Monday, April 12, 2010

Vivir para contarla -- Living to Tell the Tale

When Vivir para contarla, the autobiography of Gabriel García Márquez, was published in late 2002, it made a big splash internationally, despite the fact that it had not yet been published in English. In fact the English translation would not be available for a year, yet the Spanish version was selling well even in the US. A few months later, the LA Times published a book review of it … also in Spanish.

Editor's note: Recently, Alfred A. Knopf, in a move unprecedented in the U.S. book world, published the Spanish edition of Gabriel García Márquez's long-awaited memoir in the United States, a year prior to its appearance this fall in English. Without benefit of reviews or publicity, "Vivir para contarla" found its way onto The Times' bestseller list. Book Review has decided that a review, in Spanish with accompanying English translation, is in order.
- “Gabo Habla”, by Gioconda Belli, Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2003.
The full review is no longer available on the LA Times website, but can be found online here.

I was a college student in Los Angeles at the time the book review was published. In fact, I was majoring in Spanish-language Literature (part of a double major with international relations). And I was impressed. But I did not have time to read the book at that point. I was after all working on two theses – one for each major. But I promised myself that I would one day do so. This year I finally fulfilled that promise by reading the book. It was a challenge (probably more than it would have been 7 years ago), but ultimately an interesting read for anyone interested in Latin American literature and familiar with Gabo’s novels.