May 20, 11
Read from April 26 to May 20, 2011
This book took me forever to read first because of finals and then because I lost my copy while in the Dominican Republic. However, I really enjoyed reading it for its insight into García Márquez's formative years and the context it provides for Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude, etc.
A lot of people (hipsters) are really down on magical realism at the moment, and I agree that a lot of the genre's authors are overrated (e.g. Allende), but there can be no knocking García Márquez in light of the much-needed transformation he brought to Latin American literature. Even those like Bolaño, who don't claim to admire García Márquez, still owe him a debt whether they like it or not. Reading this memoir makes that much clear.
Also, as a side note, I was really validated by García Márquez's repeated assertion of the connection he feels between Latin America (esp. the Caribbean) and the US South. I've always said that my childhood in Mississippi and New Orleans was what kept me returning to Latin America. Everything there is strangely familiar, which is certainly not the case for Boston, where I've lived the last several years. Anyhow, it's nice to learn that a Nobel Laureate agrees with me. :)