I am often surprised when people talk about the total implausibility of the events in Márquez’s fiction. Having been born and lived in a deeply spiritual and extraordinarily resourceful part of the Caribbean, a lot of what might seem magical to others often seems quite plausible to me.
Of course a woman can live inside her cat, as the character Eva does in Márquez’s 1948 short story ‘Eva Is Inside Her Cat.’ Doesn’t everyone have an aunt who’s done that?"
In Boston, in 1999, at a celebration of the centennial of Ernest Hemingway’s birth, I had the honor of sitting on a panel with Achebe, on the subject of writing about Africa… An evidently confused woman in the audience took the opportunity to ask “In what sense are you writers about Africa?” The other panelists—Nadine Gordimer and Kwame Anthony Appiah—were too baffled to respond. Not Achebe. He leaned into his microphone, and very slowly and melodically, with rolling “R”s and drawn out “O”s, roared: “Read. Our. Books.” The woman said, “But I’m asking you.” And Achebe said, “I’m telling you: Read. Our. Books.”
What better epitaph for the man, and what better way to remember him today: read his books."