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The Man Behind "The Boom"

    Nineteenth century clergyman Phillips Brooks devoted much time to investigating the relationship between literature and the author's life experiences. He concluded: "life comes Before literature, as the material always comes before the work. The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues." Today, the world blooms with distinguished Latin American literature, a literary epoch known as "the boom." One author, Colombian novelist and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, set off the boom when he won the Novel Prize for literature in 1982. Born in 1927 or 1928 (there is some discrepancy), Garcia Marquez is known for the "magic realism that characterizes his writing. Magic realism describes the author's ability to make the line between the real and the magical indefinable. But magic realism is a part of Garcia Marquez's "statues." The marble is found in those aspects of his life and times which influenced Garcia Marquez; this is the material he has used to create his works. He cherishes Colombian culture, and uses literature to communicate that culture to an international audience. But a component of Colombian society remains so dominant in Garcia Marquez's life as well as Colombia as a whole, it has exerted its own, individual influence over the author: death, both violent and non-violent. By integrating these influences with his work, Garcia Marquez has pioneered "the boom" and become internationally recognized as Latin America's literary -and even political -voice.
    Garcia Marquez's native culture has influenced him tremendously; he maintains a particular devotion to the coastal region where he grew up. Garcia Marquez spent his first  eight years as a costeno, living with his grandparents in Aracataca, a coastal town. The costeno culture differs significantly from the Colombian highlands' cachaco culture: "To the costenos (coastals) of the Caribbean, the cachacos...tend to be uncomfortably stiff, formal, haughty and aristocratic" (Dolan, 46). During the years spent with his grandparents, Garcia Marquez grew to cherish the coastal region and its culture. In an interview with Playboy magazine, Garcia Marquez eloquently and lovingly recalled his roots:
Clearly, the Latin American environment is marvelous, particularly the Caribbean.  The coastal people were descendants of pirates and smugglers, with a mixture of  black slaves. To grow up in such an environment is to have fantastic resources for poetry. Also in the Caribbean, we are capable of believing anything, because we have the influences of all those different cultures, mixed in with Catholicism (150).