Living to Tell the Tale

Gabriel García Márquez

“If you’re going to be a writer you have to be one of the great ones, and they don’t make them anymore,” I told my mother. “After all, there are better ways to starve to death.” This bit of cynical insight comes about half-way through this first volume of a projected three-volume autobiography (translated by Edith Grossman) by the Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera. In Living to Tell the Tale, García Márquez, now in his early 70s, allows his story-telling mind to roam from his childhood in the interior of Colombia to his desultory student/dropout days in the coastal towns to the beginning of his ascension to his current place among internationally recognized master craftsmen of literature. The tale he tells is, much like his fiction, chronologically amorphous in structure and rampant with colorful and illuminating physical detail accented with personal insight, political analysis and philosophical inquiry. A fine addition to his canon.