Gabriel José de la Concordia García Màrquez or commonly known as Gabo or Gabito is a writer of Colombian origin who has written numerous novels, stories, and short stories. If you love reading books that have a different outlook on life, then Gabriel Garcia books may just become your favourite. Gabriel Garcia books have revolutionized 20th-century Literature.
Gabriel García is popularly known for his book, One Hundred Years of Solitude which is one of the best selling books of all time. García’s works have been critically commended around the globe. García employs a unique style of magical realism in his books. Magical realism is the art of using magical elements in ordinary or normal settings. This style of writing has garnered a lot of popularity in recent times. Most of his stories are set in Macondo, a fictional village that takes part in his magnificent style of magical realism.
Reality is one of the major themes employed in his works. From the fictional world of Macondo to the undivided rule of solitude in his works, Gabriel Garcia books never fail to impress! Garcia gained a lot of fame during the 1980s. Due to his controversial views on US Imperialism, he experienced a travel ban by the US Immigration authorities. The ban was however lifted after Bill Clinton came into power. All of this did not stop Gabriel Gracia’s books to gain the literary accolades that they deserved. Garcia won the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 1982. His books have been translated into various languages and read by diverse readers all over the world.
If you are looking to read the best Gabriel Garcia books, then you are in the right place.
1.One Hundred Years of Solitude
One of the most popular of the Gabriel Garcia books, One Hundred Years of Solitude was published in the year 1967. Since then, it has sold nearly 50 million copies around the world and still remains one of the best selling novels of all time. It has been translated into more than 30 languages so as to reach a wider audience.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is set in the fictional town of Macondo. It revolves around the tale of the Buendía family. The story is told in several generations. The patriarch, Jose Arcadio Buendía is the founder of Macondo. Soon after its foundation, strange events start surrounding the town of Macondo, and the Buendía family falls prey to the same. They are stuck in this infinite loop of magical events that take place. They lose all contact with the outside world and find it difficult to cope up with these strange happenings.
The story is very unique and engaging. The story makes use of a number of characters and it hence becomes complicated at times. Every character has a story of their own and it is told through several generations. The story flows very smoothly and you will not realize the change due to the involvement of very little dialogue. The theme of magical realism is evident on every page of the book and you will be left asking for more. Among all the Gabriel Garcia books, this one’s his magnum opus. It is a living example of the sheer brilliance of Garcia’s style and worth your time! It is highly recommended.
2.The Autumn of the Patriarch
First published in the year 1975, The Autumn of the Patriarch is one of the most promising of Gabriel Garcia books. It is a follow-up book to One Hundred Years of Solitude and became very popular in Spain when it was published. After its translation by Gregory Rabassa, it was accessible to people worldwide.
The book is centered on the life of a Caribbean tyrant who has been badly corrupted by power. The dictatorship by the ruler turns out to be disastrous for the people. They have nowhere else to go rather than tolerate their ruler’s sinful rule. The tyrant is so lost in the glory of his power that he grows completely detached from his people and starts living life on his own terms. What follows is a cruel and heinous turn of events that includes genocide, mass killing of children, and so on. This is one of the most ambitious books in the category of Gabriel Garcia books.
Garcia’s style of writing is peculiar and weirdly appealing to the readers. The writer’s unsurpassed ability to blend reality and fantasy together is unbelievable. Garcia brings out the best and worst parts of his characters. Though the ruler commits so many crimes, he suffers immensely later on. Garcia wants to convey the message that every ruler bad or good is a human first. That is how one should be treated. The symbolic description of the story is dreamlike and you will feel hypnotized by his magical words. Most of his sentences may be as long as 50 pages which are a treat in itself. This book is highly recommended just for the literary experience of it. It is an absolute delight.
3.Of Love and Other Demons
Of Love and Other Demons was one of the last novels in the category of Gabriel Garcia books. It was published in 1994 as a Modern piece of Literature. The story follows the timeline of eighteenth-century Latin America. The book has a unique sense of storytelling. Unlike other Gabriel Garcia books, this story does not take place over generations or continues for a long period of time.
The story starts with the protagonist Sierva Maria scanning the markets on her twelfth birthday when she is bitten by a rabid dog. Sierva belongs to the noble family of Marquis. Soon after, strange and unusual happenings surround the city with no known place of origin. Everyone associates it with Maria and she is immediately taken to a Church for an exorcism. Everyone believes that she has been possessed and only God can heal her now. When she is spending the days in observation at the church, she happens to meet a young priest named Cayetano who falls in love with her. The actual story begins here!
Marquez has brilliantly woven this story. He presents the view of a society that is knee-deep in superstitions and negative thoughts. A society that just finds ways and means to blame for their own doom. Amidst all this, he presents a delicate picture of love. Love is believed to overcome the powers of the devil. He employs the background of folklore combined with raw realism to bring out love at its best. Love is presented in utmost chaos and madness.
