If it weren't for Gabriel García Márquez, I wouldn't be the Latina I am today.
The Colombian writer, who died Thursday at age 87 in Mexico, gave me, a Hispanic born in the United States, the gift of self identity. I always knew I was puertorriqueña but Márquez put my Latino-ness into context, he put a stamp on it.
|Portrait of the writer Gabriel García Márquez as a young man|
Reading One Hundred Years of Solitude as a young adult was a gamechanger. Where had Márquez been all my life? Márquez – I can't call him Gabo without feeling self concious– gave me Macondo, a place that contained some of Puerto Rico, some of New York, some of everything I knew and had experienced. Except it didn't have a name, until then.