Sat, 19 Apr 2014 14:30:00 GMT | By PTI

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A household name in Kerala

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author and his magical realism had a passionate fan following in southern Indian state

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A household name in Kerala (© Reuters)

Melquin Merchan paints a portrait of Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in front of a museum converted from the house Garcia Marquez grew up in, at Aracataca April 18, 2014

Thiruvananthapuram: He lived all his life far from the shores of Kerala but Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel Garcia Marquez died as one of the state’s most favoured literary names. Indeed, many believe he was, and still is, as favoured a novelist as any great writer in Malayalam.

Almost every work from the pen of the late Colombian author, who died in Mexico City on Friday, at the age of 87, has been translated into Malayalam. And almost every work has sold like hot cakes since the late 1970s.

According to Ravi Deecee, a leading publisher in Kerala, there may not be very many other foreign writers so "celebrated by Malayalis". "Marquez has been accepted and enjoyed by Keralites as a Malayali writer and not as a foreigner. We first published Marquez in Malayalam in early 1980s and he continues to be a top-seller," Ravi told PTI.

The publisher has no doubt that the Latin American literary giant would figure in the list of top 25 writers preferred by Malayali readers of any generation.

Ravi's D C Books has published Malayalam translation of three of Marquez's novels - One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera and Strange Pilgrims.

According to noted writer Akbar Kakkattil, it would be difficult sum up, in a few words, what made Marquez's works so attractive to Malayalis. "I can only say that Malayali readers took to Marquez as a felicitous writer and also on account of the depth of his works and their peculiar narration. Though Malayalam has a long tradition of translating literary works from all languages, not other writer seems to have achieved the reach of Marquez," Akbar, who is also vice-president of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, said.

Marquez’s fame extended beyond the pages of his books; during film festivals in the state, movies based on his novels and tales ran to packed houses. The Colombian author’s name had the power to lure one and all, according to B Sajeevan, a film buff.

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