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The worlds of literature and revolutionary politics joined yesterday in tribute to Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died at his Mexico City home on Thursday.
One of the most influential writers of his generation, he brought Latin America’s contradictions to life and became the best-known practitioner of “magical realism,” a blending of fantastic elements into portrayals of daily life that made the extraordinary seem almost routine.
But there was more to Mr Garcia Marquez than magical realism.
Like many Latin American writers, he transcended the world of letters.
He became a hero of the left as an early ally of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and a critic of US interventions from Vietnam to Chile.
Mr Garcia Marquez signed onto the young Cuban revolution as a journalist, working in Bogota and Havana for news agency Prensa Latina.
He remained loyal to Cuba even as other intellectuals jumped ship.
But his politics caused the US to deny him entry visas for years.
Nonetheless, Mr Garcia Marquez was courted by presidents even as he maintained his faith in ordinary people, who he saw as living in a world full of wonder.
His works outsold everything published in Spanish except the Bible.
The epic 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude sold over 50 million copies in more than 25 languages.
“A great artist is gone, but his grand art remains with us. Most authors are only shadows, but Gabriel Garcia Marquez belonged to those who cast a shadow and he will continue to do so long after his death,” said Nobel Prize-awarding Swedish Academy permanent secretary Peter Englund.
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