Flying with García Márquez

I always remember Gabriel García Márquez when I fly. I’m usually very nervous and pessimistic before I board, so I find it helpful to think of a charming short story from Strange Pilgrims, a collection of stories. Since his passing I’ve read some essays about how the English translations are lacking. In a perfect world we would read everything in its original language and use a time machine to fully understand the historical context during which said text was written. Therefore, I don’t mind the English translations. I think Edith Grossman’s version of this passage from “Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane” is great and takes the edge off my upcoming flight.  Continue reading

Ladies with Lots of Last Names

ca. 1860-1873, Santiago

ca. 1860-1873

In Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel García Márquez’s heroine faces discrimination due to her less than stellar origins: though Fermina Daza’s father is a mule driver, he dreams of catapulting her into the elite through marriage. Fermina’s father succeeded, much to the surprise of the other young ladies vying to be Juvenal Urbino’s bride. Especially since many of these ladies were actually ladies, and part of Juvenal’s social orbit by virtue of their multiple last names. García Márquez communicated this subtle critique of class politics through a lovely visual, like a string of pearls (how suitable), and I was reminded of it today when I read the third installment of “La Mujer Chilena en la Memoria,” a series from the Society section of El Mercurio. Continue reading