0130 | One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Context: Failed to finish this as I was working through the final modules of my survey course.

REVIEW
Pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants…

pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants, pants…………………………….pants!

At least, that’s my opinion.

Okay, so it’s world famous blahdy blah. But it’s bloody boring with its two and a half page paragraphs and eleventeen hundred characters with the same name and nothing to engage any but the most hardened luvvie of lit. I mean, take a look at the closing line. Japan and Korea had far more than 100 years of solitude in their history. They’re not doing too badly are they…

In only one way was this book exceptional and it was this: I NEVER, repeat NEVER, give up on a book once I start it. But here, with 100 pages to go, I realised that I had better things to do with my life and gave up on Garcia Marquez.

I guess he needed to get this stuff out of his system to get on with some decent writing with Love in the Time of Cholera.

FIRST LINE
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.

QUOTES

the search for lost things is hindered by routine habits and that is why it is so difficult to find them

CLOSING LINE
Before reaching the final line however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.

RATING
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb

ALSO BLOGGED HELPFULLY BY
Silence Without | The B_G Talkies

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) December 3, 2008, 6:44 pm

    You must be in a very positive mood – you started a book review with 2 paragraphs of the word ‘pants’ and still rated it as mediocre !!!! I’d love to see a review for something you rate as poor!!

    I have this book in my reading pile, so I think I’ll bury it somewhere near the bottom after reading your review!

    Reply
  • B_G December 3, 2008, 7:13 pm

    i think every one emotes differently, i also believe you will see it (the book) differently years down the line. don’t give up on this one, please, i beg of you, give it one more chance, perhaps ten years down…

    PS thanks for your input on my review

    Reply
  • Arukiyomi December 3, 2008, 7:58 pm

    ha harrr yes, it’s been a while since I read something I rated as “poor” – I put it as mediocre because it’s obvious the guy does have style here and throws in the odd epithet worthy of a moment’s thought. But all in all it was about as engaging as dead squirrel… actually no, that can be pretty engaging depending on how it died… 😉

    Reply
  • chris December 5, 2008, 11:34 pm

    Hahahaha! One man’s meat is another man’s poison, as they say. I loved this book when I read it 20 years ago. Since then I’ve read most of Garcia Marquez’ work and I always feel that I’m in the hands of a master, especially with his short stories.

    Arukiyomi, I used to enjoy your helpful reviews over on LT and have now taken to checking this site quite regularly to get tips for reading. Outside of “100 Years”, we coincide quite a lot. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • aloi December 8, 2008, 12:09 pm

    so funny! i personally found this so convoluted that i spent half the time referring to the family tree!

    Reply
  • Arukiyomi December 8, 2008, 2:48 pm

    @ aloi… yeah it should have been a pull out bookmark the amount of times that you need it. And, even though I had it, I still couldn’t keep track of who was who. It was about halfway through that I realised it didn’t make any difference anyway and about another third of the way through when I realised I didn’t care either!

    Reply
  • chris December 8, 2008, 4:09 pm

    Hello Arukiyomi. Many thanks for the email. I wasn’t sure I could reply to it, hence this further comment here. It’s true that reading “100 Years” requires keeping track of names, but the same goes for “War and Peace” or “Life and Fate” – or the Bible for that matter! Perhaps making a note of the names would help. Even so, I have never considered “100 Years” García Márquez’ greatest work – it just happens to be the first I read and I loved his use of language fromt he start. For me he is one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers and I would say his greatness rests on his short stories and novellas like “Chronicle of an Death Foretold”. If you get the chance, next centruy dip into his stories – I’m sure all of them must be available in English.

    I’ve really enjoyed your other recent reviews, particularly because I happened to have read some of the same books at about the same time (Suite Francaise, Kes). Many thanks!

    Reply
  • cipriano December 22, 2008, 7:09 pm

    I agree with your feelings about this book, having read it mmm…. about a hundred years ago. In solitude. But yes, Love In The Time of Cholera is so much better than this book that one wonders how it came from the same author, really.
    I love the flow-chart under the book in your photo. Is that a Buendia family tree? My copy of 100 Years actually had a genealogical chart at the beginning, and I found I was spending half my time looking at it rather than reading the book.

    Reply
  • Arukiyomi December 22, 2008, 7:27 pm

    ha! no that’s the outline of the modules of the course I was studying!

    Reply
  • Randall December 25, 2008, 12:10 am

    So good to hear that someone else feels the same way that I do about this book. Half way through it I felt like I should be loving it but instead I felt as if it had taken me a hundred years to get to the middle. Around a hundred pages later I walked out to my trash can and stuck the book into it. I quit. Gave up and felt much better for doing so. I do suffer from some guilt around this because I feel as if there is something lacking in my own intellectual abilities. Why did I suffer so much while reading One Hundred Years Of Solitude? Everyone in my life thinks it is such a great work of magical realism. I wanted to love it and I tried- but I could not get into it. I stayed on the surface and could not penetrate it. This is what happens when I am bored so after a month of suffering I threw the freakin book away.

    Whatever we do not face in the moment will come back to hunt us in time. My wife bought me Roberto Bolano’s epic 2666. It was not cheap and I want to get into this book because it is supposed to be a great work of literature. Instead it is insufferable. Dull and pedantic. Filled with pathos, despair, violence and hopelessness. I think I am going to stick this book in the trash can as well and stick to my afirmational books about love and life.

    Reply

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