosen, simply because they are Latin@. The blessing Gabo brought to be used as a weapon against some.
Even in the blatant stereotyping, we can’t deny the genius of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The reach of his writing is as wide as the hearts of his audience are full. He will be missed, but his contributions to the world of literature will live forever.