Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Summary: A beguiling mix of politics, magic, romance, and sex, the saga of the mysterious history of the Buendia family of the village of Macondo does nothing less than recapitulate the entire history of the human race. Written with little regard for traditional novelistic conventions, Garcia Marquez's novel incorporates emotional responses in lieu of plot, a cyclical approach to fractured time lines, and many different characters with similar or identical names. The first of a wave of Spanish-language novels characterized by what came to be known as magical realism, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE was an immediate success on its initial publication and was translated into more than 40 languages. It established Garcia Marquez as one of the preeminent authors of his generation.

My Review: Jose Arcadio Buendia is forced to kill a man who insulted his wife, Ursula, and is forced to move away from his town. However,the murder will chase him for one hundred years in the form of a curse. He begins his journey through many lands and jungles until he finds a new place for his family: Macondo. Macondo turns into a place for merchant gypsies to arrive and bring the most recent 'discoveries' such as ice and magnet. One of them, Melquiades, visits Jose Arcadio and promotes the study of alchemy. Jose Arcadio goes mad and as he intensifies this learning, strange events --presumably from the curse--begin to isolate Macondo from the rest of the country, such as an epidemic that make people forget what they just did or saw. As the story continues , Ursula gives birth to many children, and each of them is given their own sub- story, but finally all of them are linked together by the same curse of living in solitude.
This is one of those book that sounds so so so so good when you read the back cover, and then is not at all what you expected it to be. I found the style of writing to be odd, at best. He takes the plot and seems to turn it into a series of emotional reactions, rather then a solid story. I loved the idea behind the book , and the message is strong, but I would have liked to have more complete content.

My Rating: 2 stars not something I would ever pick up again.

If I could sum this book up in one phrase it would be: It is a shame that GGM couldn't maintain the high standards he set with "Love in the Time of Cholera".


MindySue said...

TWO STARS?!?!?! Wow, you have cajones girl. I admire your ability to give a classic novel TWO stars. I haven't read it but I have found that often some books are so hyped that you can't help but be disappointed. I love that we like different kinds of books and so you get lots of perspectives. I'll have to read this one and see if we agree or not.

Heather said...

I personally enjoyed this book. I liked how it was written to combine the stories of multiple generations. I look forward to reading it again one day because I feel that this is one of those books that you miss a lot during the first reading. Wasn't "Love in the Time of Cholera" written after this book? I haven't read it but plan to, especially if it is better than this one.

Kim R. said...

I really think I am the odd man out on this one, my mother said that she LOVED this book as well. I guess thats just goes to show the various tastes that we aquire for books. It may have been written before Cholera, I did not look that bad. But that one is a great book. I almost feel like he was trying to hard in Hundred years.

MindySue said...

I think that we do put too much pressure on ourselves to like certain books--which of course ruins them entirely.

I hated "Atonement" by Ian McEwan. It was just awful for me and it got all these great reviews. I'm convinced that if you read a book for anything other than sheer enjoyment, you'll likely hate it.

I'm struggling through one right now. You'll see.


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