Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finished 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. At last.

Lordy, I'm glad that's over.  It was a strange little book, the type where you just have to let stuff go sometimes. 

If you drew two circles and labeled one Kafka & one Marquez, there would be some overlap, but not that much.  For me it was a lot easier to follow than Kafka, but I saw some similarities.   They both mix in reality with unreality, but yet treat the unreality as if it were real.  In Kafka's Metamorphosis, a guy turned into a bug, and people didn't freak out & run away, they tried to talk to him (it).  In Marquez's village of Macondo, the whole town at one time or another experienced a couple of years of insomnia, almost 5 solid years of rain, and various other miraculous things happened to individual people along the way.

I begin to see the book as a series of stories.  My favorite was the one where Jose Arcadio Buendia, the family patriarch, discovered on his own that the world was round, centuries after this had become common knowledge.  I liked the stories surrounding Remedios the Beauty who was so beautiful that one day she just acended into heaven, along with a set of Aramanta's favorite sheets.  I've taken to referring to our dog as "Pickles the Beauty", but I'm afraid she'll get the big head.   I liked the stories of Jose Arcadio Segundo & Areliano Sequndo, who were twins and would fool people by switching identities as children.  They did it so often that Ursula (their great-grandmother) was convinced they had got themselves mixed up.  Aureliano had the personalities of all the Jose Arcadios, and Jose Arcadio had the personality of all the Aureliano's.  They died on the same day, in the end the pall bearers were drunk and got the coffins mixed up so that they were buried in the other's grave.  Which may have been correct after all.   In every generation there was one (usually an Aureliano, the exception was Jose Segundo) who spent a lot of time in an old room trying to figure out manuscripts left behind by a mystic gypsy.  

I started reading this book back in November.   It usually doesnt take me this long to read through a book, and I have no excuses for this one.  I just wasn't into it for some reason.  I have this stupid bit of pride that I'm not going to let any book get the best of me.  So I read the stupid thing, and parts of it were quite good, parts quite funny and parts I just struggled through like trudging through knee deep mud.  Its done.  On to something else.


Patti Anne said...

You should read the Steig Larsson trilogy. Very interesting!

Anonymous said...

"You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din" - I never finished that book - it never captured my interest at all...

linlah said...

I was confused just reading your review so I'm sure reading the book wouldn't clear any of it up for me.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Patti Anne: ok

Grace: I know what you mean. I forced myself - but I was able to answer a Jeopardy question because of it, so I have that going for me.

linlah: I suppose I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind for the book, or to write about what I'd read.