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Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Anamnesis

Active Member
I thought the ending was very intriguing. It was also the only part of the book that I truly enjoyed. Beautifully written? I guess, though I prefer a beautifully written book that makes sense ;).
 

funes

New Member
I read the book many years ago, and the "insomnia plague" still sticks with me as one of the most magical things I've read.
For those of you who found it too long, I recommend nearly anything by Jorge Luis Borges. He is a fellow "magic-realist" (as that school of writing is sometimes called), but his stories are rarely more than a few pages long.
If you are up for something of equal length, I recommend John Crowley's Little, Big. At times, the plots seem to wander and disappear, but there are wonderful moments along the way.
And, if you can find them, Chuck Rosenthal's "Loop" books are staggeringly good. Magic-realism from the rust belt, but sadly out of print.
 

unKeMPt

New Member
Choc said:
I just looked it up. Seems as though it was very famous for winning the Nobel prize for literature.
It looks like a good read. I've just added it to my 'to buy' list...

Thanks for the tip nomadic

The book didn't actually win. The award was presented to Garcia Marquez shortly after publication of Chronicles of a Death Foretold in the '80s, I think.
 

Wabbit

New Member
Marquez is probably one of my favourite writers ( If I was forced to pick at gun point ) and the book 100 Years in Solitude one of my all time favourite book.

The book is simply the most beautiful, complex, amazing, and magical thing. Upon closing the last page you can feel the breath of one hundred years pass you.

Some characters are mayfly brief, living and dying in a few pages, and some last the whole work. Each character is real and detailed. It feels as if you know them. I'll remember them for always.

Highly recommend this book. It isn't an easy book: It requires hard attention and some work, but it's worth it.
 

Choc

New Member
unKeMPt said:
The book didn't actually win. The award was presented to Garcia Marquez shortly after publication of Chronicles of a Death Foretold in the '80s, I think.

Oh, my mistake. I think I was only skim reading over a website when I saw that...
 

nomadic myth

New Member
Wabbit said:
The book is simply the most beautiful, complex, amazing, and magical thing. Upon closing the last page you can feel the breath of one hundred years pass you.

There was definitely some hardcore beauty going on with the last page.
 

Wintergreen

New Member
I was very disappointed by One Hundred Years of Solitude, all the more so because so many people think it's the most wonderful thing ever written. I thought it was slow-moving and confusing - I know all the characters share the same name on purpose, but by the time I'd met the 17th Aureliano I wanted to throw the book out of the window.

There were certainly some passages that were beautifully written, and some of the magical events were memorable (I particularly liked the idea of the blood flowing all back through town to Ursula). But there was nothing that made me want to read on (except my own stubborness). Just anecdote after anecdote. Marquez certainly knows how to convey just how long a hundred years is. :(

I genuinely would like to know what is so special about this book. I looked long and hard on the internet for an explanation of what I was missing, but all I could find were people saying how beautiful it is. I know it's beautiful, but why is it great?
 

Anamnesis

Active Member
Because Oprah Winfrey said so? I jest, although I do agree with your comments Wintergreen. As beautiful and poetic the writing may have been, it just wasn't enough for me to sing its praises.
 

Sybarite

New Member
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa

Where does one start?

At the most basic level, the novel chronicles a family's struggle and the history of their fictional town, Macondo, for a century.

The family faces war – or rather, wars – dictatorship and tyranny, murder, natural disasters and countless other challenges. Yet in the end, what has their struggle been for?

Márquez is often described as having created magic realism with this novel, and certainly you need to start by putting any sense of reality out of your mind as you read. He distorts time freely and creates a panoply of fantastical occurances, from magic carpet rides and invisibility to ascension into the skies).

In many ways, this is a vast fairy tale epic for adults and, in keeping with that tradition, it has vast amounts going on behind the actual story.

War … what is it good for? Democracy … what is it good for? Marriage … what is it good for? Religion … what is it good for? Family … what is it good for? (You get the gist) And there is, of course, that favourite theme of Márquez – sex.

Then there is the solitude of the title.

In many ways, this can be seen an existentialist novel – individuals create the meaning and essence of their own lives: those characters who seem to be happiest (or who attain greatest happiness at some point or other) are those who ignore convention for the sake of convention, and seek out their own path, make their own rules.

The book sees time as circular and the ending as being what was at the beginning. Thus life is, in many ways, a pretty pointless exercise. And alienation is here too, along with (as noted above) the absurd – all aspects of existentialist thought and theory.

