A hot summer is the perfect time to read Gabriel García Márquez, because the languid heat and breath-stealing humidity mirrors the weather he writes of in his Columbian cities, imagined or real. This is the heat in which his characters live, love, grow old and sick, and finish their lives in a flourish of sadness and of nostalgia without regret.
My summer started with a trip to Nicaragua, the country's heat a stern teacher of hydration and how to sweat without caring. The green countryside drips with the heat, flowers full like plump lips of a woman ready to kiss you and bright red Malinche trees growing like red lights in a window.
The fascination with Latin America and the intersection of transatlanticism moves on, trailing down south to each successive country, starting in a melting pot of states, Louisiana, stopping in Nicaragua, in Cuba, thanks to Graham Greene and Michael Eastman, and finally ending in Columbia. My head is filled with saturated colors worn down by time and memory, full of Márquez's words in which one ages faster in photographs than in real life and in which one realizes they are old when they look in the mirror and sees their father at the age at which they were born. My heart beats with the fantasy, the lines of disillusionment and nostalgia blurring into the lives of people I feel like I should know.
["Portrait, Havana" by Michael Eastman; click to see the rest of his work. His Cuba photographs look like what Márquez writes.]
Want to read what Gabriel García Márquez writes? Start with a leisurely read (we are in Latin America, are we not, full of mananas) Love in the Time of Cholera, dabble in some short stories (Strange Pilgrims), move onto Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and once practiced in his style of Magical Realism, tackle One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's worth every moment, every effort you put into reading, I promise.