Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lori's Livres--One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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 CholeraOne 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.


  1. I really couldnt get on with this book at all. I felt really bad but I had to give up on it halfway through, I just felt very disconnected to the whole thing. Im glad you liked it more than I did though.

  2. I love this book. It's a monster to get through but I really enjoyed it. I get what you're saying about the characters being caricatures, but I felt like he did that on purpose to show how pitiful they really were. I loved Ursula and her failed attempts to keep the family together and I felt as though the house itself was a character that became more deteriorated as the family fell apart.
    One of my favorites books actually, but i understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea.

  3. I really want to read this. It is in my queue, for sure.

  4. I loved this book!! I think I liked Love in the Time of Cholera better though! I have to agree with you that even with characters that I might have started out liking/caring out..they ultimately failed me. Such is life I guess. But I agree with's the prose that makes up for that. I STILL need to read East of Eden..I like a good family saga!

  5. Thanks for the review -- I have owned this one for a while but never gotten around to reading it.

  6. This has been on my list of 100 Books to read for a while, & I was feeling a little apprehensive about it... Great review, though, I think I'll be a little less scared picking it up next time

  7. Oh no, I loved this book! I didn't know about the whole magical realism style when I read it, but even though I was a bit confused as to WHY certain things were happening (like people living for centuries) I still really connected with it. The characters may not be ideal, but the story is just so beautiful and captivating. I'd like to reread it but it really is an investment of time. I'm sorry you didn't like it.


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