By Mario Vargas Llosa
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Extra info for A Fish in the Water: A Memoir
A landscape that would always remain with me as my most persistent image of Peru when I went abroad. We stayed a week or two in Lima, where Uncle Alejandro and Aunt Jesús put us up, and the only thing I remember about that stay is the little tree-lined streets of Miraflores, where they lived, and the roaring ocean waves at La Herradura, where Uncle Pepe and Uncle Hernán took me. We went by plane north to Talara, for it was summer and my grandfather, thanks to his post as prefect of the departamento, had a little house there, made available to him during the vacation season by the International Petroleum Company.
Standing in front of a blackboard, he explained to me his goals for the current year and showed me a handmade bazooka, put together by Sendero Luminoso—Shining Path, the Maoist guerrilla movement—with which terrorists had fired a projectile on the palace from Rímac. He was young, self-assured, and likable. I had seen him only once before, during the election campaign, at the home of a mutual friend—Manuel Checa Solari, the auctioneer and art collector—who was bent on our having lunch together. The impression García gave me then was that of a young man of limitless ambition capable of anything if it would bring him to power.
And I also remember, with the greatest affection, the little stories and the books that I read with mystical concentration and absorption, totally immersed in their world of illusion—the stories of Genevieve of Brabant and William Tell, of King Arthur and Cagliostro, of Robin Hood and the hunchback Lagardère, of Sandokán and Captain Nemo, and, above all, the series about Guillermo, a mischievous little boy my age, about whom each book in the series recounted an adventure which I tried to repeat afterward in the garden of the house.
A Fish in the Water: A Memoir by Mario Vargas Llosa