Skip to main content
Gabriel García Márquez and his wife, Mercedes Barcha

Gabriel García Márquez was born on 6 March 1927 in Aracataca, a small Colombian town. From a small age, he showed his passion for writing. Although he started studying Law, he quit his studies and focused on journalism. He was politically active and supported socialistic ideas. While working as a journalist, he discovered Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner, two writes who heavily influenced him. It took 7 years for Gabriel García Márquez to find a publisher for his first novella “Leaf Storm”. The book was finally published in 1955. And the rest is history for the writer who made magic realism a key reference in the History of Literature.

In this article, we will rank Gabriel García Márquez’s novels and novellas. We will not include his short stories and his non-fiction works, but we definitely recommend them. “The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and her Heartless Grandmother” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” are among our favorites. From his non-fiction books, you should read “The Solitude of Latin America” , “News of a Kidnapping” and “Living to Tell the Tale“.

Here is our ranking, starting from less great to masterpiece:

10. In Evil Hour

In Evil Hour” we have some of the main attributes that we will meet throughout Marquez’s bibliography. Satire, politics and the problems of common people are present in this story. It is a novel of under 200 pages and it is worth to be discovered, although we believe that his next novels revealed his mastery.

9. Leaf Storm

This is how it all began. Macondo, the fictitious town that is the place where the Buendia family resides, appears for the first time in this novella. In this novella, Macondo is the town where the banana company has landed, and many people arrive to find work. The narration starts “in media res”, meaning in the middle of things. Something has happened and then the narrationg goes backwards and forward. It also has multiple narrators in first person. Although we have it low in our ranking, it is a very interesting book and you need to read it.

8. Of Love and Other Demons

A typical example of his magic realism, “Of Love and Other Demons“, this story takes place in the 18th century. Sierva Maria is a young marquise is bitten by a rabid dog. She has no signs of rabies, but she receives all kind of treatments and her family sends her to a convent. Over there, Father Cayetano will fall in love with her and will try to save her. Sierva Maria will go through a lot of pain, including exorcism, which will lead to her death. Even though they cut her hair, the hair still grows after her death. All things considered, you will enjoy this slow-burn novel.

7. The Autumn of the Patriarch

When one person concentrates a huge amount of power, then nothing good can happen. This is how we would summarize “The Autumn of the Patriarch“. Gabriel García Márquez hated dictators and he has witnessed dictatorships both in his country and all over Latin America. With this book, he satirized real dictators and how stupid they can be. On the same time though, their actions can lead to catastrophic results for people who are under them. One of the most political books Gabriel García Márquez ever wrote.

6. Memories of my Melancholy Whores

If this book had been published nowadays, it would provoke huge arguments. But all of those arguments would lose the main point of this novella. Age does not play a role when Love appears. For his 90th birthday, a journalist wants to have sex with a virgin girl. He finds a 14-year-old girl who is selling her virginity in order to assist her family. Instead of sex, the 90 year-old journalist falls in love with the girl for the first time in his life. Even if you may find the story disturbing, please read this novella first. We are sure that you will fall in love with it.

5. The General in his Labyrinth

A mixture of novel and historical essay, this book narrates the last months of Simon Bolivar, or “The Liberator”. Again it starts “in media res”, and goes backwards and forward. Simon Bolivar was a key figure for independence in Latin America. That’s why many critics from this country were surprised by the fact that Gabriel García Márquez decided to present negative aspects of that figure. Moreover, several critics from North America and Europe were not excited by this mixture of genres, as they thought that it cannot help the audience learn more about Bolivar or feel empathy for him. Having said all the above, we believe that it is a book that will make you reflect on the History of Latin America and make you want to search more about it.

4. Chronicle of a Death Foretold

A newly-wed woman is dragged back to her mother because she was not virgin on the night of her marriage. Her twin brothers learn who was the man who took her virginity and openly announce that they are going to murder him. Several people learn about what the twins want to do, but nobody informs the person who is going to be murdered. Moral values play a vital role in the Colombian society and Márquez knows how to satirize them in an excellent manner. A must-read book.

3. No One Writes to the Colonel

Realism prevails magic realism in this excellent novella by Gabriel García Márquez. A retired colonel hopes that one day he will receive the pension he was promised. During the years of Civil War, the colonel attends the funeral of a friend who did not die due to war. He has lost his son and on his free time he trains his rooster for cockfights. Gabriel García Márquez explained in his autobiography that his grandfather, who was also a colonel, was an inspiration for this story. In less than 200 pages, Gabriel García Márquez clearly depicts the bad conditions that were taking place in Colombia during those times.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera

51 Years, 9 Months and 4 Days. That’s the time Florentino Ariza had to wait until his true love, Fermina, is still free. During this time, Florentino reflects on his life while having several adventures with women. Fermina has rejected Florentino and marries Urbino and stays faithful to him. Through this fascinating novel, Gabriel García Márquez explores the theme of passion and love and proves one more time that Age doesn’t matter when true love awaits.

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude

The history of the Buendia family is the history of Latin America. A history of wars, passion and fight for freedom. The magical realist style made this book so popular around the world. You can find it in many lists with the best books ever written. And it deserves to be there. An ode to all the people who fight for their dreams but also fight to survive. The story of Macondo, its rise and fall. The story of people who are alone because the others do not understand them. Finally, the story of all of us, whether you are Colombian, Latin American, European etc. A universal story that will be relevant one hundred years from now.

Leave a Reply