Thursday, September 22, 2011

one hundred years of solitude: review

When I started reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude, I was completely swept away by the damp poetry of Marquez writing, the immersive descriptions, the believable connected characters. And yet, for some reason, it took me six weeks to finish reading it. Somewhere between Jose Arcadio Buendia & Ursula Iguaran founding Macondo and the second or third generation, it got hard to read. And not just because this was the first book in I can't remember when to challenge my vocabulary, but because it was unpleasant. 

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I find it disorienting, in life or in literature, when something is both beautiful and repellent. It happens more often than I expect, and normally at those times we choose which side we see. Oil slicks on water. A moss-softened gravestone. The pristine white of dry bones. Richly textured descriptions of paradise polluted with the basest of human impulses. Stunningly beautiful women with hearts of stone. Tightly knit families with no ability to connect. Tropical paradises devoured by unrelenting hordes of insects.

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It's a modern classic for a reason, and Marquez writing is entirely worthy of The Nobel Prize for Literature he won in 1982. Read it for the whimsy, the poetry, the flights of imagination. Or don't. Don't read it because of the murder, the mayhem, the insanity and the incest. 

But ... the beauty ... it's hypnotic. And everyone should experience hypnotic beauty at some point in their lives. Go out. Find it in a seashell. In a worn piece of beach glass. In the hand of your lover. And if you can't find it there, perhaps read One Hundred Years of Solitude and practice seeing it amid the ugliness of life. 


  1. You could get a job writing reviews...bobbi♪

  2. Thank you, Bobbi - if I could be paid to read it'd be my dream!!


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