WHEN THE COLOMBIAN NOBEL laureate Gabriel García Márquez died earlier this year, few obituary writers were able to avoid inserting a certain phrase into their lapidary efforts. The American novelist K Ford K wrote in the Huffington Post:
the world of magical realism was an epiphany … I suddenly realized that life was not the black and white, cut and dried reality I had learned in hometown America. A whole new world opened up for me in which the supernatural, the spiritual and the physical coexisted in an exotic mélange that changed my view of life forever.
Even those who chose not to quiver in homage persisted with the phrase. The Economist, for instance, carried this assessment: