Friday, January 14, 2011
Week 2: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This book was not an easy read. It’s a joy to read – peppered with beautiful, vivid imagery and genuine human moments – but it’s not an EASY read. I was not that far into it when I hit a wall, frustrated with characters that are given the same names over and over again, and the dense pages in which every sentence overflowed with details. I’m glad I stuck with it, however, because by the end of the book I was enchanted and I was sad that I had reached the last page. Set in a fictional, South American town called Macondo, the book chronicles several generations of the Buendia family. There is a cyclical nature to the book that first reveals itself in the repetition of family names and personality traits. This cyclical nature emerges as one of the themes of the book, and over the span of a century, the reader is reminded of the cycle of life itself, as well as its inevitable end. The book is also noted for employing “magical realism”, which lends a heartwarming, almost fairy-tale quality to the story. For example, the sky rains tiny flowers at one point, covering the streets; one character is followed by yellow butterflies everywhere he goes; another character ascends to Heaven as she is folding sheets. Overall, I think anyone who reads this book will find themselves smiling and reflecting on the beauty and grace of life.