Gabriel García MárquezJust a reminder, now that Gabo is so much in the news with the translation of Volume I of his memoirs. If anybody who does not read Spanish is interested in getting all the in-jokes and more of the context of his most famous novel, there's a pretty good "Monarch Note" available from Barnes & Noble on One Hundred Years of Solitude. I wrote it.
In the first volume of his memoirs, Vivir para contarla (2002), Gabriel García Márquez writes (this is my translation): "my library has never been much more than a working tool, where I can consult instantly a chapter of Dostoyevski, or verify a fact about Julius Caesar's epilepsy or about the mechanism of an automobile carburetor. I even have a manual for committing perfect murders, in case one of my poor characters ever needs one." He also says of the North American novelists he was reading while writing his first novel, La hojarasca (1955; translated as "Leafstorm"), that he read them with "insatiable curiosity" to discover how they were written. He read them first "right side up, then backwards, and I submitted them to a kind of surgical disemboweling until I uncovered the most deeply hidden mysteries of their structure."
I loved that description. I think that's the way any serious writer must work.
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Monarch Note)