Between Memories and Truth


Reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude"
jameleh, via Flickr

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most important Latin American writers. Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at his life and work.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I'm Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

A young man returns to his home town of Aracataca, Colombia. He visits the house where he lived as a child. Here, he remembers the most important memories of his childhood. Standing in front of his old house, the young man makes an important decision. He says to himself,

Voice 3

"I will start my life over again. I will become a writer."

Voice 2

This man is world-famous writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Voice 1

He has become one of the most important Latin American writers ever. But his story starts in a small river town in the country of Colombia. Today's Spotlight is on Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Voice 2

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born on March 6, 1928. When he was two years old, his parents moved to the city of Sucre. But they left him living in the city of Aracataca. For nine years he lived there with his grandparents. These years would influence his stories for the rest of his life.

Voice 1

During his early life, Garcia Marquez's grandmother and grandfather told him many stories. His grandmother would tell him legends – traditional stories that people believe to be true, but that they cannot prove. His grandmother would tell him these stories as if they were real. She could make the most normal events sound amazing. Garcia Marquez says that his grandmother's way of storytelling later influenced his own methods.

Voice 2

Garcia Marquez's grandfather would also tell him stories – stories about real life. For example, his grandfather had fought in the Thousand Day's War in Colombia. And he would tell young Garcia Marquez about the terrible events of war. He told Marquez that there was no greater pain than to have killed a man.

Voice 1

When he was 9 years old, his grandfather died. At this time, he returned to his parents in Bogota. Garcia Marquez's time in Aracataca was short. But he would always remember the stories of his grandmother and his grandfather. And their stories would later help him to produce some of his greatest works of literature.

Voice 2

When Gabriel Garcia Marquez was about 20 years old, he attended university. He began studying law because this is what his father wanted him to study. However, Garcia Marquez was not happy.

Voice 1

During this time Garcia Marquez returned to Aracataca, his first home. It was on this visit that he realized he must stop studying law. And he recognized that he must return to the passion of his childhood – writing. Soon after he returned from his visit, he did stop studying law. Instead, he began writing as a journalist – he wrote news reports for newspapers.

Voice 2

For the next few years, Garcia Marquez wrote for many different newspapers. And in 1955, he published his first book called "Leaf Storm." In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha. And in 1961, they moved to Mexico City.

Voice 1

For many years, Garcia Marquez knew he wanted to write about his grandfather's house in Aracataca. Now, he was ready to write. To write this book, Garcia Marquez and his wife had to sell almost all of their property to survive. But their sacrifice was worth it. The book, "One Hundred Years of Solitude" was immediately successful. And this book created a path for Garcia Marquez's future success.

Voice 2

"One Hundred Years of Solitude," tells a long history of a family who lived in the imaginary South American village of Macondo. The story follows seven generations of the Buendia family. It starts with those who built the village of Macondo.

Voice 1

"One Hundred Years of Solitude" is not a story about Garcia Marquez's life. But there are many similarities to his life in Aracataca. Garcia Marquez even said that the opening story in the book is from a real event in his life – a time when his grandfather took him to see ice that was stored at a local fruit company.

Voice 2

But this is not the only book Garcia Marquez wrote that was influenced by real life events. Many of his other books are as well - including one of the most famous love stories in the world, "Love in the Time of Cholera." The book was based in part on the love story of his parents.

Voice 1

In 1982, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was given the Nobel Prize in Literature for his book "100 Years of Solitude." He was the first Colombian and the fourth Latin American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. After receiving his award, he told a reporter:

Voice 3

"I have the belief that they considered all the literature of Latin America when they gave me this prize. They have given me the award as a way of giving the award to all of this literature."

Voice 2

In recent years Garcia Marquez has become more involved in Latin American politics. He wants to bring positive change to the country and continent that gave him such wonderful memories. Many people believe Garcia Marquez has the power to bring about great political and social change in Latin America. But Garcia Marquez believes it is his continent that has changed him the most.

Voice 1

There is a sign on the road in Aracataca, Colombia. It repeats the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It reads,

Voice 3

"I feel Latin America from every country, but I have never forgotten the memories of my homeland: Aracataca. One day I returned to this city and discovered the natural materials for my writing: a place between my memories and the truth."

Voice 2

In 1999, the doctors told Gabriel Garcia Marquez that he had cancer. Although the cancer was going away, Marquez still decided to write his autobiography. This book told the story of his life. He called it "Living to Tell the Tale." He published it in 2002.

Voice 1

Robert Pombo is a close friend and co-worker of Garcia Marquez. When Pombo read the autobiography, he discovered something new about his friend's writing. Pombo realized Garcia Marquez was greatly influenced by the experience at his grandfather's house in Aracataca. Pombo described this discovery to the New York Times.

Voice 4

"What you discover is that all of Garcia Marquez's works are in the memories that come to him when he stands in front of that house."

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Corrie Haluga. The producer was Ryan Geertsma. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, "Between Memories and Truth."

Voice 1

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

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Question:

Do you have a favorite author? Do you know this author's history?

Comments


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nguyenvietthuan22
said on June 06, 2011

I have 1 question to all people over the world.
speaking skill of English is very bad.So i ask “how improve my speaking skill”.thanks very much.

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GelezniyDen
said on June 09, 2011

Hello, hey and good evening all people in the beautiful world.I never hear about that writer may be his books even were translated on Russian me need check his fact.
nguyenvietthuan22 I am answering on your question:

In general you should dive in English’s environment that mean you should write and speak and read in English language as often as possible. You can add me to friends into skype i will glad communicate with you with help voice and writing. My skype is following: gelezniyden.

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Blue Lotus
said on June 29, 2012

A wonderful story!

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thaodothiphuong1981
said on June 29, 2012

I am Phuong Thao, I have a huge disire that I can speak English fluently, but now my speaking ang listenning skill is very bad.  I have known this program by my close friend recently. I often listen it every day. I think that it is useful with me. I want to make friend with all people in the world. Help ...Help me the way to learn E!
Please add nick my yahoo: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or comment email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Thao

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Trần Đình Thanh
said on June 29, 2012

Dear GelezniyDen, my level english is very bad, so Can i add your skype?
my skype is: trandinhthanh89, i will expect communicate with you?
thank you for your help

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Honneur
said on February 17, 2020

I have three or four “favorite authors”. Rsss ... In Brazilian literature, I like J. Guimarães Rosa and Machado de Assis; in English literature, I prefer Arthur Conan Doyle and Sommerset Maugham; in Portuguese literature, my favorites are Fernando Pessoa, Eça de Queirós and Luiz Vaz de Camões ... Fortunately, I read a lot in my entire life and I regret every time I lost with TV and other media.

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Honneur
said on February 17, 2020

Sorry, but I have to include the americans writers Edgar Allan Poe e and Ernest Hemingway of who I’m re-reading The Old Man and the Sea just now…

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Honneur
said on February 17, 2020

nguyenvietthuan22
We learn read by reading; we learn write by writing; we learn hear by hearing. I think it’s probable we learn speak by speaking. All of us have this dificulty: to encounter a partner to speak to every day. I use to speak myself in front a mirror…

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Mfred
said on February 18, 2020

There are many books that can excite. As far as I am concerned, in particular, those of nineteenth-century Russian fiction and if I have to name everyone, I say Lev Tolstoy.

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Honneur
said on February 18, 2020

War nd Peace is, actually, a great (litteraly) and wonderful book…