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Gabriel García Márquez (Gabo) - Quotes

A man should have two wives: one to love and one to sew on his buttons.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

He is ugly and sad … but he is all love.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  She always felt as if her life had been lent to her by her husband: she was absolute monarch of a vast empire of happiness, which had been built by him and for him alone. She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anyone else in the world, but only for his own sake: she was in his holy service.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  No, not rich. I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  He repeated until his dying day that there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  She discovered with great delight that one does not love one's children just because they are one's children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  Together they had overcome the daily incomprehension, the instantaneous hatred, the reciprocal nastiness, and fabulous flashes of glory in the conjugal conspiracy. It was time when they both loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity. Life would still present them with other moral trials, of course, but that no longer mattered: they were on the other shore.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

I discovered to my joy, that it is life, not death, that has no limits.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  And love. Nothing is more difficult than love.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

Forever?
Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. 1985.

  Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

The problem is that the moment you know the interview is being taped, your attitude changes. In my case I immediately take a defensive attitude. As a journalist, I feel that we still haven't learned how to use a tape recorder to do an interview. The best way, I feel, is to have a long conversation without the journalist taking any notes.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Anyway, the whole purpose of what I just said was to put you on the defensive.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I've always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

The Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is a great novel and Hiroshima is a great work of journalism.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That's the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Then at night, after everyone had gone home, I would stay behind writing my novels. I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn't be able to work. Now, the output is comparatively small.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

The people who really helped me to get rid of my intellectual attitude towards the short story were the writers of the American Lost Generation. I realized that their literature had a relationship with life that my short stories didn't.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I'm not sure whether I had already read Faulkner or not, but I know now that only a technique like Faulkner's could have enabled me to write down what I was seeing. The atmosphere, the decadence, the heat in the village were roughly the same as what I had felt in Faulkner.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Leaf Storm was written for my friends who were helping me and lending me their books and were very enthusiastic about my work. In general I think you usually do write for someone.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Fiction has helped my journalism because it has given it literary value. Journalism has helped my fiction because it has kept me in a close relationship with reality.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

Beginning with Oedipus, I've always been interested in plagues. I have studied a lot about medieval plagues.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

In every novel, the character is a collage: a collage of different characters that you've known, or heard about or read about.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I've got a photography book that I'm going to show you. I've said on various occasions that in the genesis of all my books there's always an image.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I don't think you can write a book that's worth anything without extraordinary discipline.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

But then I realized that life itself is the greatest source of inspiration and that dreams are only a very small part of that torrent that is life.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

In general, I'm not a friend of writers or artists just because they are writers or artists. I have many friends of different professions, amongst them writers and artists. In general terms, I feel that I'm a native of any country in Latin America but not elsewhere. Latin Americans feel that Spain is the only country in which we are treated well, but I personally don't feel as though I'm from there. In Latin America I don't have a sense of frontiers or borders. I'm conscious of the differences that exist from one country to another, but in my mind and heart it is all the same.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

One of the best side effects of the boom in Latin American writing is that publishers are always on the lookout to make sure that they're not going to miss the new Cortázar. Unfortunately many young writers are more concerned with fame than with their own work.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I would have liked for my books to have been recognized posthumously, at least in capitalist countries, where you turn into a kind of merchandise.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

But when my Spanish publisher told me he was going to print eight thousand copies I was stunned, because my other books had never sold more than seven hundred. I asked him why not start slowly, but he said he was convinced that it was a good book and that all eight thousand copies would be sold between May and December. Actually they were all sold within one week in Buenos Aires.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

I'm absolutely convinced that I'm going to write the greatest book of my life, but I don't know which one it will be or when. When I feel something like this—which I have been feeling now for a while—I stay very quiet, so that if it passes by I can capture it.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood.
Márquez, Gabriel García and Peter H. Stone (Interviewer). The Art of Fiction. No. 69, 1981.

With my joshing I've probably contributed toward the idea that I lack literary education, that I write only from personal experiences, that my sources are Faulkner, Hemingway, and other foreign writers. Little is known about my knowledge of Colombian literature. No doubt, my influences, especially in Colombia, are extra-literary. More than any book, I think what opened my eyes was music, vallenato songs.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

Home is where your books are, they say, but for me it's where my recordings are. I've got more than five thousand of them
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

My literary background was basically in poetry, but bad poetry, since only through bad poetry can you get to good poetry
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

It was in Zipaquirá. I had nothing to do and, to avoid getting bored I'd hole up at the school library, where they had the Aldeana collection. I read the whole thing!
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

Can you imagine that the lyrics to the National Anthem were chosen because they were a great poem by Núñez? That it was first chosen as an anthem you might accept, but what prompts horror is that it was chosen as Anthem because it was poetry.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

I've a great deal of affection for Leaf Storm. Even lots of compassion for that guy who wrote it. I can see him perfectly. A 22- or 23-year-old kid who feels he's not going to write anything else in life, feels it's his only chance, and he tries to throw in everything he remembers, everything he's learned about literary technique and sophistication from every author he's seen. At that time I was catching up, I was into the English and North American novelists. And when the critics start finding my influences in Faulkner and Hemingway, what they find—it's not that they're not right, but in some other way—is that when I'm confronted with that whole reality on the Coast, and I start connecting with my experiences literarily . . . the best way to tell it, I realize, isn't Kafka's . .
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

