By Mario Vargas Llosa
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Additional resources for A Fish in the Water: A Memoir
In that house I was pampered and spoiled to extremes that made a little monster out of me. The pampering was thanks to the fact that I was the grandparents’ first grandchild and the aunts’ and uncles’ first grandnephew, and also because I was the son of poor Dorita, a fatherless little boy. Not having a papa, or rather, having a papa who was in heaven, wasn’t anything that tormented me; on the contrary, it conferred on me a privileged status, and the lack of a real father had been compensated by any number of surrogates: my grandpa and my uncles Juan, Lucho, Jorge, and Pedro.
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. For that reason, a few days after that first meeting, I said on two television interviews conducted by the journalists Jaime Bayly and César Hildebrandt that I would vote not for him but for the candidate of the PPC (the Partido Popular Cristiano: the Christian Popular Party), Luis Bedoya Reyes.
In Arequipa—where I had been once before, with my mother and my grandmother, for the Eucharistic Congress of 1940—we again stayed at Uncle Eduardo’s, and his cook Inocencia again made me those reddish, very hot, highly spiced fresh shrimp stews that I dearly loved. But the highlight of the trip was the discovery of the sea, on reaching the top of “Skull Hill” and catching sight of the beaches of Camaná. I was so excited that the driver of the car that was taking us to Lima stopped so that I could dive into the Pacific.
A Fish in the Water: A Memoir by Mario Vargas Llosa