One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Why do you read books? Curiosity? Entertainment? To get out of your head and into someone else’s?

Sometimes I read books because I think they’ll be good for me. That’s why I picked up One Hundred Years of Solitude.  Curiosity was also a factor. I hadn’t read any Latin American novels and I thought I might as well start with a Nobel Prize winner.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a challenging novel; at the same time, it’s not really challenging at all. Not challenging in the sense that once you let go of your preconceptions about how you think literature should be served up to you, it’s actually a very amenable read.

Even a lack of knowledge of Colombian history – such as mine – does not prevent the novel from being accessible, relatable. (Do I sound like a Supertramp song?) The narrative imaginatively retells the big events of Colombian history, using the fictional town of Macondo as the setting.

The main characters are the founding family of Macondo, along with their long line of descendants. Names are handed down from one generation to the next and this is indeed confusing for the reader. But once you let go of your preconceptions about how you think characters should be named, you realise that the writer makes this work. Interconnectedness, and even incest, are part of the story, as is the propensity for history to repeat itself within the family.

This original novel is ultimately satisfying and I feel more well-read after reading it. I strongly suspect it reads much better in Spanish but something is always lost in translation, isn’t it? Be that as it may, this English translation is a fine piece of work.

I intend to explore more of the literature of Latin America. Suggestions would be welcome.

100years0222

Long paragraphs are another feature of this novel.

Long paragraphs are another feature of this novel.

 

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About cityoflu

Secret Agent Lu likes travelling, reading, neuroses (all kinds), the Orient, cities, feet and science.
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3 Responses to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

  1. Ahhhh, Lu. You’re really taking me back here to great times w/ this. In a ‘past life’, I worked in the commercial jewelry manufacturing biz and trained alongside the most likeable and talented folks from South America. One of my coworkers taught me all about the amazing writers of Peru and in particular, Mario Vargas Llosa. I read at least three of his books, and just like your experience w/ Marquez, his books really transport you into a different mindset w/ his characters. Check him out and see what you think! Enjoyable post and very glad to see you blogging again!

    • cityoflu says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia. I’ll put Mario Vargas Llosa on my list! Working and training alongside South Americans in the jewelry biz must have been an amazing experience for you. No wonder the jewelry you create now is so lovely. Best wishes for 2015 to you!!

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