Echoing Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited, Márquez uses his memoir as justification for telling an artful story that challenges notions of authoritative record or chronology. Time is porous in Márquez's Colombia, flowing back and forth among the mythic moments of his personal history to accommodate his fascination for place. While recalling a trip he took as an adult to his grandparents' house in Aracataca, he veers suddenly back to childhood and his earliest infant memories in that house. Nearly one hundred pages have passed before he returns effortlessly to the pivotal moment on the trip when he declares to himself and family: "I'm going to be a writer... Nothing but a writer.'
Similarly, Márquez toys with the boundaries of truth and fiction throughout his book. He acknowledges that his memory is often faulty, especially with regards to his crucial, formative years with his grandparents. And his explorations of key moments in his life show that, despite his vivid mental snapshots, the events were often temporally impossible. Further, he colors his tale with recollections of ghostly presences and occult events that pass without a wink into his narrative, alongside the documented accounts of his early successes as a poet and singer or details of his first published writings.
With its play on time and truth, memory and storytelling, Living to Tell the Tale's literary form acts as early evidence for Márquez's inevitable calling as a writer, and the language of Edith Grossman's translation, which frequently skirts the boundaries of poetry, mirrors Márquez's effort. While he meanders on his picaresque artistic journey--distracted by trysts with a married woman, the tumult of Colombian politics, and the raw energy of the journalist's life--he ends this first volume with the tantalizing promise of the literary career about to explode, and the impossible prospect of even greater riches for his readers. --Patrick OKelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a comment about the translator's achievement, not about the author's achievement.
I translate books from Spanish into English as an exercise to improve my... Read more
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a masterful story-teller. This book relates the early half of his life in the time-bending style made famous in his fiction. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr. D.
My parents are from Colombia and Gabriel Garcia Marquez has always been an enigma to me. With his recent death, I picked up this book after reading that he wrote it in his... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dr. Wilson Trivino
Marquez's journey from youth to successful author. Portrait of his environment, friends and family entertains for a while, then becomes repetitive. Stopped halfway through.Published 4 months ago by judygarlandheartbreaker.com
I found it very interesting and it served as an introduction to other Latin authors and the early literary scene as it evolved from his youth to that of an adult. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mr. Baker
I have enjoyed reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's fiction for years and this memoir reads, in many ways, like a great novel. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Katie Pickard Fawcett
Nobel Prize winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez has written the first volume of his memoirs and they offer much insight into the man, his art, and the times in which he went... Read morePublished 20 months ago by C. B Collins Jr.