He’s still with us, but we’re going to miss the brilliant workings of Gabriel García Márquez’s mind. The Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate has dementia, Márquez's brother announced last weekend, and is not writing.
“He is doing well physically, but he has been suffering from dementia for a long time,” brother Jaime García Márquez said in a lecture in Cartagena, Colombia, over the weekend.
Best known for epic works of fiction illustrating “magical realism,” including “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” and “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” Gabriel García Márquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. In 1999, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and treated with chemotherapy, which accelerated the onset of dementia, Jaime García Márquez said.
“Dementia runs in our family and he’s now suffering the ravages prematurely due to the cancer that put him almost on the verge of death,” he said. “Chemotherapy saved his life, but it also destroyed many neurons, many defenses and cells, and accelerated the process.
“…Sometimes I cry because I feel like I’m losing him…but he still has the humor, joy and enthusiasm that he has always had,” Jaime García Márquez said.
Gabriel García Márquez had been working on the second part of his autobiography, “Vivir Para Contarla” (“Living to Tell the Tale”), which brother Jaime said is unlikely to be completed because of the author’s condition. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’ll be possible, but I hope I’m wrong.”
Gabriel García Márquez was a pioneer of the literary school known as magical realism, an aesthetic genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world. He now lives in Mexico and has not written anything since the publication five years ago of “Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores.”
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.