Joy H.'s Reviews > One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: selection-of-library-bk-group, author-nobel-prize-winner, fiction, magical-realism, read-partially
Read in October, 2009

Even though this book was written by Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel García Márquez and is widely considered his magnum opus, I couldn't get through it. I read only to p.135 (large print edition). I can't begin to tell you all the things I didn't like about the book. First of all, so many of his characters' names were so similar to one another that it was difficult to keep them straight.* Not only that, but he kept repeating the same long names over and over. (Other readers in our book group also complained about this.) I didn't recognize any real character development. There weren't enough paragraph breaks. There was no compelling plot, just bits and pieces of events scattered here and there, with no orientation. The time shifts were confusing. This contributed to the ambiguity. Too much jumping around. Where was this story going? I couldn't guess.

*To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, the different characters' names were as follows (i.e., each of these was a different character!):
José Arcadio Buendía
José Arcadio
Colonel Aureliano Buendía
Aureliano José
17 Aurelianos
José Arcadio Segundo
Aureliano Segundo
José Arcadio (II)
Aureliano Babilonia (Aureliano II)
Aureliano (III)

I tried referring to SparkNotes, but even those notes were too opaque.

The above Wiki page said:
"The novel chronicles a family's struggle and the history of their fictional town, Macondo. Although the title implies that the story spans one hundred years, it is unclear exactly how much time the narrative covers. This ambiguity contributes to the novel's treatment of time, as there is a notion that time lapses, repeats, changes speeds, or stops altogether at different parts of the story, and that all the events in some sense happen simultaneously."

Scattered bits and pieces of the book were interesting, but on the whole I did not enjoy this book. It did not hold my interest.

I have read about why this book is supposed to be great, but I just didn't see that. Whatever the book was trying to say, whatever analogies it was trying to put across, never became clear to me because I found the book so boring and unreadable, regardless of how beautiful some people say the prose is. I'll never understand why this type of writing, with so many flaws, is considered to be great.

Edit 4/1/11 - I LOVED Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera!
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-7 of 7) </span> <span class="smallText">(7 new)</span>

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message 1: by Nina (new)

Nina I didn't like the that book but others seemed to and so I'll be anxious to hear your verdict. nina

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I didn't care for it at all, in fact I only managed about 30 [ish:] pages and threw in the towel. It seemed to take a turn and when I went back to try to see what I missed, there was nothing missed. I said goodbye to the book. There are too many good books to bother with books I can't stand.

Joy H. Nina and Pontalba, thanks for your comments.

message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Joy, I've tried three times to read this book and never been able to make it past the first 100 pages. I'm pretty sure it's not because I don't care for magic realism (I loved Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, for example), I think I just don't connect with this particular writer. I've made peace with the idea that it's one of the 100 Greatest Books In The World that I'm never going to read. (I haven't quite given up on my ambition to read War and Peace, though - now that I have a Kindle maybe it's time to give it a try!)

Joy H. Hi Margaret. Nice to see you. I found your post by serendipity. For some reason, Goodreads never sent me a notification.

I'm so glad you gave a thumbs-down to _One Hundred Years of Solitude_. I feel redeemed in my negative review of it. I know how well-read and analytic you are. So if you too couldn't connect with the book, I feel that I'm in good company.

As for magical realism, I enjoyed _Love in the Time of Cholera_. So it wasn't the genre which turned me off.

As for _War and Peace_, I've thought about trying to read it. Recently I watched the movie. So now that I know the plot, I can be fairly sure that I'll be able to follow the book. Also, imagining Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda as I read, can't hurt. :) (She played Natasha and he played Pierre.) I listed the characters for future reference at:
Those Russian names would be my first stumbling block. :) So I grouped the names by family. It's interesting that Russian family names have masculine and feminine endings.

message 6: by Nina (new)

Nina I also enjoyed reading, "Love in the time of Cholera," as the characters seem well developed and it gave me a glimpse of the setting and times that the book, "One Hundred Years of Solitude," did not. nina

Joy H. Yes, Nina, _Love in the time of Cholera_, was a great read. It was one of the New York Times Best Books of the Year (1988).

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