Garcia is a master of words. Once you are hooked onto the story, you will not feel like putting the book down. That is Garcia’s effortless writing at work for you. Reading this book will take you into a majestic world with experiences that you will cherish for a long time.
4.The General in his Labyrinth
This book is the rarest in the category of Gabriel Garcia books. The General in his Labyrinth takes into account the life of the leader of Gran Colombia, Simón Bolíver. The book is part fiction, part history. The book was published in the year 1989.
The book encircles the life of the General in the last seven months of his life just before his death. The protagonist of this story is in an extremely pathetic condition. He has aged prematurely and become ill both physically and mentally. The book captures the journey of the protagonist from Bogota to the Caribbean coastline of Colombia. He fails to understand his life’s purpose and embarks on a journey to discover the same. His past life is narrated in a series of flashbacks that are mentioned here and there in the book.
This book is a fictional account of history. The book travels back and forth in time to record the journey of an able soldier and military man who lived his last days in despair and darkness. This book stands out of all the Gabriel Garcia books. It requires utmost attention while reading and once you are into it, you will lose yourself in this journey. The book is written in a non-chronological and hence can make for a hectic read. But it is worth every bit of your time.
5.Love in the Time of Cholera
First published in the year 1985 in Spanish, this is the first romantic book in the category of Gabriel Garcia books. The book has an unusual title which refers to a deadly disease. Cholera once contracted only resulted in death. Death, however, may have many meanings for our writer, Marquez. Still, death is one of the many themes that this novel is about. Referring to love and cholera so closely is an unusual combination in itself. Maybe the author wanted us to associate the intensity of love as powerful as death or simply he must be referring to the love story that took place at the time of the plague. It is open to our interpretation and understanding.
The story revolves around the lives of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. At the beginning of the story, they are young, ruthless, and madly in love with each other. They exchange secret love letters and have a reserved place for each other in their hearts. However, everything falls apart when Fermina’s father separates these two lovers and Fermina decides that she is no longer in love with Florentina. She marries a wealthy doctor and starts spending her life happily with him. Unfortunately, even her husband dies in an unforeseen circumstance. Fermina is devastated. Will Florentina come in her life again? Will their childhood love resurface? Can unrequited love last forever?
This book is very diverse and the narrative is wholly intriguing and unusual. The story constantly changes with the story of his and hers. Thus, we get a detailed insight into the life of both the characters equally. It is an exclusive piece of excellent writing. The book proves it yet again that he is the best Latin American writer to exist to date. This classic can make its way to your favorites.
This novella is the first in the category of Gabriel Garcia books that took seven years to find a publisher. It was first published in 1955 and garnered rave reviews all over the world. Garcia’s fictionized town of Mocando first made its appearance in this book. It was later popularized in his book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Leaf Storm opened the doors to many of the themes, motifs, and symbols that later became popular in Gabriel Garcia books.
First published under the name La Hojarasca, this story takes place in the town of Macondo. The burial of a doctor is to take place and the residents of the village rather want his body to rot and degrade. A Colonel, however, is keen on organizing a proper burial for the doctor as he had promised him earlier. The doctor was the only true friend of the Colonel and thus, he is ready to stand against all the villagers for his dear friend. Due to the refusal of the doctors to treat the patients of the town, everyone turns against him. At last, he escapes it all by committing suicide and enraging them more.
The story is narrated by the Colonel, his daughter, and grandson. The point of view changes several times in the book, making it quite difficult to understand. Since Garcia wrote this book at a time when he was just 21, the inexperience can be evident in his work. Though flawed at places, the mastery of his words is still prominent in Leaf Storm. The story wanders through the various themes of death, honor duty, friendship, and shame. The book is a living personification of Garcia’s own childhood memories. The characters inspired his real-life family members and so on. Garcia has splendidly penned a vigorous and delightful read in his first novel.
7.Chronicle of a Death Foretold
This book is one of its kind murder mystery in the Gabriel Garcia books lot. Published in 1981, this story talks about a murder that was foretold but no one protests against the same. The mystery of the story does not lie in the fact that who was murdered and by whom but it lays emphasis on why! Why did the murder take place? Why did no one stand against it? How can death be foretold?
The title of the book is completely justified to the plot of the novel. It already gives you a brief insight on what is next. The story starts with a man returning to the town after twenty-seven years where a ruthless murder took place. Determined to get to the edge of it, he decides to investigate. He then finds out that a young and wealthy man named Santiago Nasar was murdered in this town. He was a man of mixed cultures and hence, his character comes with an ethical and cultural twist. On an event, when the marriage of a girl is broken with a wealthy man just because she is not a virgin and she lost her virginity to Santiago. It enrages her twin brothers and they brutally kill Santiago in the Colombian market.
