An intricate web of characters and relationships. In his world, humans live for hundreds of years. I can (kind of) get over that, but what I cannot reAn intricate web of characters and relationships. In his world, humans live for hundreds of years. I can (kind of) get over that, but what I cannot reconcile is that his character and scene descriptions are all superficial, on the surface (albeit vivid), and the reader can never glimpse the minds or thoughts of the characters--- therefore I couldn't identify with any of them and so I never really felt invested in reading it or finding out what became of them. I did finish it. Meh. It ended with some incest.
But everyone just loves it so maybe I missed something?
Friend, Christina, humbly prompted me to something I did very much appreciate about this novel-- Marquez's insight regarding the fleeting and impermanent nature of language that was conveyed when the characters seemingly lost their language over their (surreal in length) lifetimes. She used the phrase "arbitrariness of language." I'm gonna go ahead and echo that....more
Chomsky, use your words. To be fair, I wasn't actually able to finish it (yet) but do intend to as it is a thesis demanding attention; however, I didChomsky, use your words. To be fair, I wasn't actually able to finish it (yet) but do intend to as it is a thesis demanding attention; however, I did get far enough to shake my judgmental fist. How can entire paragraphs--- let alone pages-- of text be comprised entirely of a string of isolated quotes by other sources with no context? It was like compilation essay(s) by an inexperienced schmuck of an undergrad lacking any semblance of an original thought in his head or influence--- not a renowned author/ orator and expert in the field.
A brief yet profound message punctuated by _a lot_ of hokum (which must have been difficult to pull off in just over a hundred pages). The protagonistA brief yet profound message punctuated by _a lot_ of hokum (which must have been difficult to pull off in just over a hundred pages). The protagonist embodies Camus' idea of the absurd, living only for himself and enraptured by appearances and shying from judgments, save for those imposed on himself and that he imposes on others. A woman falling to her death is symbolic of the antihero's own fall. Her death was just a strangely alluded to event that I didn't make much sense of when first introduced, among all the other strange events and life confessions of the monologue, but the significance of it is realized in the last few sentences of the book, when he confesses his sin while simultaneously judging the stranger bearing witness to the confession (you, the reader). He subsequently exiles himself to Amsterdam (bringing you back to his location revealed at the beginning of the story, i.e., present time), condemning his actions in an act of repentance. The concentric canals about the city are insightfully likened to (Dante's) rings of hell, which is fitting with his personal anguish and the internal turmoil he experiences over his prior actions.
Loads of symbols, like water and heights: at what he perceives to be his best, the protagonist is high, in power, towering above all others. At his weakest, for example, when he perceives himself being laughed at-- which he likens to judgment from others-- he is always in the water. He invites the reader (to whom he makes his confession) to join him at the waterfront just prior to coming forth with his most grave of admissions. Even the woman falls into the water to drown, which is symbolic of his own demise. The fall itself is seemingly a religious theme presented in secular language and form, which I believe his audience receives rather well.
The caveat: for such a compelling story it isn't told with the lucidity and brilliant grasp on language I have come to expect from Camus. Perhaps it is my translation: I have an early one by someone named Justin O'Brien....more
McCullers conveys an egalitarian philosophy using the strife historically faced by both blacks and Jews as a platform. Intricacies abound. CollectivelMcCullers conveys an egalitarian philosophy using the strife historically faced by both blacks and Jews as a platform. Intricacies abound. Collectively, this is quite a feat for a freshman author. After my reading just this novel by McCullers and the short Ballad of Sad Cafe I was confident that she was one of the few I would grow to consider a favorite. Everything I've since read by her has confirmed this initial assumption. It's a tragedy that she passed away so early; in her short life this woman bestowed so many gifts to the world in terms of social philosophy, which she seamlessly blended into her fiction with (evidently) incredible ease. Surely she had more to share.
This work captures the beauty and complexity of unconventional characters and friendships. My only complaint is that some of those characters merely served to make others shine and weren't rightfully given their due attention. I suppose that would have made the novel drag and as I understand it this would have been entirely deliberate choice on the part of McCullers. Unequivocally her magnum opus.