Born on March 6, 1928, Gabriel García Márquez has been acclaimed as one of the finest Latin-American writers. Shortly after his birth, his parents surrendered him to his maternal grandparents, who raised him until he turned eight years old. He grew up in Aractaca, Colombia, a town nearby to the Caribbean where banana cultivation was the prime source of income. His grandfather, a retired colonel, was a Liberal veteran of the War of a Thousand Days, and often told Márquez stories of the battlefield. His grandmother was also a storyteller, and told the young Márquez tales of folklore, legends, and ghosts.
The history behind Márquez's mother and father provided the writer a basis for Love in the Time of Cholera, particularly for the character of Florentino Ariza. Like Florentino Ariza, Márquez's father, Gabriel Eligio Gracia, was known as somewhat of a philanderer in the community, and was rumored to have fathered four illegitimate children. Gracia courts Márquez's mother, Luisa Santiaga Márquez Iguarán, as Florentino Ariza courts Fermina Daza in the novel, but the girl's father, the Colonel, who is comparable to Lorenzo Daza's character, discourages the romance from developing, on account of García's tarnished reputation. Gárcia woos his beloved Iguarán with violin serenades, love poems, and innumerable letters, just as Florentino woos Fermina in the novel.
Márquez's own life also parallels the events and characters of Love in the Time of Cholera. Like Fermina Daza's character, Márquez's love interest and future wife had asked that he wait until she had graduated from primary school to ask for her hand in marriage. The novel also reflects Márquez's own life when Florentino and Fermina are forced apart; Márquez had to wait fourteen years before he could marry his beloved, and during those fourteen years, she promised, as do Florentino and Fermina, to stay true throughout.
Obeying his parent's request, Márquez studied law and journalism at the National University in Bogota and at the University of Cartagena, but dropped out after three years of schooling, inspired by Kafka's The Metamorphosis, for it was not law he wanted to practice, but the craft of writing. Beginning in 1948, he worked as a journalist, traveling abroad to various locations in Latin America and Europe. His journalism career, to which he dedicated over ten years, led him to an interest in film. During the 1960's, Márquez moved to Mexico City, and in 1979, founded a film school near Havanna, Cuba. In 1982, he returned to his homeland, Colombia; later that same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Márquez is best known for his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which was published in 1967. He is regarded as one of the central figures of the Magic Realism movement in literature during the late 1940's. The term 'Magic Realism' was first used by the German critic Franz Roh in 1925 to classify a group of Post-Expressionist painters, but in the late 1940's, the term was adopted and applied to define a narrative tendency in Latin American writing. The literary movement, which lasted until 1970, can be defined as a preoccupation or interest in showing something common or daily into something unreal or strange.