Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude was originally published in '67 when Marquez was 40 years old. He won the Nobel Prize for literature about 15 years later and is still considered one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.

This is one of my favourite books ever, so I was happy when Grace picked it for the BPYC book club January selection.

I was so surprised when I found it such tough slogging this time around, feeling as though I was plodding through with a strange combo of delight and confusion.

So very many details, twists and turns, and all recounted at a furious pace.  Grace said his intention was "to write this with a brick face," in the same manner as his mother told fantastic stories.  Dead-pan.

And there are many magical details, like the musical clocks in the village houses that chime in orchestral chorus, or 17 bastard sons that mysteriously show up on the same weekend, or the beautiful girl whose natural perfume drives men literally mad.  Outrageous sparks and really interesting twists.

Recurring character names through the generations had me constantly flipping to the family tree plotted just inside the front cover.  Then I just gave up, thinking it didn't really matter who was who anymore...

Every character in the book is enveloped in solitude at one point, in one way or another, whether it is a physical or emotional separation.

I will have to revisit this dog-eared copy again, in another 15 years, to see how I enjoy it then!

I don't speak a word of Spanish but I still enjoy the cadence of Marquez in this clip.  I can imagine him telling the story of Remedios the Beauty to a spellbound audience.


Hazel said...

I like this book too. I borrowed it from a date and never returned it.

I like how Remedios floats to heaven when drying sheets. And how some sweet smelling liqueur flows from someone's head.

Diane said...

Remedios is a memorable character, all right... in all her incarnations