Living to Tell the Tale

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What to expect

One of the most acclaimed and revered Nobel laureates begins to tell us the story of his life.

Living to Tell the Tale spans Gabriel García Márquez’s life from his birth in 1927 through the start of his career as a writer to the moment in the 1950s when he proposed to the woman who would become his wife. It has the shape, the quality, and the vividness of a conversation with the reader—a tale of people, places, and events as they occur to him: the colorful stories of his eccentric family members; the great influence of his mother and maternal grandfather; his consuming career in journalism, and the friends and mentors who encouraged him; the myths and mysteries of his beloved Colombia; personal details, undisclosed until now, that would appear later, transmuted and transposed, in his fiction; and, above all, his fervent desire to become a writer. And, as in his fiction, the narrator here is an inspired observer of the physical world, able to make clear the emotions and passions that lie at the heart of a life—in this instance, his own.

Living to Tell the Tale is a radiant, powerful, and beguiling memoir that gives us the formation of Gabriel García Márquez as a writer and as a man.

Critics Review

  • “Every bit as bawdy, fantastical, and complex as the most surreal of his fictions.”

    Chicago Tribune
  • “His prose is as sumptuous and lyrical as ever.”

    Atlanta Constitution Journal
  • Living to Tell the Tale deepens our understanding of a gentle and prodigiously gifted man.”

    San Francisco Chronicle
  • “A political coming-of-age story.”

    Village Voice
  • “[An] always engaging, often inspired conflation of memoir and national history.”

    Christian Science Monitor
  • “Invaluable in its personal and cultural history, and triumphant in its compassion and artistry, Garcia Marquez’s portrait of himself as a young writer is as revelatory and powerful as his fiction.”

    Booklist (starred review)

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