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a Review of Garcia Marquez’s Living to Tell the Tale

Gabo (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) has confessed that it is still on his conscience that he initiated me into what I still possess to this day, “an addiction to easy-to-read bestsellers as a method of purification from official documents”. To which I must add his responsibility in convincing me not only that I want to be a writer in my next reincarnation, but that I want to be one like him, with those stubborn and persistent details that, like a philosopher’s stone, give total credibility to his dazzling exaggerations.

His literature is authentic proof of his sensibility and the fact that he will never give up his origins, his Latin American inspiration and loyalty to the truth, his progressive thinking.

He and I share a scandalous theory on the relativity of words in language. Also, as a public man obliged to write speeches and narrate events, I agree with the illustrious writer on the delight of finding the exact word–a kind of shared and inexhaustible obsession–until the phrase fits our criteria. Above all, I admire the fact that when an exact word doesn’t exist, he calmly invents one. How I admire that licence of his!

Now, with the publication of his autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale, we have Gabo on Gabo. A book of his memories, a work that conjures up nostalgia for the thunder at four in the afternoon, which was the time of lightning and magic that his mother Luisa Santiaga Marquez Iguaran missed when she was far away from Aracataca, the unpaved village of eternal torrential rain, traditions of alchemy, the telegraph and turbulent, sensational love which populates Maconda, the small town found in the pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I have always received from Gabo pages that he is still working on, with that generous and simple gesture with which he always sent me–and other people whom he appreciates very much–the preliminary drafts of his books, as proof of our old and affectionate friendship. This time he conveyed himself with sincerity, candour and vehemence, unveiling himself just as he is, a man of cosmic talent with the generosity of a child, a man for tomorrow, and we thank him for having lived that life in order to tell it.

 

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Fidel Castro’s column appears in Granma.

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