“Whether writing short stories, epic novels, or nonfiction, [Gabriel GarcíaMárquez] is above all a brilliant storyteller, and his writing is a tribute to both the power of the imagination and the mysteries of the human heart. In Gabo’s world, where flowers rain from the sky and dictators sell the very ocean, reality is subject to emotional truths as well as physical boundaries. It is a world of great beauty and great cruelty; a world where love brings both redemption and enslavement; and a world where the lines between objective reality and dreams are hopelessly blurred. It is a world very much like our own.”- http://www.themodernword.com/gabo
A Very Old Man Gabriel GarcíaMárquez With Enormous Wings Presentation by Amanda L. Payne
Simultaneously sober and eccentric, Márquez came into the world March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia to parents who were madly in love, but allowed Márquez to be raised by his maternal grandparents – most likely altering his life permanently. His grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Ricardo MárquezMejía, was a great influence on Márquez’s early life; however, Colonel Mejía’s wife and Márquez’s grandmother, TranquilinaIguarán Cotes would prove to have a greater impact on his writing. Young Gabriel was filled with stories of ghosts and premonitions, omens and portents. No matter how unlikely or strange Cotes’ stories, they were always as if they were absolute reality. It was this ‘deadpan’ manner of storytelling that, some thirty years later, Márquez would adopt for his own manner of narration.
"I feel that all my writing has been about the experiences of the time I spent with my grandparents.“-Gabriel GarcíaMárquez
After his years of formal schooling, a time during which Márquez was ‘so serious and non-athletic was he that he was nicknamed "the Old Man" by his classmates,’ he lost himself in college as a Law student at the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá. Aimless before encountering the piece, Márquez found that his life was changed by Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis.” Márquez’s encounter with the text made him aware that the art of literature has no real need of linear progression, or even tradition: "I thought to myself that I didn't know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago." He also remarked that Kafka's "voice" had the same echoes as his grandmother's -- "that's how my grandmother used to tell stories, the wildest things with a completely natural tone of voice."
"I thought to myself that I didn't know anyone was allowed to write things like that.” -Gabriel GarcíaMárquezon Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”
In 1955, an event which led Márquez back to writing occurred; it was also an event that lead to his temporary exile from Colombia. It was in ‘55 that the Caldas, a small Colombian warship, was swallowed by the sea on its return to Cartagena. All but one man, sailor Luis Alejandro Velasco, who managed to survive ten days at sea by clinging to a life raft, perished. When Velasco finally washed ashore, he quickly became a national hero; a tool for the government, Velasco did everything from make speeches to advertise watches and shoes. Velasco eventually came forward with his intelligence that the Caldas was carrying illegal cargo, and that the ship was overtaken due to incompetence and negligence. Velaso offered this story to the offices of El Espectador, and tentatively, they accepted. Velasco shared his story with Márquez, who acted as a ghostwriter and recast it into prose.
The story was serialized over two full weeks as "The Truth About My Adventure” by Luis Alejandro Velasco, but it sounds much more familiar placed alongside the short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
Though there is no clear antagonist or protagonist, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” retains its intricacy and emotional resonance. The angel, fallen angel, or man with wings, depending on the reader’s perspective, is treated simultaneously as vermin and a sideshow, though he bears it with silence up until the point that he is wounded. The throngs of people, including Pelayo and Elisenda who both benefit greatly from the fee charged to see their captive, reach the point of treating what could have initially been a gift from God as more subhuman than superhuman; at one point the townsfolk view him as ‘a cataclysm in repose.’
When the angel, fallen angel, or man with wings finally departs, though he has made Pelayo, Elisenda, and their child rich enough to have built a mansion, it seems that the family, especially Elisenda, feel nothing but relief. What is the creature that falls so unceremoniously into their midst? A demon, or a cast-off from God? An angel? An idea from TranquilinaIguarán Cotes? A caricature of Luis Alejandro Velasco? What do you believe?