One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
After all that I had heard about this book, it sadly did not live up to my expectations.
I wanted to love it, and at times, I did love Gabriel García Márquez’s stylistic way of writing. He describes the settings so wonderfully and uses imagery in such a perfect way to give the sense of “magical realism” that extends beyond the supernatural as we know it. This made for a beautiful and unique story and makes me want to read his other novels to hopefully find that gem I had been expecting in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Marquez was one of the first writers to use “magical realism,” a style of fantasy where the fantastic and the unbelievable are treated as everyday occurrences. However, this type of genre doesn’t really point out why the bizarre occurrences are happening, they just happen and everyone accepts them as though it’s perfectly normal.
What made me feel a bit lost at times was how messy the history of the generations of the Buendia family is written. It often reads as a random incoherent string of events, or you are easily following along about one character’s life and suddenly bam you have no clue where you are in the timeline. Which characters are still alive, which member of the family is this again, the grandfather, grandson? The fact that two names are repeated about 15 more times with other family members made it very difficult to follow when it was so haphazard. Basically, the Buendia family is the main character, and the individual family members are just secondary characters.
There are two main themes of the story - repetition of history and the very fine line between reality and fantasy. I feel like other books have made better points of these themes in a bit more entertaining way. For example, I just read Wuthering Heights, and that was a wonderful example of a beautifully written story with some “magical realism” and how the cycle of history often repeats itself with people slowly learning to change their ways.
Honestly sometimes I felt a little…dumb?, less intellectual?… when I was reading this book because I could see what Gabriel García Márquez was trying to get at, but I couldn’t quite find myself there with him. Not until I finished the book and really made myself think about it could I see the full themes and premise.
Synopsis: The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."