Gabriel García Márquez may never write again

The Nobel Prize-winning author's brother says the effects of dementia mean Márquez may be unable to write.

Jairo Castilla/AP
Writer Gabriel García Márquez is a pioneer of the fiction genre magical realism.

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.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.