Faulkner, Hemingway, and García Márquez

I don’t know who said that novelists read the novels of others only to figure out how they are written. I believe it’s true. We aren’t satisfied with the secrets exposed on the surface of the page: we turn the book around to find the seams. In a way that’s impossible to explain, we break the book down to its essential parts and then put it back together after we understand the mysteries of its personal clockwork. The effort is disheartening in Faulkner’s books, because he doesn’t seem to have an organic system of writing, but instead walks blindly through his biblical universe, like a herd of goats loosed in a shop full of crystal. Managing to dismantle a page of his, one has the impression of springs and screws left over, that it’s impossible to put back together in its original state. Hemingway, by contrast, with less inspiration, with less passion and less craziness but with a splendid severity, left the screws fully exposed, as they are on freight cars. Maybe for that reason Faulkner is a writer who has had much to do with my soul, but Hemingway is the one who had the most to do with my craft—not simply for his books, but for his astounding knowledge of the aspect of craftsmanship in the science of writing.

—Gabriel García Márquez, 1981 (source)

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One comment on “Faulkner, Hemingway, and García Márquez

  1. Stefanie says:

    “like a herd of goats loosed in a shop full of crystal.”
    Hmm, that pretty much sums up what reading Faulkner is like for me. 🙂

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