Rating: 3.5 / 5
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel García Márquez was May’s pick for the #classicsbuddyread hosted by @freefallinreader. This is not one that I had a lot of familiarity with before it made it on the schedule, but I came across a copy in my used bookstore browsing so I was excited to give it a read.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE follows a family and a town. The Buendi family is there for the beginnings of the town of Macondo and the book follows them through multiple generations as the town comes into being and then falls apart. This is a place where magic is possible with mysterious forgetting diseases and flowers falling from the sky to commemorate a key death. It is a place of war and hostility and an interest in advancing technology as well.
I have to admit that this book was a struggle for me. Magical realism isn’t always a great fit for me and in this book it is a key component. There were sections that I enjoyed, but the book as a whole did not drag me in. I think that to some extent there may be a timing issue at play. I feel like this book may have worked better for me at a time when I could have given more focus. There are elements such as characters who are named for each other over successive generations which leads to a lot of very similarly named characters. I think this is intentional as the author is playing with how characters also inherit other traits through the generations, but it did cause me some confusion at times. I did go back and read some online synopses of the chapters and found that I was picking up on most of the key elements of the story, even as I felt like I was missing things while reading.
I wound up doing quite a bit of the book on audio and that really helped. The narrator was very engaging and did a wonderful job which really helped me finish this one. I liked the writing, but I think the author’s attempt to push all boundaries was a little too much shock value for me (lots of affairs, animal involvement etc.).
Though this one didn’t really work for me, or at least didn’t work for me right now, I know it is much beloved by many and I can see why it could be a love it or hate it kind of novel. Still I was glad to give a new to me author and a different style a shot!
#NerdReading2020 – a number in the title