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One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
458 pages

First sentence: Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Reflections: I learned something reading this book:  I learned that I do not particularly care for "magical realism."  I was initially attracted to this book because it's one of the "1001 books you must read before you die," and because the author has received such critical acclaim.  It seemed like a must-read.  When I decided to read it to satisfy both the "Reading across Borders" and "Spring Reading Thing" challenges, it became a must-read.  I perservered, but in the end I am left with little to say about this book.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a multi-generational family saga.  Magical realism, according to Wikipedia, is "an artistic genre in which magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting."  I was reminded of American folklore like Paul Bunyan.  The characters had unusually strong abilities, and fantastic events like plagues happened often, and yet the setting in which this occurred was a sleepy rural village that you might find anywhere.

The writing is lyrical and in that sense I can understand why Marquez is so highly regarded.  I just couldn't connect with the style and I think this may be one of those books that would be more appreciated if read as part of a literature course, where you can explore the themes and hidden meanings of events that take place in the story.  As leisure reading, it left me flat.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16 / 50

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6,067 / 15,000


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 6th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to read your review. I feel like that about 'literature' books too. This sounds somewhat like "Pedro Palermo" that I read, but yours has more of a story.
It bothers me that I don't get these books, as people rave about them, on their list of best books ever, and so on. You used a good phrase - leisure reading- and I guess that's the difference. If I had some guidance, or was discussing the elements with other people, I might understand more. But that's too much work for fun reading. Thanks for the review, I can cross this off my list of books because I identified exactly with the problems you described. Sometimes I will suffer through a short book, but 458 pages? I don't think so.
Apr. 7th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this review, Laura...I have to admit being tempted by this book because of the same reasons you were; and people are always raving about this novel. You and I seem to enjoy the same types of books and authors, so I'm going to resist temptation and read other stuff that I think I'll like better!

Wendy (caribousmom.blogharbor.com)
Apr. 7th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Public Service
Well I suppose if my review has helped two other readers find literary happiness, then my suffering was worth it :-))
Apr. 20th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Your review
Loving this review. Although I found this to be such a fabulous story and loved the style, my best friend couldn't even get through it. Thanks for the good review!

I am not sure how this blog works, but you can visit me over at www.thoughtsofboltbabe.blogspot.com. =)
Jun. 20th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
I also was not a fan of this book and came away wondering why I continued reading to the end. At first I thought perhaps it was the magical realism that turned me off, however, since discovering Alice Hoffman, I'm not so sure that is true. She's been said to include a touch of that in her novels and the one I read by her (The Probable Future), I found very enjoyable. I do know that with The One Hundred Years of Solitude, I had trouble following the story at time and found it boring. I kept feeling like I was missing something important. It's nice to know I am not alone in not caring for this one.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )