In all honesty, this book was so unappealing. I couldn't get into it. I thought the plot was contrived, and a bit childish, especially towards the end...moreIn all honesty, this book was so unappealing. I couldn't get into it. I thought the plot was contrived, and a bit childish, especially towards the end. That being said, I definitely appreciated two things: 1. the level of vocabulary. You could tell the author had a good command of the English language. 2. The idea of using different perspectives, and different language styles to show the same event - cool stylistic devcie that did work to her advantage.
Overall though - a book has to be well written, and come across with a clear sense of purpose that isn't weakened by the plot. This one was. (less)
This book is what I turn to when nothing else works. It is written beautifully, passionately. Mere words here do it no justice. This was a book to lea...moreThis book is what I turn to when nothing else works. It is written beautifully, passionately. Mere words here do it no justice. This was a book to learn from. How to live, how to work, and what it means to make a difference in the world...I have pages folded, dog-eared - that I come back to and read because it's so good.
Rand presents a world with ideal characters - the ideal man and the ideal woman. The book is a testament to the human spirit. The plot is fast-paced, drags a little until the first 100 pages or so, but quickens considerably beyond this point. Characters are symbolic in nature, and represent various aspects of the objectivist ideals as promoted by Rand. The language is powerful in its comdemnation of mediocrity. The book offers a unique representation of integrity; the characters are juftified through their work, and need no other means of justification. (less)
At the time of reading Fifth Business, I had never read Davies before. I'm glad to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The characte...moreAt the time of reading Fifth Business, I had never read Davies before. I'm glad to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. The characters were richly developed; Davies artfully captures the intricacies of the human spirit and probes emotions that often seem difficult to write or talk about.
I personally enjoyed the concpet - the idea of the term 'fifth business' - more than anything. I look forward to reading the others two books in the trilogy. (less)
This book holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. It spoke to the 'me' that exists on several levels, as a person, as a woman, as a mus...moreThis book holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. It spoke to the 'me' that exists on several levels, as a person, as a woman, as a musician, and as someone who often remembers too vividly.
The plot is developed in an interesting style; time is very fluid, but in a manner dissimilar to the magic realism often present in Latin-American novels. (This makes sense; the author isn't Latin-American at all; he is European. I've just got Latin American Novels on the brain, since I've had to read so many of them over the past year or so for school) The story is developed in a somewhat convoluted manner; this cannot be denied. However the plot is strong enough to allow for the strange manner in which time is presented.
Knowledge of music is not essential to understanding the novel, but speaking as someone who does have some knowledge of music, it certainly enhances the experience of reading it.
Certain lines appealed to me in this novel; the interconnections that exist between people, between lovers, are explored. The book ventures into spirituality and psychology; a curious, surreal view of the world is thus presented. The protagonist is immersed in the same world as we are, but his perspective is significantly altered; he is in touch with another world entirely - the world that exists beneath the surface.
I expect some things were "lost in translation" so to speak, since I did not read the book in its original language. However the book was enjoyable, and certianly one that I will read again, should the opportunity present itself. (less)
What an easily forgettable novel. The language was exceedingly childish, and the style of the novel massacred the subtlety with which magic realism is...moreWhat an easily forgettable novel. The language was exceedingly childish, and the style of the novel massacred the subtlety with which magic realism is to be employed. This was my first taste of the famed Latin American style of writing, and I was sorely disappointed.
(Class discussions surrounding this book also bothered me - not only were we forced to read bad literature, we were forced to analyse it for meaningful content.)
The characters were not at all developed successfully; no motivations existed behind some of their actions. The magic realism was not artfully or subtly employed to provide significant insight into the events of the novel. As odd as this may sound, not one of the characters in that book was likeable. One character - and not the main one - had the potential to be developed into a very interesting and powerful figure, but her story was reduced to a side-thread that the author seemingly gave up on.
The plot was childish in nature, with strange sexual undertones that were jarring. Picture if you will, the story of Cinderella - but this time with sex involved. You see? The mind is jarred by the image. In that same vein, the novel attempts to reconcile a highly immature plot line with fairly adult themes.
My first experience with Latin American novels was thus a failure. I suppose I have to thank school for introducing me to better Latin American novels as time went by - this was their way of saying "ok - you've read the wrost one now, it can ONLY get better from here!" (less)
I'm so glad to have read this book - and that my experience with Latin American literature wasn't limited to that awful piece of work Like Water For C...moreI'm so glad to have read this book - and that my experience with Latin American literature wasn't limited to that awful piece of work Like Water For Chocolate.
Marquez is credited with bringing the style of magic realism to the global community - and One Hundred Years of Solitude easily justfies this claim. Marquez artfully uses magic realism to enhance the novel's several messages. The circular and cyclical aspects of time are not at all tedious to read through. In fact, the repetition of characteristic traits found throughout the generations of the Buendia family are marvellously interwoven with the plot; thus despite the passage of time, new generations often reflect their ancestors' actions and responses to similar events.
The novel deals with the idea of solitude, found at both national and personal levels. Marquez uses a variety of literary devices to portray the varying manifestations of solitude. The reader will have no trouble in connecting on a personal level with the novel.
Significantly, the use of magic realism allows Marquez to portray the devastation that political events of South America had on the people. Importantly, the novel cannot work unless magic realism is employed; it does not seem out of place within the text, as it did in Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate. I cannot imagine this novel without elements of the surreal, and of the fantastic, whereas Esquivel's novel would have made a far better impression on me had she left out magic realism entirely.
My one tiny problem with 100 Years is the fact that throughout the novel, one of the characters does call the reflexivity of time to attention. I didn't like that, because it almost forced me to say "yes i KNOW I DO see it, thanks, I DON'T need it shoved down my throat." The thing is, Marquez generally does not force metaphors down the reader's throat. The symbols are there, the hidden meanings are there - but that is the key isn't it? That the meanings ARE hidden. (So I'm forgiving him for those few lapses where I frowned at the novel when it wasn't subtle enough.) I'm a reader who likes working a little, who likes to delve into the books to find out what the author is saying, and to establish my own connections with the novel. I detest superficiality in novels, and was glad to see that this one was multilayered. Rich with characters and plot points that hold significant meaning to the political events of Latin America, One Hundred Years of Solitude can be read on a variety of levels, by a variety of people.
"What happens in it?" I was asked once. And I failed miserably in answering. The book isn't about characters or specific plot points, in the end. It attempts to answer much more difficult questions. It would be inaccurate to say "nothing happens". It's easier to say...that everything happens. Love, loneliness, politics, incest, isolation - but these words don't come close to explaining the book. (less)
I read this book a long time ago for the first time, but only recently since then. I'd forgotten what a good author John Irving was- or maybe it's jus...moreI read this book a long time ago for the first time, but only recently since then. I'd forgotten what a good author John Irving was- or maybe it's just that at 12 years of age, I wasn't able to appreciate everything he was getting at.
I really liked this book for the way in which it makes me laugh - at especially unfunny situations. Frank and his cymbals. Egg who was named egg, because well, he was just an agg when he was conceived. Lilly who tried to grow - and maybe everyone else should have tried harder to grow too. John and Franny. Just Franny. Susie the Bear - Earl the Bear. Screaming Annie and Dark Inge. Freud and the OTHER Freud. And everyone meets an Old Billig; two if you're (un)lucky. And Sorrow.
Because Sorrow always floats - like love, and like doom.
So to anyone who appreciates the quirks found in any family -because every family is dysfunctional - and to anyone who can laugh and cry at the same time without choking. Or with choking, "it really doesn't matter" as Frank would say...I would reccommend this novel to them.(less)