The story raises various questions about morality, gender roles, and purity in our society. The book is written in the first person and follows a non-narrative technique. Garcia derived the inspiration of this story from real-life events particularly to bring out the evils that thrive in our society. Santiago is a questionable character who is not always shown in a good light. Angela is a debatable character as well since we do not know if she is saying the truth or hiding something from the view of the readers. Every character has its own share of light and darkness.
Unlike other Gabriel Garcia books, Chronicle of a Death Foretold does not make use of Magical Realism. However, Biblical references are evident throughout the story. All the bad omens that take place in the book can somehow be linked to it. This Gabriel Garcia book requires a lot of patience, attention, and understanding while reading. The reader should devote oneself completely to understand the depth and intelligence of Marquez’s writing.
8.In Evil Hour
The book, In Evil Hour, was published in the year 1962, one of the first of Gabriel Garcia books. Garcia wrote this book just before he wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude. The book was not published even after five years after it was written. After its publication, it did not receive the response it was supposed to. It became a rare read among Marquez fans but all his true fans should definitely give this one a try. After all, it is the first novel ever written by this genius.
The story is based in a nameless town in Colombia. One night, strange happenings surround the town. A series of lampoons make negative revelations about the villagers. It also brings all the past forgotten sins and secrets into the light. The villagers tend to ignore it all and call it part of a prank until a man kills his wife’s supposed lover and accuses her of adultery. It is shown that he is acknowledged about his wife’s infidelity from the readings. This sends the town into a state of unrest. The major institutes marital laws and employs armed thugs to patrol the streets at night. The motive behind all these laws is merely political.
This book is a fine example of political writing mixed with darkness. The book follows the path of Magical Realism sans magic. It has numerous symbols that represent a variety of things throughout the book. From dark ferocious storms to dead rats flowing in pious water, Marquez has built a world of his own. A world that draws close symbolical resemblance with the real world. The mayor is the representative of the cruel tyrant culture that has polluted the world. This book is yet another masterpiece in the category of Gabriel Garcia’s books.
9.Memories of My Melancholy Whores
This is one of the latest novels in the category of Gabriel Garcia books. Published in the year 2004. This book has been adapted into a movie as well due to its growing popularity. This book was written at a time when Marquez had already gained a lot of fame and critical acclaim all over. Hence, the book was easily trusted and appreciated by his fans.
Memories of My Melancholy Whores, as suggested by the title does revolve around the theme of prostitution but not entirely. This story is beyond the four walls of a brothel or the erotic nature of the same. It is a tale of uncorrupted love. I know it sounds strange but that is the beauty of Marquez’s writing. The protagonist of the story is an unnamed old man who is about to celebrate his ninetieth birthday. This man has been deprived of the pleasure of having a wife or even being in love for that matter. All his life, he has just slept with the whores he paid for. All in all, he paid for sex to satisfy his bodily desires but his soul’s desires were never fulfilled. The man has lived in utter solitude and despondency all along. On the eve of his birthday, he decides to give himself the gift of a fourteen-year-old virgin prostitute. The adolescent prostitute is drugged before she is sent to him. The old man is mesmerized by the sleeping beauty. She sleeps on the bed, while he sits on the chair looking at her longingly all night. The old man finally finds love!
The book traverses the theme of love exceptionally and brings out the best of the characters. Garcia analyzes the overwhelming nature of love in an old man’s life who had completely given up on the idea of love. Love fulfills an old man’s heart and gives him a new ray of hope to live his life. Love changes everything and it has no specific time to enter someone’s life. It is never too early or late to embrace love at its best. Marquez’s writing weaves magic through his words and makes you fall in love with his idea of love all over again. The emotions are fresh, genuine, and stirring.
10.No One Writes to the Colonel
This is a heartwarming read in the collection of Gabriel Garcia books. No One Writes to the Colonel, is a justified title to the book because it revolves around the life of an old and tired Colonel who is awaiting his pension for almost 15 years now. He still does not give up hope but the adamant government pays no heed to his needs. This also brings out the dysfunctional nature of the Colombian government. Perhaps this was one of the many aspects that Garcia wanted to highlight.
The story is centered around the life of an old, sick, and tired couple. The protagonist is an old, retired, and unnamed Colonel who has nothing left for himself rather than his dignity. He even losses his only child in an unforeseen event. They start selling everything they possess in order to make the two ends meet but in vain. All they are left with is an old clock and their son’s rooster. Though the Colonel is left with almost nothing, his positive outlook towards life never changes. He is still proud of himself and does not want to live out his last days in despair.
The story conveys a strong message of optimism and positivity in even the toughest of times. The Colonel is patient, calm, and hopeful even when everything in his life is falling apart. How many of us are able to cope up with stressful situations with such ease? Garcia’s elegant writing combined with the heart-melting storyline of the Colonel makes this book an exciting yet emotional read.
Curious about other best books of the century? Read more about the best books of the 20th century and select your pick.