One die-hard fan of the deceased Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez is city lad and naval Commander Abhilash Tomy, who relished his own solitude during the 151 days he spent at sea, all alone on a sail boat while at the feat of becoming India’s only non-stop solo circumnavigator.
Cdr. Tomy first read Marquez as a 17-year-old trainee at the Naval Academy, then located in Goa, and has gone back to ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ several times over ever since.
“It was a copy borrowed from the academy library,” he recalls.Unmatched prose
Marquez’s unmatched prose swept him off his feet and the intrepid sailor embarked on a fulfilling voyage through the fluid narratives of the dapper author, gulping down most of his works as soon as they came out in English.
‘One Hundred…’ was the first book he read over two nights while on the solo circumnavigation.
Marquez’s storytelling is only limited by his imagination; he chooses to convey everything, ideas, memory, sense of place and the like, with a rare fluidity that many others like Paulo Coelho tried their hands at with little success, says Cdr. Tomy.
The beauty of his style is such that he could write an entire paragraph in a single run-on sentence without making you feel the weightiness of the syntactical structure.
We come across all his extraordinary characters in our lives.
But their extraordinary and otherworldly musings never make us feel strange about them, be it the remark of Aureliano Buendia, who finds ‘ice boiling’ when touched or the conversation of two people meeting in dreams in ‘Eyes of a Blue Dog’.
While ‘One Hundred…’ remains Cdr. Tomy’s personal favourite, ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, ‘Strange Pilgrims’, ‘Memories of My Melancholy Whores’ and some of his essays and non-fiction works also rank alongside.
He finds the elements in Marquez’s world bearing a strong semblance with their counterparts in Kerala.
“The hot and humid climes even in monsoons, the banana plantations on which incessant rains drum up music, the Roman Catholic Church are so Kerala-like,” he says.
Marquez’s treatment of time as moving back and forth and at times standing still is in sync with our own mythical concepts, says the sailor.