One Hudred Years of Solitude

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Motivation: this book was on the New York Times shortlist of fiction from which they asked their readers to pick "the best book of the past 125 years". Since I hadn't read it, I put it on the TBR list. So: one more down, eleven to go!

And I actually owned a copy, a paperback edition I bought back in the 70s for $2.50. Although I had to retrieve it from my daughter. I remember bouncing off the book, not making it through the first chapter back then. My wife remembers that I read it due to a recommendation I received from "that girl". Um, could be. But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

Philistinism warning: the good folks at Goodreads encourage you to rate your reads subjectively, not on some cosmic scale of quality. On the cosmic scale of quality, this one would have to rank very highly. The author, Gabriel García Márquez, got the Nobel Prize for Literature back in 1982, and this is said to have been his magnum opus. And I can (sort of) see the appeal, because the prose is evocative, the timeline is epic, there's plenty of sex, violence, tragedy, comedy, absurdity,… well, you name it. It's got magic realism, and that's often fun.

But I have to be honest: I didn't care for it. Didn't find the characters sympathetic or even interesting, and I lost track of who was who pretty quickly. The similar names didn't help; makes Russian novels with their multiple patronymics look like child's play. Didn't like the mile-long sentences and the multi-page paragraphs. Disgusted by the newborn baby carried off by ants. (Yes, I read to the end.)

And García Márquez was a Castro sycophant. Didn't care for that, either, although I tried to ignore that while reading.

Plot summary: The book describes the rise and fall of the fictional Columbian town of Macondo, accompanied by generations of the Buendía family, Mostly bad things happen.

A magic town in Columbia, and a troubled founding family … hey, It's just like the Disney movie Encanto! Well, except for almost everything else.

Last Modified 2024-02-14 4:44 AM EDT