Read 10 Short Stories by Gabriel García Márquez Free Online (Plus More Essays & Interviews)

Image by Fes­ti­val Inter­na­cional de Cine en Guadala­jara via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

“Our inde­pen­dence from Span­ish dom­i­na­tion did not put us beyond the reach of mad­ness,” said Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez in his 1982 Nobel Prize accep­tance speech. Gar­cía Márquez, who died yes­ter­day at the age of 87, refers of course to all of Spain’s for­mer colonies in Latin Amer­i­ca and the Caribbean, from his own Colom­bia to Cuba, the island nation whose artis­tic strug­gle to come to terms with its his­to­ry con­tributed so much to that art form gen­er­al­ly known as “mag­i­cal real­ism,” a syn­cretism of Euro­pean mod­ernism and indige­nous art and folk­lore, Catholi­cism and the rem­nants of Amerindi­an and African reli­gions.

While the term has per­haps been overused to the point of banal­i­ty in crit­i­cal and pop­u­lar appraisals of Latin-Amer­i­can writ­ers (some pre­fer Cuban nov­el­ist Ale­jo Carpentier’s lo real mar­avil­loso, “the mar­velous real”), in Marquez’s case, it’s hard to think of a bet­ter way to describe the dense inter­weav­ing of fact and fic­tion in his life’s work as a writer of both fan­tas­tic sto­ries and unflinch­ing jour­nal­is­tic accounts, both of which grap­pled with the gross hor­rors of colo­nial plun­der and exploita­tion and the sub­se­quent rule of blood­thirsty dic­ta­tors, incom­pe­tent patri­archs, venal oli­garchs, and cor­po­rate gang­sters in much of the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

Nev­er­the­less, it’s a descrip­tion that some­times seems to obscure Gar­cía Mar­quez’s great pur­pose, mar­gin­al­iz­ing his lit­er­ary vision as trendy exot­i­ca or a “post­colo­nial hang­over.” Once asked in a Paris Review inter­view the year before his Nobel win about the dif­fer­ence between the nov­el and jour­nal­ism, Gar­cía Márquez replied, “Noth­ing. I don’t think there is any dif­fer­ence. The sources are the same, the mate­r­i­al is the same, the resources and the lan­guage are the same.”

In jour­nal­ism just one fact that is false prej­u­dices the entire work. In con­trast, in fic­tion one sin­gle fact that is true gives legit­i­ma­cy to the entire work. That’s the only dif­fer­ence, and it lies in the com­mit­ment of the writer. A nov­el­ist can do any­thing he wants so long as he makes peo­ple believe in it.

Gar­cía Márquez made us believe. One would be hard-pressed to find a 20th cen­tu­ry writer more com­mit­ted to the truth, whether expressed in dense mythol­o­gy and baroque metaphor or in the dry ratio­nal­ist dis­course of the West­ern epis­teme. For its mul­ti­tude of incred­i­ble ele­ments, the 1967 nov­el for which Gar­cía Márquez is best known—One Hun­dred Years of Soli­tude—cap­tures the almost unbe­liev­able human his­to­ry of the region with more emo­tion­al and moral fideli­ty than any strict­ly fac­tu­al account: “How­ev­er bizarre or grotesque some par­tic­u­lars may be,” wrote a New York Times review­er in 1970, “Macon­do is no nev­er-nev­er land.” In fact, Gar­cía Márquez’s nov­el helped dis­man­tle the very real and bru­tal South Amer­i­can empire of banana com­pa­ny Unit­ed Fruit, a “great irony,” writes Rich Cohen, of one mythol­o­gy lay­ing bare anoth­er: “In col­lege, they call it ‘mag­i­cal real­ism,’ but, if you know his­to­ry, you under­stand it’s less mag­i­cal than just plain real, the stuff of news­pa­pers returned as lived expe­ri­ence.”

Edith Gross­man, trans­la­tor of sev­er­al of Gar­cía Márquez’s works—including Love in the Time of Cholera and his 2004 auto­bi­og­ra­phy Liv­ing to Tell the Tale (Vivir para Cotar­la)—agrees. “He doesn’t use that term at all, as far as I know,” she said in a 2005 inter­view with Guer­ni­ca’s Joel Whit­ney: “It’s always struck me as an easy, emp­ty kind of remark.” Instead, Gar­cía Márquez’s style, says Gross­man, “seemed like a way of writ­ing about the excep­tion­al­ness of so much of Latin Amer­i­ca.”

Today, in hon­or and with tremen­dous grat­i­tude for that inde­fati­ga­ble chron­i­cler of excep­tion­al lived expe­ri­ence, we offer sev­er­al online texts of Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez’s short works at the links below.

