Posted by: Matt | August 17, 2007

Reading One Hundred Years of Solitude

I am now about half way through this critically acclaimed book and I am left wondering what the big deal is.  I don’t think I get it.  It’s not that I don’t understand what is going on in the story, I just don’t get why it’s supposed to be so amazing.  I thought at first maybe it was the magical realism, but I’ve read and very much enjoyed other books classified that way.

The book is fairly interesting, enough that I haven’t thought of putting it away, but not so much that I turn pages with anticipation.  And at times it is quite random.  But random in a bad way.  Random in a way that causes me to wonder if the Gabriel Garcia Marquez just wrote down whatever strange thing occurred to him at that moment.  This is pretty disappointing as I have had the novel on my reading list for years.

So can someone tell me what all the fuss is about?  Maybe I just need a good explanation of what the author was trying to do, or maybe I need to be patient until I reach the end.

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Responses

  1. I felt the same as you. Didn’t care for the book at all.

  2. Oh no, random? This is on my TBR list this year.

  3. I always heard about this book as if it was the best book in the history of the world; odd how some books merit this attention as I tried to read it but was bored, so stopped.
    I WONDER if it was just a product of its time(ie did the reader have to have a certain mind set, or be aware of cultural influences that perhaps we don’t have now?

  4. It’s on my TBR list too. Oh well, now it’s moved further down.

  5. 3m – I am still hoping that by the end things will turn around for me, but I’m doubtful…

    Carrie K – Well, a lot of people really like the book, maybe you’ll be one of them. I seem to be in the minority so far.

    merrimerri – I know the author is Colombian so there could be a cultural element to it. But I know that there are a lot of non-Colombians who enjoy it, so maybe not.

    John Mutford – Are you sure that’s a good idea seeing as how we often disagree on books? 🙂

  6. It’s not easy to get through this one. And I agree with most people that there is really not much in it in terms of plot. It’s like a long drony murmuring of words.

    But One Hundred Years of Solitude is a complicated analysis of human emotions and struggles through the decadence of a mythical town and its pillar family. The book evokes such clairvoyance as it scrupulously examines the most insignificant happenings and truths in a family that members of which did not see. The novel exposes to the full human flaws: incapability of love, gall of bitterness, invincible cowardice, irrational fear, and sinful pride.

    I recommend people to read Love in the Time of Cholera first. 🙂

  7. I had to read this book back in high school, and it was a struggle! We spent so much time analyzing and trying to figure out what was going on that I didn’t have any energy left to just enjoy the book. It felt to me like reading someone’s train of thought, only it doesn’t travel in one direction (time) but keeps jumping back and forth, which was especially confusing because some of the characters had the same names as their parents, if I remember correctly. I’m sorry to say it turned me off to magical realism. Can you recommend another good book of that genre? Maybe if I enjoy something else, I’ll go back and give “100 Years” a try again. After all, it’s been at least 10 years since I read it.

  8. Matthew – I would definitely agree that it covers many human flaws. Sometimes they appear in nearly irrational ways, but maybe that is part of the “magical realism”.

    Cere – I only recently became aware of the term “magical realism” but as I understand it Salman Rusdie’s novels fall under this category and so I recommend you read his Midnight’s Children. I very much enjoy his work.

  9. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s going on my List!


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