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Living To Tell The Tale Hardcover – 6 Nov 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First Edition edition (6 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224072781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224072786
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

An exquisite writer, wise, compassionate and extremely funny -- Mary Wesley, Sunday Telegraph

Marquez is the master weaver of the real and the conjectured. His descriptive powers astound. -- VS Pritchett, New Statesman

Marquez’s vision is quite the nearest thing to pure sensual pleasure that prose can offer -- Observer

Perhaps the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Cervantes -- Pablo Neruda

Book Description

The autobiography of one of the world's greatest writers

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
"Living to Tell the Tale," ("Vivir Para Contarla"), is the first book in a planned trilogy that will make up the memoirs of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the renown Colombian writer who initially won public acclaim in the mid-1960s for his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude." At that time, Garcia Marquez, a journalist and writer, had never sold more than 700 copies of a book. While driving his family through Mexico, he had a veritable brainstorm. He remembered his grandmother's storytelling technique - to recall fantastic, improbable events as if they had actually happened - literally. That was the key to recounting the life of the imaginary village of Macondo and her inhabitants. He turned the car around and drove back home to begin "One Hundred Years of Solitude" anew. To my mind it is one of the 20th century's best works of fiction, and was highlighted in the citation awarding Garcia Marquez the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.
"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. The Colonel told his young grandson that there was no greater burden than to have killed a man. Later García Márquez would put these words into the mouths of his characters.
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Format: Paperback
Gabriel García Marquez says that "Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it." And that is, in few words, "Living to tell the tale": the author's version of his own life, as he remembers it now. This book is merely the first volume in the author's three-part autobiography, but it is an essential way to start if we want to know more about him, as a writer but also as a person. "Living to tell the tale" might seem at first sight rather long (544 pages), but that first impression changes quite quickly once you start to read it, because you realize that such a simple looking book contains the events and people that shaped the boy, teenager and young adult that would grow to become one of the best writers of our times.
As we read this book, we become enchanted by the author's eccentric extended family (he is the oldest of 15, between brothers and sisters, in and out of wedlock), and by all the events that would give him inspiration for future books. One of those events is his trip to his native town of Aratacata, in order to help his mother to sell her parents' house in that town. It is in that trip that he decides "I'm going to be a writer...Nothing but a writer". Those already familiar with the author's books will jump happily from their seats from time to time, when they discover exactly who (or what) played an essential role in the birth of books such as "One hundred years of solitude", "Love in the time of cholera" or "The story of the shipwrecked sailor".
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Format: Hardcover
Having tried Marquez after hearing "Love in the Time of Cholera" on the superb channel 4 series "The Book Group", I soon saw why he won the Nobel Prize for literature.

His lyrical style has developed during his career and Living to Tell The Tale is as well written as anything he has done before. He makes everything in his life seem beautiful, and the life itself is certainly an interesting one.

Always honest, Marquez manages to convey his passions for writing, politics and women in a way you can't help loving.
In short, if you like Marquez- or even if you've never heard of him and simply appreciate a master wordsmith- buy this book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all his books this is my favourite. The tragedy is that this is the first of what was to be an autobiographical trilogy and as far as I can see he never got to write volumes 2 and 3. If you are a fan read it and if you are not read it anyway.
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Format: Hardcover
This superbly written portrait of an artist unlocks many mysteries. First and foremost it modestly explains the incredible genius of Gabriel Garcia Marquez the writer. Moreover, it also provides a probing insight to the bloody political violence inside the Republic of Colombia. "Living to Tell the Tale," is a great read for lovers of literature but also objectively gives students of Colombian political history an eye-witness account of a government that was savage with its people.
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.
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