What an enchanting story. I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez. It was a recommendation of magical realism. The agent was right.
The novel depicts the fictional town of Macondo, seen through the eyes of the Buendia family. Rather than a chronology, the story has this gentle temporal undulation, where time flows forward and recedes, each event connecting to another in the past or future. The language is lush and charming. I found many passages worth rereading for their craft. It is a lovely work, even though I cannot say I fully appreciate it.
The characters are full of passion, love, madness and faith. But I could not grasp exactly what each of them most desired, what their personalities were and what ultimately mattered. In many ways they are opaque to me. Maybe this is due to the ebb-and-flow of time as well as the difficulty of keeping characters straight as many share the same name (four generations of Jose and Aureliano, for example).
The evocative prose draws me in, and wonderful moments of magical realism keep me reading, but I’m just not completing connecting. Perhaps I need to reread the novel more carefully.
As for the magical realism, the books is suffused with strange, miraculous and sometimes funny occurences. They are described as ordinary as anything else, but in many ways they don’t have the same impact on me as when Marquez describes ice and magnets early in the book. To the characters, science is magical, whereas moments that are magical to this reader are not especially noted by the characters who witness them.
Have you read it? What do you think?
2 thoughts on “Finished One Hundred Years of Solitude”
I must commend you on your brief description of the work, as it is, in my opinion, quite accurate. For example, you write “To the characters, science is magical, whereas moments that are magical to this reader are not especially noted by the characters who witness them.” That, I think, is the unique narrative style of this work. The narrator remains monotone even at times the reader might expect he would be more excited. The utility of this narrative style of course is that the time-line becomes almost circular as one event blends with the next in a seamless way.
I do enjoy the book. It is admittedly dense, more dense at least than that to which I am accustomed. But the language is absolutely beautiful. I agree that the work is probably worth another read.
Thanks for the summary.
Thank you for the kind words. You make a good point about the even tone throughout — this enables the back-and-forth of time, so no one moment stands out. And thank you for visiting.