Top positive review
A trip up the river Magdalena and into the author's memories, that always holds the attention
on 13 August 2015
There are a number of stories here, linked to a degree by the first episode in the book where the author meets and elderly Garcia Marquez and they talk together about the trip the author is planning up the river Magdalena and the author learns, separately that Garcia Marquez is losing his memories and declining into dementia. The author goes on to narrate his trip up the river, by various means of transport, meeting a wide diversity of Colombians on the way including at the end FARC guerrillas and reflecting not just on the river and its environment, but its history and also the recent history of Colombia. Meanwhile he remembers his parents, both of whom have succumbed to different kinds of dementia, his father having died of Alzheimer's and his mother increasing suffering from loss of memory and confusion and inability to live alone even as the author travels up river in Colombia. He also recalls the story of his parents' meeting, in Sicily in the war, and sides to their character he never fully experienced personally or appreciated. One of his excursions from his central route on the Magdalena is a trip to see some demented Columbians in an area where there is a genetic predisposition to early-onset Alzheimers.
This is a very successful set of ingredients, and forms a book that always holds the interest.