Monday, August 9, 2010

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

I guarantee that 95% of you will hate this book, and at least 70% of you will hate it enough to not finish it, but I loved it. Guess I was just in the mood for it. Here's how it breaks down:

AMAZING THINGS:

I can literally feel new wrinkles spreading across the surface of my brain when I read this guy. He's so wicked smart that there's no chance he's completely sane. His adjectives and descriptions are 100% PERFECT, and yet entirely nonsensical. After reading three chapters, it starts making sense... and that's when you realize you're probably crazy, too. And you are. We all are.

The magical realism style of the book is DELICIOUS. Sure, it's an epic tragedy following a long line of familial insanity, but that doesn't stop the people from eating dirt, coming back from the dead, spreading a plague of contagious insomnia, or enjoying a nice thunderstorm of yellow flowers. It's all presented in such a natural light that you think, "Of course. Of course he grows aquatic plants in his false teeth. Now why wouldn't he?"

This guy is the epitome of unique. Give me a single sentence, ANY SENTENCE the man has ever written, and I will recognize it. Nobody writes like him. (Also, his sentences average about 1,438 words each, so pretty much it's either him or Faulkner)

REASONS WHY MOST OF YOU WILL HATE THIS BOOK:

I have to engage every ounce of my mental ability just to understand what the *&#@ is going on! Most people who read for relaxation and entertainment will want to send Marquez hate mail.

Also, there are approximately 20 main characters and about 4 names that they all share. I realize that's probably realistic in Latino cultures of the era, but SERIOUSLY, by the time you get to the sixth character named Aureliano, you'll have to draw yourself a diagram. Not even the classic Russians suffer from as much name-confusion as this guy.

On an uber-disturbing note, Marquez has once again (as he did in Love in the Time of Cholera) written a grown man having sex with a young girl--this time at the ripe old age of 9... which is pretty much #1 on my list of "Things That Make You Go EWW!!!" He Pretty much makes Lolita look like Polyanna on the virtue chart! (Note to authors: You give ONE of your characters a unique, but disgusting characteristic and it's good writing. Give it to more than one, and we start thinking we're reading your psychological profile, ya creep!)

Bottom line - if you feel like pushing your brain to its max, read it. The man did when the Nobel after all, it's amazing. But get ready to work harder to understand something than you ever have before in your life. And may God be with you.

FAVORITE QUOTES: (coincidentally also the shortest ones in the book)

She had the rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment.

He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians.

Children inherit their parents' madness.

He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.

The air was so damp that fish could have come in through the doors and swum out the windows.

He was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past.

A person doesn't die when he should but when he can.

-Meg G.

1 comment:

Archangel said...

actually i think its a great book :) ( that goes for the comment of 90% of the people wont like it )
Thanks for the article here pretty good.