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In this long-awaited first volume of a planned trilogy, the most acclaimed and revered living Nobel laureate begins to tell us the story of his life.
Like all his work, Living to Tell the Tale is a magnificent piece of writing. It spans Gabriel García Márquez’s life from his birth in 1927 through the start of his career as a writer to the moment in the 1950s when he proposed to the woman who would become his wife. It has the shape, the quality, and the vividness of a conversation with the reader—a tale of people, places, and events as they occur to him: the colorful stories of his eccentric family members; the great influence of his mother and maternal grandfather; his consuming career in journalism, and the friends and mentors who encouraged him; the myths and mysteries of his beloved Colombia; personal details, undisclosed until now, that would appear later, transmuted and transposed, in his fiction; and, above all, his fervent desire to become a writer. And, as in his fiction, the narrator here is an inspired observer of the physical world, able to make clear the emotions and passions that lie at the heart of a life—in this instance, his own.
Living to Tell the Tale is a radiant, powerful, and beguiling memoir that gives us the formation of Gabriel García Márquez as a writer and as a man.
“[Living to Tell the Tale’s] most powerful sections read like one of his mesmerizing novels, transporting the reader to a Latin America haunted by the ghosts of history and shaped by the exigencies of its daunting geography, by its heat and jungles and febrile light. The book provides as memorable a portrait of a young writer’s apprenticeship as the one William Styron gave us in “Sophie’s Choice,” even as it illuminates the alchemy Mr. García Márquez acquired from masters like Faulkner and Joyce and Borges and later used to transform family stories and firsthand experiences into fecund myths of his own.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times