Harper­Collins’ online pre­view of Gar­cía Mar­quez’s Col­lect­ed Sto­ries includes the full text of “The Third Res­ig­na­tion,” “The Oth­er Side of Death,” “Eva Is Inside Her Cat,” “Bit­ter­ness for Three Sleep­walk­ers,” and “Dia­logue with the Mir­ror,” all from the author’s 1972 col­lec­tion Eyes of a Blue Dog (Ojos de per­ro azul).

At The New York­er, you can read Gar­cía Mar­quez’s sto­ry “The Autumn of the Patri­arch” (1976) and his 2003 auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal essay “The Chal­lenge.”

Fol­low the links below for more of Gar­cía Mar­quez’s short fic­tion from var­i­ous uni­ver­si­ty web­sites:

Death Con­stant Beyond Love” (1970)

The Hand­somest Drowned Man in the World” (1968)

A Very Old Man with Enor­mous Wings” (1955)

Vis­it The Mod­ern Word for an excel­lent bio­graph­i­cal sketch of the author.

See The New York Times for “A Talk with Gabriel Gar­cia Mar­quez” in the year of his Nobel win, an essay in which he recounts his 1957 meet­ing with Ernest Hem­ing­way, and many more reviews and essays.

Final­ly, we should also men­tion that you can down­load Love in the Time of Cholera or Hun­dred Years of Soli­tude for free (as audio books) if you join’s 30-day pro­gram. We have details on it here.

As we say farewell to one of the world’s great­est writ­ers, we can remem­ber him not only as a writer of “mag­i­cal real­ism,” what­ev­er that phrase may mean, but as a teller of com­pli­cat­ed, won­drous, and some­times painful truths, in what­ev­er form he hap­pened to find them.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read 18 Short Sto­ries From Nobel Prize-Win­ning Writer Alice Munro Free Online

Read 12 Mas­ter­ful Essays by Joan Did­ion for Free Online, Span­ning Her Career From 1965 to 2013

10 Free Sto­ries by George Saun­ders, Author of Tenth of Decem­ber, “The Best Book You’ll Read This Year”

600 Free eBooks: Down­load Great Books for Free

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (15)
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  • Laura says:

    It’s Colom­bia not Colum­bia in the first para­graf: “From his own Colom­bia to Cuba…”

  • Faisal says:

    Gar­cia books are very impor­tant I hope you exe­cute this offer very soon

  • topo lowks says:

    keep your head up pero.….

  • hassan fayiz says:

    I want more books free send me please

  • Tony says:

    It’s also spelt “para­graph” not “para­graf”. Cor­rect your­self before you cor­rect oth­ers.

  • Rocio says:

    Haha­ha­ha, this whole thread is a mess!

  • Megan Miller says:

    Since we’re being pet­ty, should I point out John’s lack of punc­tu­a­tion?

  • E. Margolis says:

    There does­n’t seem to be any­thing “free” about this. Fraud

  • Doni says:

    Hey friends . I think you have read Gabriel Gar­cía ‘s books
    . I am not sure
    could you advice me start­ing from which one book .
    Thanks from before . My mail is “”

  • Carlos says:

    The cor­rect trans­la­tion of “Liv­ing to tell the tale” is “Vivir para con­tar­la”

  • Juan . Antonio says:

    Well, I would say the … trans­la­tion of “Vivir para con­tar­la” is … all the way around, from the orig­i­nal in Span­ish to Eng­lish. I am Span­ish speak­ing and have the immense for­tune or read­ing Márquez in its orig­i­nal lan­guage. The images, the vocab­u­lary, the mag­ic of his books, espe­cial­ly the enor­mous Hun­dred years of soli­tude, is a gift that we one can­not stop enjoy­ing, I still remem­ber what I felt read­ing Cróni­ca de una muerte anun­ci­a­da, El coro­nel no tiene quien le escri­ba, Del amor y otros demo­ni­os…

  • January says:

    ..the spelling points are irrel­e­vant. This was a very good arti­cle about Gabriel Gar­cía Márquez. (I love his the under­ly­ing ideas …the soul from the body, love, sep­a­ra­tion… I regret nev­er meet­ing him in per­son.

  • Sam says:

    You’re all hor­ri­ble.

  • Ade Granger says:

    ‘Exe­cute’? Sounds like you are an exe­cu­tion­er and not just a read­er!

  • Ade Granger says:

    It’s ‘Polom­bia’ now, as called by Iván Duque, alias Porky the inept, the worst pres­i­dent that fate­ful and unequal coun­try has ever had.

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