I attempted to read One Hundred Years of Solitude about 10 – 15 years ago without any luck. I started it and it was just too much for me to continue, so I put it down. I’m glad I picked it back up for the Books of Titans project. This time around, I enjoyed this surrealist novel and had a chuckle throughout the book. Gabriel Garcia Marquez mixes the natural with the supernatural to create a very entertaining novel that spans a 100 year period in a fictional town called Macondo.
We follow one particular family in this town, the Buendias, through multiple generations. The first sentence of the book is amazing, and hooks you in pretty far into the book:
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
I laughed a lot while reading this book and had a smile on my face for most of the time. The surrealist, supernatural components of the book made it a super enjoyable read.
Solitude comes up a lot in the story. Ironically, the characters who are in the most amount of solitude are those who are most sought after. For instance, a few of the women lock themselves in their rooms while men literally die to have their hand in marriage.
Futility also comes up quite a bit. A number of the characters take on tasks that keep them perpetually working without results. It’s like digging a ditch only to fill it back in. Repeat. Making gold fish and then after hitting a certain number, melting them all down and starting again.
This book took me 3 weeks to complete as I read it during the time of the birth of my second daughter. That kept me pretty occupied. But, even with the non-regular reading and numerous book characters, I was able to pick back up without too much difficulty. I kept good notes about each character, which helped me to remember who was who.