A friend asked me if all Colombians were in mourning when Gabriel García Márquez passed away a few days ago. While I haven't personally asked all Colombians, the general feeling is that García Márquez was a source of pride for a country that has experienced its fair share of tragedy.
Don't tell my 12th grade English teacher that I never actually read 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I started it, but was so confused and bored that I didn't make it very far. Years later when we moved to Bogotá, I decided to give García Márquez another try, this time with Love in the Time of Cholera. Though his style isn't my favorite, I loved his vivid descriptions of Colombia, especially the Magdalena River. That book was what made me want to see this great river - Colombia's equivalent of the Mississippi - and I made my way to Honda last year, an old inland port city. García Márquez's obvious love for his homeland comes through in his writing, which is one reason I believe Colombians revere him as much as they do. Not to mention that he is this country's only Nobel laureate.
In this country that is known internationally more for its cocaine than its culture, the fact that Gabriel García Márquez is a household name abroad shows that Colombia has much more to give to the world.