27 December 2007

Writing on Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

What do you call a novel that has no central protagonist, an omniscient POV, and a rambling plot? In the case of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, you call it a masterpiece.  Solitude has been one of my favorite books since I first read it in college. Given my love for the fantasy genre, its probably not surprising that the way Garcia Marquez infuses his world with magic is one aspect of his work that I love. However, two elements really make his work stand out: his voice and the uniqueness of his characters. To me, Garcia Marquez's is like a gifted storyteller sitting by the campfire. Humor and wisdom underscore every moment, brining a unique perceptive to the world. Here's one small example: "Almost pulverized at the time by the decrepitude of death, Pudencio Aguliar would come twice a day to chat with him. They talked about fighting cocks. They promised each other to set up a breeding farm for magnificent birds, not so much to enjoy their victories, which they would not need then, as to have something to do on the tedious Sundays of death." Wow!

His characters are like none others that I've seen, ranging from the grandfather who lives out most of his twilight years tied to a tree to a girl with bad habit of eating whitewash and dirt who arrives mysteriously with a bag containing her parents' bones. 

The only criticism I have for Solitude is that it is almost too much of a good thing. With so many stories, characters, and events crammed into one book, it is hard to get through without putting it down for awhile. In other words, it is kind of like trying to eat a whole carton of Chunky Monkey at once. However, if you keep it on your nightstand and consume it a bite at a time, you'll be nicely rewarded.

By the way, if you are wondering where the fantasy and science fiction reviews are, stay tuned. 


Anonymous said...

I, too, love Marquez's work. How nice that we and the Nobel committee agree.

My Marquez favorite is *Love in the Time of Cholera*, also an excellent example of magical realism.

BTW, I am unable to put down ice cream when it's sitting in front of me. :-) Maybe this author's work is more like flourless chocolate cake -- I adore it, but my system has to digest it slowly.

David E. Hughes said...

I suppose I could eat a whole pint of ice cream if I tried, too. I'd probably feel sick afterwards, though. I far can I take this simile? Okay, we'll go with the flourless chocolate cake example instead.