“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
(First published: 1967 / This edition: Penguin Books 2014)
The book and the box of flowers were given to me for my 23rd birthday last year by two friends in Tokyo.
He really had been through death,
but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.
I feel like I should be a big fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And being a big fan, I should love ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’.
But I feel very normal about it. Not that the story’s not great but…
I read it over a year ago, and maybe I should re-read it again. For some reason, this book just popped into my head a few moments ago so I decided to bring it out and write about it.
I remember enjoying many parts of it, but after a while, it just became exhausting for me to read. I just have issues with how so many characters have such similar names: José Arcadio Buendia, José Arcadio, Arcadio, José Arcadio Segundo, another José Arcadio …Colonel Aureliano Buendia, Aureliano Segundo, Aureliano (by Mauricio Babilonia), Aureliano (by Aureliano), and SEVENTEEN more Aureliano’s.
I end up losing track of who’s who, who’s still alive, and who’s not. Events get confused and/or forgotten in my head. It’s not a terribly long book (around 400 pages), but there is SO MUCH going on all the time. Plus, it’s magical realism, so sometimes…I just don’t get it. Or I just end up having so many questions, but I don’t know where I can find the answer so I just have to be content with: “That’s just the way it is. It’s magic.”
Despite all my confusions and frustrations, I still agree with many people though that this story is a masterpiece and that it is magical. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has such a unique way of writing and I’m amazed at how grand and wild his imagination is.
I remember that back then, I was venting to some friends (that have read it) but they didn’t seem to be too bothered by the names and whatnot, so…I might just be part of the minority that find it exhausting. I will definitely be re-reading it again and have more patience with it next time.
By the way, there is a chart of the family tree at the beginning of the book (or for the 2000 and 2014 Penguin editions, at least) so that can be helpful.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
“It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”
They were so close together that they preferred death to separation.
…they were joined till death by a bond that was more solid than love: a common prick of conscience.