Monday, 22 September 2014
Remembering Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One day in Barcelona, my wife and I were asleep and the doorbell rings. I open the door and a man says to me, “I came to fix the ironing cord.” My wife, from the bed, says, “We don't have anything wrong with the iron here.” The man asks, “Is this apartment two?” “No,” I say, “upstairs.” Later, my wife went to the iron and plugged it in and it burned up. This was a reversal. The man came before we knew it had to be fixed. This type of thing happens all the time. My wife has already forgotten it. – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (The Atlantic, April 17, 2014).
Though the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges is usually credited to be the first successful author to use the genre of “magical realism” effectively, it was largely Gabriel Garcia Marquez who demonstrated with remarkable ease the art of integrating elements of fantasy into realistic settings of day-to-day events through his monumental works, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Comprehending the simple fact that “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it,” Marquez set the scene for a whole new generation of writers like Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Ben Okri, Louis de Bernieres, Toni Morrison and many others to understand and portray real experiences through perspectives created by magical elements in varying cultures and climes. The best tribute that one can think of in honour of Marquez can be summed up in his own words: “Don’t cry because it came to an end, smile because it happened.”
- Nibir K. Ghosh, Editorial, Re-Markings Vol 13 No.3, September 2014
"A bird sings because it has a song": Remembering Maya Angelou
When great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
Spaces fill/ with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
To those of us who are familiar with the power and the glory of African American writings, the name of Maya Angelou needs no introduction. With the publication of her acclaimed memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1967, she decisively expanded the range and vision of what was hitherto considered the prerogative of the male triangle of influence – Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin. She dedicated this famous autobiography to her son, Guy Johnson and “all the strong/ black birds of promise/ who defy the odds and gods/ and sing their song.” Inspired by the impact the book created during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement in America, the legendary James Baldwin wrote, “I have no words for this achievement, but I know that not since the days of my childhood, when the people in books were more real than the people one saw every day, have I found myself so moved.” On the death of Maya Angelou, Barack Obama hailed the “Global Renaissance Woman” as “one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman.” Undeterred by the experiences of racial brutality, Angelou created beautiful lyrics embodying her unshakable faith in eternal human values as is evident from her own words: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."