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Living to Tell the Tale Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 4, 2003
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
"Living to Tell The Tale" relates the early years of the author's life, although some of the book's most important incidents predate Garcia Marquez's birth. The impact of these experiences, the people and their stories, were to have a powerful effect on him, as a man and as a writer. This is the tale of his parents' courtship, marriage and the birth of their children, Garcia Marquez, (Gabito), the oldest, and his ten siblings. It tells of his early years which were spent in Aracataca, in the home of his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía, was a Liberal veteran of the War of a Thousand Days. He was supposedly a storyteller of great repute. The Colonel told his young grandson that there was no greater burden than to have killed a man.Read more ›
In the words of Gabito..."I was brought up in the lawless space of the Caribbean,"...the Nobel laureate explains with pride the difference between "Costenos" (Colombians raised on the coast) and "Cachacos" (Colombians raised in Bogota). In some ways...it is comparable to the difference between very laid-back, open minded Californians and super-serious, ambitious New Yorkers. However, the essential point the author makes is the cultural mind-set he was raised with. A mind-set filled with surreal coastal dreams and the reality of the 1928 banana workers massacre in Cienaga which his loving Mother explained to him, "that's where the world ended."
Gabito was born on March 6, 1927. He was heavily influenced by the sensitivities of his Mother and grandfather, Colonel Nicolas Ricardo Marques Mejia (called Papalelo by his grandchildren). The Colonel was a veteran of the Liberal/Conservative War of One Thousand Days (1899-1903). Consequently, the author learned from an early age that Colombia was a nation of many civil wars and that political differences inside the borders of his nation often ended in violence.
Papaledo taught his devoted grandson that General Simon Bolivar (the George Washington of South America) "was the greatest man born in the history of the world.Read more ›
Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The most engaging portions fo Marquez autobiography are those parallel to the village tales of A Hundred Years of Solitude, that is, his childhood memories, interactions with his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by C. Adelman
Perhaps all these one-star "critics" should read the book in Spanish. English translations are notoriously poor.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
The key to understanding Gabo and truly appreciating his art.Published 11 months ago by Charles H. Lustig
boring and just looooooong.. read more books of him but this one.. I was unable to finish.Published 13 months ago by roos voermans
This was my first book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I very much looked forward to reading it. While I enjoyed the descriptions of his life, life in Colombia, his family, his... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lucia