"I was born in 1957 in Montevideo, Uruguay, which was a pleasant, welcoming place at the time. Seeking refuge from hunger and war in Europe, immigrants were appreciative of their new country. My maternal grand-parents had arrived there from Moscow and Odessa, while my father's family, from Bilbao and St Jean de Luz in France, had Basque roots. My childhood rolled by harmoniously and more or less uneventfully in the company of the numerous wives and ex-wives of my maternal grandfather. One among them, my grandmother Anastasia, was exceptional. She it was who taught me to read, cook, draw and paint from a very early age. And to her I owe thanks for having planted in my soul in a light-hearted and loving way my passion for books and the arts."