by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Marquez, in a high school literature class. It was a serious struggle. Most kids I knew hated the book. I found it nearly incomprehensible. I couldn't keep track of the myriad characters (often with duplicate names) but the fantastical, dreamlike events intrigued me. I had a similar experience with this book. Living to Tell the Tale is Marquez' memoir of his childhood, and reading it you realize just how much his novels draw on incidents and people he knew in real life. Of course, I only recognized things I'd come across in Hundred Years of Solitude, but I know there are echoes of Love in the Time of Cholera and other works here. It was kind of thrilling to recognize bits and pieces, even though it's been at least ten years since I read the novel, and I don't remember it very clearly. But even so, Living to Tell the Tale could not keep my interest. It jumps back and forth in time (always something I find distracting) not only between Marquez' adult life and his childhood, but also in telling about his parents' love story, his grandparents' lives, etc. Myriad relatives, friends, fellow villagers, etc fill the pages with curious events and wonderful descriptions, but all in a puzzling whirl. I tried to let go of my desire to hold onto a thread, or pay attention to who all the people were, and just bounce along the top of the words, taking in each moment that was presented to me- but it all became a muddle too soon and I couldn't follow any longer. Maybe my attention is just lax, maybe I'm just not into complex books anymore- after all, I doubt I would have ever initially made it through One Hundred Years of Solitude without a teacher's guidance. So while I stopped reading this memoir on page 80, I have to say it's just my lack of appreciation. It feels like a fantastic book. If you're a fan of Marquez, if you've loved any one of his novels, I would urge you to read this one. You will likely find a treasure and delight, where I just encountered headaches.
Abandoned ... 0/5 ... 533 pages, 2003
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