By Mario Vargas Llosa
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Extra info for A Fish in the Water: A Memoir
And later on he was a faithful follower of the charismatic liberal leader Augusto Durán, at the latter’s side throughout all his political vicissitudes, living for that reason a life of continual ups and downs, the prefect of Huánuco one day and deported to Ecuador the next, and many a time a jailbird and an outlaw. This life on the run forced my grandmother Zenobia Maldonado—whose photographs show her with an implacable expression—to perform all sorts of miracles in order to feed her five children, whom she brought up and educated practically all by herself (she had eight children, but three of them died shortly after they were born).
Now and again I scribble in my memo books a few work plans for the immediate future, ones that I never carry out altogether. When I reached fifty, I had dreamed up the following five-year plan: 1) A play about a little old Quixote-like man who, in the Lima of the 1950s, embarks on a crusade to save the city’s colonial-era balconies threatened with demolition. 2) A novel, something between a detective story and a fictional fantasy, about cataclysms, human sacrifices, and political crimes in a village in the Andes.
With his share, fifty thousand, a fortune in those days, he went off to Buenos Aires (which, in the affluent Argentina of the 1920s, was to Latin America what Paris was to Europe), where he led a dissipated life that made his fortune dwindle very quickly. With what little he had left, he was prudent enough to complete his studies in radiotelephony, at Trans Radio, from which he received a professional diploma. A year later he won a competitive examination as a junior operator in the Argentine merchant marine, where he remained for five years, plying all the seas in the world.
A Fish in the Water: A Memoir by Mario Vargas Llosa