Book Review – One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Genre: Fiction
- Year of Release: 1967
- Read 417-page hardcover edition in September 2015.
In this classic of Magical Realism from South American Nobel-prize winner Marquez, we here of the rise and fall of the town of Macondo, and the rise and fall of an honourable family that is central to the town’s development. Through a variety of war and peace, violence and love, we see a family and a town change and permeate through the generations.
This was most assuredly a difficult novel to read! However, for the person who perseveres, it feels like quite an accomplishment to successful complete it!
This novel is one of the classics of the 20th century, with huge praise far and wide for its magical realism elements, its descriptive language and prose, and the unleashing of beautiful South American creativity. These are all very true, and there are sections of the novel where you truly feel awe-inspired by the portrait the author is painting. This is a mythical tale of a mysterious landscape, and we are being given a window into something breathtaking.
However, at the same time, there are also many challenging elements to this novel as well. For one, many of the characters have similar or the same names, and it is up to the reader to keep up with which character is who, and which generation the author is referring to as the story unfolds. It can be difficult when many generations encounter similar issues, and in fact that may be one of the overriding themes of the novel, that often families and history are doomed to repetition of a sort. There are excellent themes to ponder in this novel to be sure.
But at the same time, there are also elements of the novel that were simply very challenging for the reader to keep up with and fully understand. The storyline sometimes seems to wander into territory that is confusing and that isn’t related to what came immediately before it. Although there are some creative scenes and truly creative descriptions at times, it is also difficult when you don’t know where it fits with the overriding story being told. The could be a problem due to the particular translation or just an element of magical realism that the reader must become comfortable with.
Overall though, this novel was a challenge. A challenge can be completely acceptable and even a good thing when there are many amazing things in the novel. After all, often it feels good when we work for something good! However, this was a case of not only that, but also challenge because not everything seemed to tie together easily.
Definitely a classic, and worthwhile to read, but not an easy read!
Overall: 3 stars out of 5 stars.