Friday, June 02, 2017

Reader's Diary #1599- Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

I'd put off reading Gabriel García Márquez's classic One Hundred Years of Solitude for sometime owing to its reputation as a difficult read and its magical realism label (which in itself might be explain the reputation).

I didn't wind up finding it be overly difficult but it's one of those books that's probably as difficult as you want it to be. Of course, how much work one puts in would be directly correlated to how much one understands the subtleties and how much one understands it would be directly correlated with how much one enjoys it. In the long run, I am rather ambivalent toward it.

Describing the generations of the Buendía family from the fictional South American country of Macondo, One Hundred Years of Solitude is unsurprisingly long. There also doesn't appear to be any one central character (maybe Ursula?) and while a family tree provided at the front of the book helped me keep track of who was who, I eventually stopped referring to it. Not that I had it all memorized, I just stopped caring.

It is interesting at times, funny, tragic, weird. But I never really connected.

Despite that I found myself comparing it to Michael Crummey's Galore, which is one of my all-time favourites. I think the difference is that I grew up in Newfoundland, the setting of Galore, and I really understood the context. Loosely based, I'm told, on Colombian history and mythology, I'd likely appreciate One Hundred Years of Solitude had I either experienced that country's culture and history myself or if I put in some effort to research it myself. I will fully take the blame for not making such an effort, for being a lazy reader. In my defense, I don't have one hundred years of solitude to expend.

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

Like you, I felt like I didn't do this one justice because I never really fell into the story and felt like an observer throughout, but there are parts of the story which I still remember (almost twenty years later I'd guess) and think back to on occasion, so I think more of it impressed me than I thought. And even though I considered passing on my copy, I still think I might try it again. But Galore. Galore! Oh, I loved it right from the start.