Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Hundred Years of Solitude

I loved the beginning and most of the rest of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I started halfway through my France trip in June. It's a credit to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, his unbelievable prose and the kind of imagination few people have (seriously, that's a lethal combination--like Woolf meets Tolkein) that I remained as interested as I did in what was essentially a plotless novel. I'm a plot snob and tend not to like books unless there are one or two characters whose fate hang in the balance, whom I follow from beginning to end.

For those who haven't read it, the novel chronicles 100 years in the life of the Buendia family, in the mystical town of Macondo, Colombia. In telling the history of this family, he uses magical elements and repetition to drive home the history of Latin America, from revolutions and workers' strikes to creativity, inquiry, and exploration in the jungles and seas, from floods and droughts to festivals and times of flux and exchange.

The novel bursts at the seams with its cyclical stories, characters who make the same mistakes, share the same personality traits or variations on each other, who behave stubbornly, lustfully, hedonistically, and occasionally wisely over the years, forgetting the lessons of their ancestors. It's, like, a metaphor for all of human history, folks! We rise above our animalistic tendencies, but then fall back down, forgetting lessons that are there for us to learn from.

The Jose Arcadios and the Aurielanos were wonderful companions while I remained in their world, even if I did get a bit restless towards the end of the novel, and Macondo. Marquez's almost loving, accepting views of sex, death and human error inspired me to look at the world more openly, to accept human nature for what it is: strange and immutable.

That being said, Solitude got a teeny bit repetitive for me at the end, but I accept that I'm just an impatient plot-whore in the face of Marquez's genius :)

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