Living To Tell The Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (trans Edith Grossman) - review by Sebastian Shakespeare

Sebastian Shakespeare

Tall Tales

Living To Tell The Tale


Jonathan Cape 484pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Gabriel García Márquez said he found Don Quixote boring until he was advised by a friend to read it every day on the loo. Only then could he relish the work and learn entire episodes by heart. Perhaps that is why the Nobel laureate has given us his own life story in instalments. This is the first volume of a planned trilogy and takes us from his birth in 1927 to the late 1950s. As Fidel Castro declared on the book's publication in Latin America, here at last we have Gabo on Gabo. We also have Gabo on Fidel, Gabo on Sophocles and Gabo on Virginia Woolf. (So taken was García Márquez with Old Lady Woolf that he borrowed the pseudonym Septimus from a character in Mrs Dalloway for his daily newspaper column in 1950.)

There is much to enjoy in this book: the sights, scents and tastes of Colombia; his relationships with family, friends and mentors; and his formative years as a journalist and author. Gabo, the son of a telegraph operator, was the eldest of eleven children. By his own account, he was

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