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