25 April 2007

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Considering the fact that this book is a Nobel Prize winner, I’m not exactly reviewing it (yeah, um, two thumbs up, a ten—whatever). But I do want to say that I loved it. Because Márquez writes in omniscient third person, I had a harder time getting into it at first (I’m partial to 1st person, or at least third person limited). However, his character sketches paint these amazing people who are strong and flawed and hilarious and sometimes just weird. I love the whole “laughter through tears” (to use a Steel Magnolias) phrase—laughing, laughing at all the crazy antics then realizing how tragic it is, the fall of this character. My favorite part in the whole book was a two and a half page rambling of this nagging wife. Two and half pages of one sentence—One Sentence!—so that you feel this rambling and when the husband interrupts her two and a half pages later (not even rudely but to correct one of her trails), you want to kiss him and thank him. (And then she picks up her rant and goes on for another page or so with the next sentence.) That was my favorite part. I knew these people. I knew this village. The last 50 pages dragged on, though, after the matriarch dies. I felt like nothing mattered, the village was lost, once Úrsula dies (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away with this news), but maybe that’s how I’m supposed to feel. Genesis themes, Exodus themes, even parts that reminded me of Judges. The building of a nation (in one village). An insight into the human race. Seriously, people, go read this book.

4 comments:

Jenn said...

Have you any theories as to why the HECK my local library has about 5 Marquez books but not this one? I know, there's interlibrary loan, but still, it's the principle of the thing . . .

Elaina said...

Thanks Heather for this review. I'll check my library although, since the towns nickname is "Havenot" somehow, I doubt we have it. But it's going on the list just the same.

L.L. Barkat said...

This is one of my all-time favorite books. I think Marquez is easier to read if one begins with a different book... Love in the Time of Cholera, for instance, moves quickly and acclimates a reader to his style.

If you like this kind of work and can stay with it, you might like Kristin Lavransdatter. Undset won the nobel prize for literature with that trilogy and it is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Gabriel García Marquez was born on March 6, 1928 in Aracataca, a town in Northern Colombia, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a house filled with countless aunts and the rumors of ghosts. But in order to get a better grasp on García Márquez's life, it helps to understand something first about both the history of Colombia and the unusual background of his family...read more