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Word power: “…to discover ice”

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.


So begins – in Gregory Rabassa’s English translation – One Hundred Years of Solitude.

No novel I have read has a more potent first sentence.

More than 40 years after I first read it, …Solitude is still one of the most amazing books, ever.

Its Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez called his 1967 original Cien Años de Soledad.

Rabassa’s translation – published in 1970 – delighted the author so much that Márquez said he preferred it over his original.

The book’s title in English and its irresistible opening sentence are both testament to Rabassa’s skill as one of the great translators…as fascinatingly detailed in his New York Times obituary from June this year.

He was also remembered well by The Washington Post 

I took the “ice” photo atop this post in Alaska, last year; it shows a small iceberg, grounded at low tide, just downstream from the snout of one of many glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park – a place to be featured in more than one post on Pelican Yoga, soon.

Last night my beloved and I saw Justin Webster’s excellent documentary about Márquez; Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez is warmly recommended, but it is probably not currently screening at a cinema near you.

Its (probably, only) Perth screening was part of Cine Vivo Latin American Film Festival.

The Festival is a wonderful event, with each screening complemented by appropriate food, “live” music and dance.

The 2016 season has four more Saturday nights, concluding on 3rd of September.

Discover more here.



Published in Americas and Eurasia and Africa miscellaneous nature and travel photographs prose fiction word power

One Comment

  1. Inkku Inkku

    Thanks so much for the documentary tip Doug, I will turn the world upside down in search for it. Still can’t believe ‘Gabo’ is gone.

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