After the death of patriarch José Arcadio Buendía in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the residents of the town of Macondo experienced an unusual rainfall. “When the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling,” writes Gabriel García Márquez. “So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.”
Yesterday, as hundreds of enormous yellow butterflies perched in the nearby trees, some of Marquez’s ashes were laid to rest in the cloisters of Cartagena University in his childhood home of Cartagena, Colombia. They are hidden in stonework beneath a bronze bust of the author, also unveiled during the ceremony. Most of the 400 attendees dressed in white, Agence France-Presse reports.
Marquez died in 2014, at age 87. During his lifetime, he became one of the world’s foremost literary figures, winning the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature and breathing new, magic-tinged life into Latin American history through his multigenerational novels. Although Márquez had a state funeral after his death, there was some argument over where his ashes should end up—in Aracataca, Colombia, where he was born, or in Mexico City, where he lived out most of his days.
In the end, some of his ashes stayed in Mexico, while others are in Cartagena. Residents of both places may want to keep an eye out for strange, poetic precipitation.
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