There was no correspondence between what I was reading and what was out on the street. The minute I'd go down to the corner for a cup of coffee, I'd find a world that was completely different. When I was forced to leave for the Coast by the circumstances of April 9, it was a total discovery: that there could be a correspondence between what I was reading and what I was living and had always lived
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

For me, the most important thing about the “Barranquilla Group" is that I had all sorts of books available. Because Alfonso Fuenmayor, Alvaro Cepeda, and Germán Vargas were there, and they were voracious readers. They had all the books. We'd get drunk until sunrise talking about literature, and one night there might be ten books I didn't know, but next day I had them. Germán would bring me two, Alfonso, three . .
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

I remember that I was working at El Heraldo. I'd write a piece and they'd pay me three pesos for it, and maybe an editorial for another three. The fact is I didn't live anywhere, but right near the newspaper there were some hotels for transients. There were prostitutes around the place. They'd go to some little hotels that were right above the notary offices. The notaries were downstairs, the hotels upstairs. For a peso and fifty cents they'd let someone in and that gave you admission for 24 hours. And then I started making the greatest discoveries: hotels for one peso fifty that were unknown! It was impossible
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

I lived there, and of course, when I'd get up next day, the only other people still around were the prostitutes. We were good friends, and we'd make breakfasts that I'll never forget. They'd lend me soap. I remember that I'd always run out of soap and they'd lend it to me .. And that's where I finished writing Leaf Storm.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

They're things I told with utter naturalness. Don't know if I explain . . . That is . . . I know La Sierpe, I was in La Sierpe, but of course I didn't see the “gold gourd" or the “white crocodile" or any of those things. But it was a reality that lived inside the consciousness of the people. The way they told it you felt no doubt that that's how it was. In a certain way it's the method of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

I went up. In one of the rooms upstairs Mercedes was taking a nap . . . I lay down at her side and said to her, “He's dead!" . . . And I cried for two hours.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

Yeah, but he [Dostoevsky] didn't get cured. Isn't it true that one of the most unforgettable scenes in world literature is when Smerdyakov falls down the steps? Besides, we never find out if it's true or not, or if it was a real attack or just make-believe. It's unforgettable.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

The Autumn of the Patriarch is just sitting around waiting for people to catch up with it.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

It's not that the book is coded, what's coded is the events that serve as its foundation, just as some of the events in One Hundred Years of Solitude are. The rest is experiences I've had. When my mother reads the book she's wonderful, because she goes through it saying, “This is such-and-such, this is that, that's my buddy, the one people said was queer but really wasn't.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Interview with El Manifesto. 1977.

A person doesn't die when he should but when he can.
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

At dawn, worn out by the tormented vigil, he appeared in the cell an hour before the execution. "The farce is over, old friend," he said to Colonel Gerineldo Marquez. "Let's get out of here before the mosquitos in here execute you." Colonel Gerineldo Marquez could not express the disdain that was inspired in him by that attitude. "No, Aureliano," he replied. "I'd rather be dead than see you changed into a tyrant." "You won't see me," Colonel Aureliano Buendía said. "Put your shoes and help me get this shitty war over with." When he said it he did not know that it was easier to start a war than to end one.
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction. He was bothered by the people who cheered him in neighboring villages, and he imagined that they were the same cheers they gave the enemy. Everywhere he met adolescents who looked at him with his own eyes, who spoke to him with his own voice, who greeted him with the same mistrust with which he greeted them, and who said they were his sons. He felt scattered about, multiplied, and more solitary than ever. He was convinced that his own officers were lying to him. He fought with the Duke of Marlborough. "The best friend a person has," he would say at that time, "is one who has just died.".
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

Carmelita Montiel, a twenty-year-old virgin, had just bathed in orange-blossom water and was strewing rosemary leaves over Pilar Ternera's bed when the shot rang out. Aureliano Jose had been destined to find with her the happiness that Amaranta had denied him, to have seven children, and to die in her arms of old age, but the bullet that entered his chest had been directed by a wrong interpretation of the cards. (p. 153).
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

He had not stopped desiring her for a single instant. He found her in the dark bedrooms of captured towns, especially in the most abject ones, and he would make her materialize in the smell of dry blood on the bandages of the wounded, in the instantaneous terror of the danger of death, at all times and in all places. He had fled from her in an attempt to wipe out her memory, not only through distance but by means of a muddled fury that his companions at arms took to be boldness, but the more her image wallowed in the dunghill of war, the more the war resembled Amaranta. That was how he suffered in exile, looking for a way of killing her with his own death. (p. 148).
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

"A person fucks himself up so much," Colonel Aureliano Buendía said, "Fucks himself up so much just so that six weak fairies can kill him and he can't do anything about it." (p. 128).
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

In the shattered schoolhouse where for the first time he had felt the security of power, a few feet from the room where he had come to know the uncertainty of love, Arcadio found the formality of death ridiculous. Death really did not matter to him but life did and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear but of nostalgia. He did not speak until they asked him for his last request. (p. 119).
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

He imposed obligatory military service for men over eighteen, declared to be public property any animals walking the streets after six in the evening, and made men who were overage wear red armbands. He sequestered Father Nicanor in the parish house under pain of execution and prohibited him from saying mass or ringing the bells unless it was for a Liberal victory. In order that no one would doubt the severity of his aims, he ordered a firing squad organized in the square and had it shoot a scarecrow. At first no one took him seriously. (p. 104).
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. (p 1) .
Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. 1967.