I’ve read books like The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Love in the Time of Cholera and I think I’ve understood them. They’re about girls, right? – High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

After an extended struggle with ill health, Gabriel García Márquez passed away on Thursday, 17 April, at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

The Colombian literary giant was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Márquez’s many works, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The General in His Labyrinth, reportedly sold more copies than anything else published in Spanish (with the exception of the Bible).

Arguably the single important proponent of magical realism, Márquez never credited himself as the creator of the genre. Instead, he  saw it as a natural outcome of “a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.” Latin America has had its fair share of dictators and revolutionaries amidst poverty, sickness, and violence.

In a sense, Nick Hornby’s little joke about Love in the Time of Cholera isn’t that far off the mark.. In the hands of a master like Márquez , the book could be about love as a form of sickness, using narrative as a deceptive literary device, or simply “about girls.”