>Why I Hate Garcia Marquez

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the greatest Latin American writers. He is so popular that even some people in the US (like, for example, Oprah who chose his Cien anios de soledad for her book club) might actually recognize his name. And as we all know, this is not an easy feat for a Spanish-speaking writer to accomplish.

The way Garcia Marquez uses language is unbelievably beautiful. It's mesmerizing, hypnotic, heart-breaking in its power to move you. This is why the ideology he puts forward in this amazing language becomes extremely dangerous.

Garcia Marquez is profoundly machista. He despises women and this comes out in every page of his writing. To give just one example, in his novel Amor en los tiempos del colera, one of the female characters is raped. Her rapist assaults her from behind and she never gets to see his face. Of course, she falls profoundly in love with this unseen rapist and spends her entire life searching for him. She has sex with numerous men in an attempt to relive the wonderful feelings she had while being raped. It is impossible to read this and not cringe in total disgust. The author's chauvinism is blatant and apologetic in every single one of his works.

Another problem I have with Garcia Marquez is his absolute indifference to the horrible social and economic realities of his continent. He pretends to have a social consciousness but in reality all his socialism is limited to a hypocritical friendship with Fidel Castro. (Of course, how anybody could go to Cuba and not feel a profound hatred towards the system in place there is beyond my understanding.) As a bestselling author and a Nobel Prize winner, Garcia Marquez could do a lot to reveal the painful realities of Latin America to the world. That, however, wouldn't sell as well. So Garcia Marquez cutesifies and prettifies horrifying realities of his continent in order to make them attractive to his affluent American and European readers.

It is so incredibly sad to see such an amazing talent serving some really irresponsible and hateful ideological goals.

31 thoughts on “>Why I Hate Garcia Marquez”

  1. >im surprised to read this article….it betrays a very superficial reading of marquez's work…I have three objections to your above critique 1. If you read other pieces of marquez's work you will realise that much of it aims to deal with the issue of women in a fiercely patriarchal society . 'Innocent Erendira and her Heartless grandmother' for example is perhaps one of the most heart-wrenchingly moving depictions of the horror of a gender-unequal society. So, just because he uses dirty, grimey, sweaty, crude and sometimes ugly imagery it does not mean he condones it. His job as an author is to put a state of the world forward as truthfully as he can. This he does with amazing deftness and usually to the effect of leaving people more aware of certain issues, particularly those of women's rights.2.it is wholly inaccurate for you to say that marquez ignores harsh realities of life in his country. On the contrary his books do much to bring to the rest of the world the plight of people there. It is just that what he sees as being the important causes of as well as manifestations of these problems are quite different from yours. The breakdown of democracy in many Latin American countries because of the actions of the CIA is a central theme through most of his books. The effect of those actions in perpetuating feudalism and a military society is core to Marquez's work. It is unfortunate that you have not been able to see this.3. Lastly, it is highly presumptous of you to deny Marquez a genuine love for his country and people and ascribe the manifestations of that love in his work to his desire for 'American and European' approval. Is it so difficult to see that someone outside America and Europe could deeply love their roots? it is almost offensive that you should use words like prettify and cutesify for manifestations of this deep love. And as I have mentioned above, it is not like he overlooks the ugliness of life in Latin America at all.The beauty of Marquez's work is in the fact that it is not didactic. so perhaps you are looking for a more obvious portrayal of 'oh look at how many problems we have'..but if u read the book with an open mind and some fresh air you will understand what i mean. If there is one thing you cannot accuse him of it is indifference towards socio-economic realities of his country.Just as a seperate point, I wonder if you expect every American Author to write about the bungling policies of the Bush Administration?

