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“My mother became a woman in that hellhole and filled the space in everybody’s heart after typhus carried Margarita María Miniata. She, too, was sickly. She had spent an uncertain childhood plagued by tertian fevers, but when she was treated for the last one the cure was complete and forever, and her health allowed her to celebrate her ninety-seventh birthday with eleven of her children and four more of her husband’s, sixty-five grandchildren, eighty-eight great-grandchildren, and fourteen great-great grandchildren. Not counting those no one ever knew about. She died of natural causes on June 9, 2002, at eight-thirty in the evening, when we were already preparing to celebrate her first century of life, and on the same day and almost at the same hour that I put the final period to these memoirs.”
—Gabriel García Márquez, from “Living to Tell the Tale” (2000)

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