GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: AN APPRECIATION By Edwidge Danticat The New YOrker
At the beginning of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Macondo’s patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, wants to move the idyllic yet isolated community he founded to another, more accessible location. And, since no one else wants to go with him, he decides that he and his wife, Úrsula, and their son should leave by themselves.
“We will not leave,” his wife says, reminding him that Macondo was their son’s birthplace.
“We have still not had a death,” he tells her. “A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground.” To which his wife replies, “If I have to die for the rest of you to stay here, I will die.”
This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard that Gabriel García Márquez had died. I have always loved that scene. For anyone who’s been forced, or has chosen, to start a new life in a new place, these words seem to provide at least two possible markers by which one can begin to belong. By Úrsula’s definition, it is through life. By her husband’s, it is through death.