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  2. >Thank you for your detailed response, Udai Raj.No, I don't expect all American authors to write about Bush. But if they do decide to talk about the torure at Abu Ghraib, the collapse of economy, and the other tragedies of the Bush era, I wouldn't like it if they wrote about these things in the manner of "Hee hee hee, isn't this all kinda cute and exotic?"As for Garcia Marquez's sexism, hundreds of feminist critics haas addressed this issue in his work. I would ask you to comment the story from 'Love in the Times of Cholera" where a woman falls in love with her rapist. Do you think that isn't sexist? Did you manage to find some sort of critique there? I didn't. The whole novel is profoundly offensive to me as a woman and I don't think it's your place, my friend, to tell women what they should or shouldn't find offensive.Have you read "Memoria de mis putas tristes"? Is that not an attempt to justify pedophilia by presenting it as innocuous and cute? Isn't the horriible act perpetuated against the little girl in the novel presented as an act of love? The girl in that novel spends the entire time unmoving and silent while the nasty old man salivates all over her. She is reduced to a perfect object for his consumption. And there isn't a word of criticism of that. In case you didn't know, this objectification and exploitation are sexist.Garcia Marques doesn't bring anybody's "plight" to the rest of the world. he describes the sad Colombian realities in a way that makes them innocuous and unthreatening to the rich Western reader. He makes them pretty. All he wants is to sell. And he manages that perfectly well.As for me being "highly presumptious", literary criticism is my job, my friend. I studied for very many years to be able to do this. So I have deserved a right to my presumptiousness and to my opinion.I suggest you acquaint yourself at least with the most basic premises of feminist criticism before you enter a discussion on the subject.

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  3. >'So, just because he uses dirty, grimey, sweaty, crude and sometimes ugly imagery it does not mean he condones it."-I actually criticize Garcia Marquez for NOT doing any of this. His imagery is sweet, cute and is ready to be put on a Hallmark card.

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    1. Clarissa – Bravo! I never got past a few pages of his writings because it just seemed like a man masturbating himself on his own words. It did nothing but make me recoil every sentence. I always felt this narcissistic emperor had no clothes. I can get behind a lot of writers, and – being Hispanic – I would have lived to celebrate one. Not this one.

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  4. >I agree with you, Clarissa. How I stumbled upon this book? I was searching for a book for my kid based on California recommended reading list for level 12. This author wrote one of those books on the list. Luckily, that book was not available, so I picked the 2 that were availablefor my own reading : Love in the time of Cholera, and One hundred years of solitude. Needless to say more, I was so disturbed by these books. I am glad I found other people who feel the same as I do.

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  5. It’s such a relief to find people abhorred with Love in a Time of Cholera, I was horrified as a woman, that he chose to write about rape as though this woman loved it, and widows desperate to have sex, and then the worst part was the 14year old who Garcia Marquez, thinks nothing of to have an old man thrust himself on her and her actually like it, that’s child abuse by any other name, and I am glad that finally I see someone who agrees, so shocked it’s on Oprah’s list, she should take a closer read.. yeuck!!

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  6. This is a WAY old post, but I want to say something. For “Love in the Time of Cholera”, it is important to know (before you start reading) that Florentina Ariza is the villain of the novel. Part of the *point* is that he embarks in reckless sexual relations with destroyed women, or with women who are destroyed by the encounters (like the raped woman you mentioned, and Olympia, who was murdered because of her affair with Ariza, respectively) without a shred of real compassion for ANY of them. He’s too hung up on Fermina Daza, who is happily married and living her life elsewhere, to see straight. He also destroys fourteen year old America (who commits suicide). Its a WARNING against obsession. You have to approach the book like you approach Nabokov’s “Lolita.” Just because he’s the protagonist doesn’t mean he’s the good guy. If that helps.

    –Danielle

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      1. I agree with you. Its a relief to see someone say it. I think he is a talented writer but the pedophilia which appears in numerous books is upsetting and even more upsetting is the fact that no one comments on it EVER. Besides all the men who do these horrific things all get happy endings which seems to me like a way of condoning the actions. None suffer consequences.

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  7. Don’t u think ursula in hundred years of solitude comes out as a strong matriarchal character ,exerting her influence over the life’s of all the male characters in her book.she is the driving force of the story…

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    1. She still does it within the framework of the patriarchy, so what is the difference? Believe me, the gender of the patriarchal abuser doesn’t matter in the least to the victims.

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  8. Thank you so much for this post. I’m reposting it on Facebook every time I see a weepy comment about GGM’s recent death. I’ve lived in Colombia nearly 16 years, we work with the urban poor particularly women and their children. I don’t know a single poor woman who has not suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse, of course there is no recourse in the law. Not one Colombian spoke against Memoria de mis putas tristes when it was published in 2004. Fortunately the Mexican government and the UN called into question th filming of the book which promoted the drugging and rape of a young woman. It makes me sick to think that such a talented man wasted his opportunity to influence Latin America.