Yet this is not to say that the novel is pessimistic. Márquez weaves a tapestry of life that is complex and sensual and full of experiences and learning. Life, lived fully, has its own vigour, its own point. But ultimately, he seems to say, we are alone: we have to live our own lives according to our own choices.

The solitude includes, for the author, that which comes from being in a passionate relationship with another human being, whereby the rest of the world is debarred from the central event of the couple's life.

It includes the solitude caused by suffering – and by causing suffering. The pain of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, for instance, comes from his years fighting war after war against the dictatorship. It eats away at his humanity and, at the end, when his own party sells out for a share in power for power's sake, his own sacrifice is seen as redundant. His solitude is to live with all that knowledge thereafter.

For Amaranta, she is cursed to live in a bitter solitude, weaving her own shroud for years, with only one possible ending, after choosing to keep her virginity, not to take any of several opportunities to have a relationship with a man, out of spite and hate and self-hate.

As with any Márquez, heat and superstition, passion and violence, permeate the novel.

The characters are a mix – some are drawn in far more detail than others, but all, within their context, work.

It is, quite simply, brilliant. And a novel that will stay in the mind for a long time after the last page has been devoured and Macondo, and all its residents, have turned back to dust.
 

Peder

Well-Known Member
This just doesn't seem to be a week for my speaking well of novels I have read. I hope its only a phase.
100 Years is another one that I put aside part-way through. I managed to do 50 years worth, so to speak, and got half-way. When the firing squad pulled their triggers to end Part I then that was sufficient climax for me to think that, well, I'd do Part II another time. That time hasn't come yet, although I am looking forward to the ending that everyone remarks upon, whenever that might be. So far my reaction is neutral and my judgement suspended. I definitely remember the first time he saw ice and I will be prepared to rave if the remainder of the book puts it all together, as people claim it will.
 

Sybarite

New Member
This just doesn't seem to be a week for my speaking well of novels I have read. I hope its only a phase.
100 Years is another one that I put aside part-way through. I managed to do 50 years worth, so to speak, and got half-way. When the firing squad pulled their triggers to end Part I then that was sufficient climax for me to think that, well, I'd do Part II another time. That time hasn't come yet, although I am looking forward to the ending that everyone remarks upon, whenever that might be. So far my reaction is neutral and my judgement suspended. I definitely remember the first time he saw ice and I will be prepared to rave if the remainder of the book puts it all together, as people claim it will.

I think it's like a lot of things, Peder – ultimately, your response to a work of literature will be subjective. Even if you have to study something for an examination, that isn't going to make you necessarily enjoy it. For many, indeed, that puts them off. I suspect that, with particularly famous – one might say 'iconic' books – reactions can be similar. You pick them up with an expectation that is heightened by reputation. If you don't enjoy something, then is it your 'fault'?

I think that that didn't help me with Orwell's 1984 and Kafka's The Trial – both of which are highly rated and both of which I disliked intensely.

I can also appreciate that, with Márquez, the magical realism might very well irritate some readers – or at least be difficult to adapt to.
 

Peder

Well-Known Member
I can also appreciate that, with Márquez, the magical realism might very well irritate some readers – or at least be difficult to adapt to.
Hi Sybarite,
Thanks for the response.
The magical realism doesn't bother me at all. I just go with the flow -- whatever the author puts on the page I read. I would call it a slow novel, which is also ordinarily OK with me. This one just got overtaken by other books that I picked up, and I do realize that one has to read to the end to finally be able to see what the author intended as a whole. So I'll get to it, someday.
 

tZar

New Member
I do realize that one has to read to the end to finally be able to see what the author intended as a whole. So I'll get to it, someday.

I think you are wrong on this point.
GGM makes a point out of repetition and apparent redundancy. Reading only part of the book will give you a fairly good insight into the 'intention'. It is just elaborated, and made more complex as you go along.
The thing is that even though he emphasises solitude (both in the matter of the many anecdotes and in the characters themselves) everything is interconnected. You also have to understand that there is a big difference in culture from where you are reading it, and where it was written.
The book shows all these circles and is in it self a big circle (in form). You do not have to read all the way to the end, but you have to give yourself time to appreciate this completely different form.

When an author slows us down, it is because he wants us to use some time with the words...


-tZar
 

Libra

Active Member
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa

Where does one start?

At the most basic level, the novel chronicles a family's struggle and the history of their fictional town, Macondo, for a century.

The family faces war – or rather, wars – dictatorship and tyranny, murder, natural disasters and countless other challenges. Yet in the end, what has their struggle been for?

