In "Vivir Para Contarlo/Living to Tell the Tale," Gabriel García Márquez recounts the story of a boat trip he took with his mother as a young man, a trip that was "so determinative for [him] that the longest and most diligent of lives would not be long enough to finish telling about it." A struggling newspaper reporter at the time, he had gravely disappointed his parents by dropping out of college to pursue a career in writing. On this turbulent boat trip, Márquez recalls a scene he witnessed as a young boy on a similar river journey--the attempted murder of his grandfather. This flashback inspires a revelation about his family's past and his own memory that would forever impact his life and work: "The recollection of this unexplained episode took me by surprise on that night . . . as I contemplated the Sierra snows gleaming blue in the first rays of the sun. From then on, from that day to this, I have been at the mercy of nostalgia."
This excerpt is available only in the print edition of Zoetrope: All-Story, Volume 2 Number 3.