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  9. I just bought One Hundred Years of Solitude because I saw a tribute to GGM on DemocracyNow last week and was charmed by clips of the author telling stories.
    But I only read a few pages before coming across a passage where a main character,
    Ursuala Iguaran (UI) is raped at spearpoint by her husband, the main character, Jose
    Arcadio Buendia.(JAB) JAB had, a short-time earlier, used the spear to kill a man who
    challenged his (JAB’s) virility. The story goes on to say how after the intercourse began, at spearpoint, “It was a fine June night…and they were awake, frolicking
    in bed until dawn…” This is revoltingly collaborative with the rape culture which is
    epidemic and causes overwhelming suffering the world over. How could such
    an intelligent man as GGM have been so ignorant as to think any rape survivor
    could ever, ever enjoy rape? The Nobel Prize should only go to authors who
    are not afraid to challenge rape, misogyny, and all violence.

    I plan to return the book. The store will probably give me a store credit and I’ll
    use it to by some wonderful feminist novel that I look forward to finding.

    Thank you so much for the blog, Clarissa.

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  10. In the midst of reading some of his journalism. I’ve never read the fiction. Ended up here because each article, despite beautiful creative use of language, felt dripping with misogyny. I’d never heard him spoken of that way, but was curious if others felt as I did so googled “Gabriel Garcia Marquez misogyny”, glad to find I’m in good company feeling this way. Just finished an article dealing with the death of a young woman. The tonal treatment of all the women in the story was markedly different than the treatment of the men. To a degree everyone is treated with an ironic stance, but there is something behind the language in the way he treats the women that carries something absent in the way he treats the men. It’s impossible not to notice, even when you’re enthralled by the command of language.

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  11. I understand your points about the misogyny and pedophilia in his work, but as a latin-american i feel the need to make the following comment.

    I must admit I got really mad when the author of the post, an american I believe, started belittling GGM’s love for his country and the whole LATAM and his portrayal of his culture and even having the petulance of saying about what and how he should write. Should we only write about poverty? About underdevelopment? LATAM has one of the most diverse cultures in the world, something GGM caught in his books, gave it a pedestal, presented it to the world.

    It is almost impossible to read his work and don’t feel the criticism of the whole colonization and imperialism we have suffered over the centuries from europeans and americans, something that has stained our history, underdeveloped our countries and as GGM’s stated has condemned us “to not having a second opportunity on earth” and still, here we are, decades later and non-latinamericans are still comfortable with diminishing LATAM literature and culture and saying how we should act, who should we vote for, how and what about we should write.

    I mean, it really seems that you did not get the main point of his books, I am not saying that your points about the misogyny culture aren’t valid, because they are. But the ones about how he portrays LATAM are completely out of touch. If we only focus on the flaws of the books we miss the most important points of his books, we should totally read GGM’s work, should be aware of its flaws and we should definitely address them but keeping in mind the context in which they’ve been written, the limitations of the author and the culture itself.

    PS.: If you don’t mind me suggesting some read, give it a try at his Nobel prize acceptance speech: “The solitude in Latin America”. It shows a bit of his feelings towards the prize, the colonization, imperialism, LATAM culture…

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    1. Querido, soy catedrática de la literatura hispana y he publicado más libros y artículos sobre la belleza y la importancia de la literatura hispana que vos habrás leído. O sea que guardate tu condescendencia. Para que sepas, los escritores latinoamericanos de las generaciones más jóvenes han abandonado la estética del Boom y ahora se escriben obras mucho mejores en Latinoamérica. Si quieres, te recomiendo alguna.

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        1. Hay un escritor salvadoreño, es totalmente fenomenal, si no le han dado un Nobel de literatura es solo porque es de un país pequeño y porque los escritores del habla hispana no reciben el reconocimiento que merecen. De verdad es un genio.

          En México, Jorge Volpi está haciendo cosas fenomenales.

          Karina Sainz Borgo es una joven venezolana que publicó una novela desgarradora sobre la tragedia de su país. Se titula La hija de la española.

          Si querés algo de la literatura colombiana, a mí me gusta mucho Buda Blues se Mario Mendoza. Es una novela bien rara pero fuerte.

          Ah, también Miguel Huezo Mixco de El Salvador es muy bueno.

          La mejor literatura del mundo se escribe en castellano hoy en día. Lo digo como crítica literaria profesional. Es gran literatura y merece ser leída.

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          1. “vos habrás leído” “querés”

            You do go hard on the Argentine…. what’s next a post written in lunfardo?

            On the other hand vos is common in central america too, are the verb forms the same as Argentina?

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