Born in Aracataca, Columbia in 1927, Marquez was born into a large family, one of 12 children. Because of finances, he went to live with his materal grandparents. His grandmother greatly influenced him with her stories of ghosts and magic. Reality for her was a mixture of the supernatural and the natural. This approach to life contributed to Marquez's realism and magical realism in his novels, most notably in his most well known work "One Hundred Years of Solitude." His grandfather also influenced his political views and made him critical of imperialism and dictatorship. Other writers also had an influence on him. Marquez admired William Faulker's techniques and use of rural locations. As with Faulkner, Marquez created a fictional location called Macondo and set many of his works in this village. especially in "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Indeed, the theme of solitude plays an important role in his works.
Reading a story or novel by Marquez is an adventure. As the New York Times obituary describes, things happen that are magical but are treated as real. "Storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, and priests levitate..." Marquez is quoted as saying that magical realism came from Latin America's history of dicators and romantic revolutionaries, long years of hunger, illness and violence. Marques was a prolific writer of fifteen novels and many short stories. He was also interested in film. When he was young he worked as a journalist all the while reading intensely. Because of this mixture of "reality" and magic in his work the reader may become confused. Patience is required. The effort is worth it as many readers have found.
He moved to Mexico City in 1961 where he would live for the rest of his life, with trips to Europe and Cuba.
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" insured his financial success. The book's great success pulled him out of debt and made him famous. His many later books and stories cemented his reputation. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 He died at the age of 87 in 2014 at his home in Mexico City