Márquez is often described as having created magic realism with this novel, and certainly you need to start by putting any sense of reality out of your mind as you read. He distorts time freely and creates a panoply of fantastical occurances, from magic carpet rides and invisibility to ascension into the skies).

In many ways, this is a vast fairy tale epic for adults and, in keeping with that tradition, it has vast amounts going on behind the actual story.

War … what is it good for? Democracy … what is it good for? Marriage … what is it good for? Religion … what is it good for? Family … what is it good for? (You get the gist) And there is, of course, that favourite theme of Márquez – sex.

Then there is the solitude of the title.

In many ways, this can be seen an existentialist novel – individuals create the meaning and essence of their own lives: those characters who seem to be happiest (or who attain greatest happiness at some point or other) are those who ignore convention for the sake of convention, and seek out their own path, make their own rules.

The book sees time as circular and the ending as being what was at the beginning. Thus life is, in many ways, a pretty pointless exercise. And alienation is here too, along with (as noted above) the absurd – all aspects of existentialist thought and theory.

Yet this is not to say that the novel is pessimistic. Márquez weaves a tapestry of life that is complex and sensual and full of experiences and learning. Life, lived fully, has its own vigour, its own point. But ultimately, he seems to say, we are alone: we have to live our own lives according to our own choices.

The solitude includes, for the author, that which comes from being in a passionate relationship with another human being, whereby the rest of the world is debarred from the central event of the couple's life.

It includes the solitude caused by suffering – and by causing suffering. The pain of Colonel Aureliano Buendía, for instance, comes from his years fighting war after war against the dictatorship. It eats away at his humanity and, at the end, when his own party sells out for a share in power for power's sake, his own sacrifice is seen as redundant. His solitude is to live with all that knowledge thereafter.

For Amaranta, she is cursed to live in a bitter solitude, weaving her own shroud for years, with only one possible ending, after choosing to keep her virginity, not to take any of several opportunities to have a relationship with a man, out of spite and hate and self-hate.

As with any Márquez, heat and superstition, passion and violence, permeate the novel.

The characters are a mix – some are drawn in far more detail than others, but all, within their context, work.

It is, quite simply, brilliant. And a novel that will stay in the mind for a long time after the last page has been devoured and Macondo, and all its residents, have turned back to dust.

After reading Chronicles of a Death Foretold,I picked up this one.In the begining I had a hard time keeping the characters and their names in their rightful place and not understanding what was going on ,it felt like I was in a circus and flying carpets came in the picture...,I stopped for a few days then I read about the author in the back:

"He spent his first eight years in his maternal grandparents' home,listening to their non stop stories,superstitions,and folk beliefs.Because of their way of storytelling (especially that of his grandmother) he was unable to distinguish between the real and the fabulous.They recounted the most improbable happenings with the same facial and vocal expression with which they recounted fact"

That is where it clicked for me and I can't put the book down.Amazing.

Sybarite,nice review!
 

Sofia20

New Member
I re-read this a few weeks ago and loved it for the second time. It's a wonderful book, and I didn't think it was as complicated as a lot of people seem to think. I love how it talks about a lot of subjects: love, life, death, war, fantasy. Everything is mentioned. Yes, you might get lost in the family, but that's why most editions have a family tree. Use it. I just thought the story absorbed me into it.

Definitely loved it. And recomend it. One of my favourite books :)

P.S. I just realized i posted this as a response to another review but didn't notice. Sorry, my bad!
 

Sofia20

New Member
Gabriel García Márquez is one of my favourite writers, and One Hundred Years of Solitude is defnitely one of my favourite books. That said, I understand that it can be difficult to read sometimes, but it's just one of those books where the effort pays off and in the very last page you stand there in awe thinking how it was possible that someone could write something so complex, and yet so beautiful. At least that's what happened to me both times I read it.

I also believe the problem a lot of people have with his writting is the setting, and the fact that he describes a lot of "magical" and "weird" events. But for me, I just accepted them as part of the story's reality, because they are supposed to be a part of the people's mentality even when they appear supernatural.

And regarding the same names... personally, I didn't find them difficult to follow. They always refer to one person the same way. And the family tree is one of your best friends while reading this book.

Hope I helped :)
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
Nice post.
I made it about 30 pages in, was totally confused. :) I am open to trying again though, I believe we all change/mature as readers.
 

SeoulMan

Member
One of my friends said that you're not worth knowing if you haven't read One Hundred Years of Solitude. He doesn't have many friends.
 
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