Book Title/Author: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Publisher/Year Published: My edition was Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006, but the book was initially published in 1967.
How I got a hold of this book: I bought this from Borders one summer day.
Why I read this book: The overwhelming desire to yank this book from my shelves this summer came over me and I obliged.
Rating: 4 stars. It was a pretty good book. I'm glad I read it. But there wasn't a magical connection between the two of us.
This was the second book by Marquez that I've read; the first was Love in the Time of Cholera. One Hundred Years of Solitude is known for its magical realism, which is a style that Marquez perfected and used throughout his body of work. One Hundred Years of Solitude follows the Buenadia family through seven generations of fortune and misfortune, invading outside influences and internal strife.
My thoughts on this book are kind of complicated and intermingled. I liked the concept of the story--following a family's rise and fall. This book reminded me a lot of East of Eden, which is one of my favorite books, in that respect. There is the honorable patriarch who descends into madness, at least according to everyone else, and his rotten children who mess up everything by trying to be innovative and slightly underhanded. There were numerous ups and downs in this book, as there are in life. Progress doesn't always lead to better things, especially in the long run.
While we're on the topic of characters...I felt that some of the characters in this book were mere caricatures who were really overdone. All in all, I didn't like the characters of this book. I couldn't relate to them. And many were flat out despicable. It was probably intentional that the characters were like this, but I have to feel invested in the characters when I read. Also, the characters all had the same names from generation to generation, which made things very confusing. Luckily, there was a family tree that I referred to many times.
What ultimately redeems this book for me is its style. I really like Marquez's prose. They are simple, direct, but also lyrical. For whatever reason, good prose and writing style can make up for a lot in my reading experience, even less than desirable characters. It's almost as though the prose are a separate entity, detached from character and plot. It's his prose that have me give this book a 4.