Based on his studies of Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain, Garcia Marquez’s 1975 work El otono del patriarca (translated in 1977 as The Autumn of the Patriarch) further develops the themes of power and solitude. The novel is technically dazzling and is often described as a prose poem.
Revealing an affection for Daniel Defoe’s 1722 A Journal of the Plague Year, Garcia Marquez embellished on the facts of his parents’ marriage in his 1985 novel El amor en los tiempos del colera (translated in 1988 as Love in the Time of Cholera).
The 1968 collection of Garcia Marquez stories called No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories contains many tales of Macondo that contain themes or ideas later developed in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Miguel Angel Asturias, a 1967 Nobel prize winner from Guatemala, wrote a trilogy on the United Fruit Company. He focused on the exploitation of Indians on banana plantations. In English, the titles of the three novels are The Cyclone (1950), The Green Pope (1954), and The Eyes of the Interred (1960).
Terra Nostra, a 1975 novel by Carlos Fuentes-Mexican novelist, critic, and friend of Garcia Marquez-has been compared to One Hundred Years of Solitude. The comparison comes at several intersections: one is the use of the New World chronicles and the two novels’ language concerning the Spanish Conquest; another point is the use of the archive or historian. Fuentes uses the greatest Spanish writer, Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes, instead of a gypsy.
No venture into Latin American literature can begin without the collection of poems Canto General (General Song, 1950), by Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda of Chile. Within that collection is the poem “La United Fruit Co.”
The person of Melquiades is often interpreted as the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges. Master storyteller of the magic realism genre and director of the Argentine national library, Borges, like Melquiades, was a purveyor of knowledge. There are similarities between several of his stories and the character of Aureliano (IV). For example, as in the story “The Aleph” from The Aleph and Other Stories (1970), Aureliano’s glimpse of history is instantaneous.
The term magic realism was applied to the new literature of Latin America by Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier in the late 1940s. His masterpiece is The Lost Steps (1953) where he defines Latin American reality as a blending of primeval myth, Indian story, and the imposition of Spanish civilization. It is this cultural blending that makes possible the fantastic yet believable elements of magic realism.
Another magic realist is the Chilean Isabel Allende, who is best known for her 1982 novel The House of Spirits. The niece of assassinated Chilean President Salvador Allende, the author is more up front with her examination of South American political realities as well as the role of women in that reality.
A Peruvian magic realist is Mario Vargas Llosa, who tells the story of a prophet who incites the people of Brazil to revolt in The War of the End of the World (1981). Led by the prophet, the people found the city of Canudos, where history and civilization is turned upside down-there is no money, tax, or property. It is pure revolution.
Set in Mexico, Like Water for Chocolate (1989) is Mexican writer Laura Esquivel’s contribution to magic realism. The story concerns a daughter who is destined to stay at home to care for her mother. Her lover marries her sister so as to be near-and this leads to passionate tragedy.