Jeannine asked:

Why do struggle to finish this novel? This is the third time I have stalled out more than half way through. I just can't seem to care about this family...tell me: should I tough it out?

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MariaJulia Some commenters believe that only someone who has the Latin American "experience" would "get" this novel. I was born in a communist Latin-American country and lived there as a young child. I grew up in an American city where over 70% of the population is Latin American. I've read this book (many years ago) in both English and Spanish and it was a chore to finish. Life is too short to waste reading something you don't enjoy.
Miquel Reina When I was reading it I felt the same way you describe but then I realised that this isn't an ordinary novel. I think that this sensation happens because this book doesn't follow a traditional narrative structure with an antagonist or an achievement at the end of the novel. This books only tells the story of time, the story of a family through ages but you can't expect an achievement at the end of it. It's like life, a long story made of little stories.
Alex Let yourself get lost in Marquez's language. That was the main pleasure of the novel for me. His gift for prose made every sentence seem to almost vibrate, even in translation. Marvel at the words initially, and the century-long odyssey of the Buendias will grab ahold of you.
Christina I'm only 203 pages in and I'm about to give up on this book. I liked the first 100 pages but after the same thing just keeps happening pretty much and they keep naming their sons all the same name I'm like who is who? I normally read books really fast but I've been trying to read this book for over a month and I'm only 203 pages in because I just don't want to pick this book up anymore. I even got it on cd so it is read to me and I still find myself not listening to it lol Honestly this book isn't anything I haven't read before. I know people say this is one of a kind and there is nothing like it out there, well I've read many books that are similar to this one over the years. I don't understand why this book is rated so high when everyone I've talked to who read this book had a hard time finishing it. A great book is one you can't put down not one you can't stand to pick up. I'm going to try to finish this book. I just find the story boring and the characters dull.
Mohitha To read this book first thing to keep in mind that this book is not about plot. The book is worth reading when you enjoy the writing of the extraordinary Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When i read this book i more feel like an old man whom i love say stories about some people i don't know. You don't have any business to know the family story of some strange people, but you still hear it just because you like poem or prose.
Huda Aweys Well, simply because it is not an ordinary novel, it's a display of philosophical ideas which the Marxists , Communists and socialists beleive in it about history!
to understand and receive this novel
to like it or not
you must understand this philosophy first , and if you like it and become one of the supporters will be given for the novel , 5 star and if you do not like it you will give it one star only ! , it is not about the novel , it is is only philosophy , fanatics !
Camila hey, as a latin american i can assure you you have to be from some south american country or at least live here in order to truly get this book, most people might say oh García Marquez has such a vivid imagination!, well truth is, this is an exageration of our reality, our day to day lifes and history all mixed together. It gets easier to read the book because you can relate to some of the tales and happenings in it.
i dont know maybe if you did a little research or read it with the tought of this being a book about a whole culture you would start to like it?
Grace I had the same sentiment as you when I was reading this book. But I can assure you the ending is worthwhile.
It's hard to read I understand. But its genius shines through at the end. I don't know which part of the book you're at right now, but personally I feel everything becomes more interesting when it gets to the third generation, shortly after the political riot and uprising.
Dont look at it as a continuous story as i feel in nature it's just a book about different characters and their own stories. that way it might be easier for you to follow through.
Leah I just finished this book last week, and I agree– it's tough to get through. By the time I finished it, and in retrospect, I enjoyed it. Once you decide to sit back and enjoy the author's prose and go with the flow of the book, I think you will enjoy it. It's a lot easier to read it and look back and say, "Oh yeah! Now I get it."
John I really can't stand this novel. It's just drivel to me. Got to page 101, and I won't force myself to read more. Sorry. Reading should be a pleasure.
Celia At the beginning I hated it. When I finished it I knew it was going to be my favourite book forever. I still get goosebumps just re-reading it, but I don't think this book is for everyone (my mother never managed to finish it either). And about the latin american thing... Nope. I am Spanish, all the culture he talks about sounds completely strange to me, and I still love it.
Jun Definitely worth it. It is a world you have never encountered before. And one you would never again.
Flan I guess this captures your heart, or it doesn't. I loved it from the first sentence, and yes the first read is confusing with the same names in different generations. I loved the characters, the imagery the richness of the culture. There are many images that live in me since the first reading, like the 17 Aurelianos with the ashes on their foreheads, or Renata ascending, or
ÚRSULA IGUARÁN Walking down the hall with her arm outstretched, or her great, great grandchildren dressing her up like a doll. There is so much in here. And no, if you hate reading it don't. There are so many books in the world, don't waste your time on something you hate. I was hooked from the very beginning, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
Barb Wilson I cannot get into this book at all....I can't read it.
René Van Den Berg You need freedom of mind and lots of time to finish and enjoy this book. Read it half on holiday a few times but never finished it until I lost my job and finaly had time and peace of mind to enjoy and finish this book. I enjoyed it so much i could have continued reading for a hundred years...
Christina Rice I can see where Marquez's writing style, this idea of cyclical time, and of hopping in and out of different (similarly named) character's lives could be a hurdle for some readers. I found it was best to just go along with the flow of the piece, to babble along like a little brook, stumbling at times, really connecting with the words at other times, and just see what I was left with. I think multiple readings will eventually help with the nuances of this novel - the political ramifications, etc. However, I found it was best to trust the direction the author had in mind and not to try to hold on too tightly to specific details at first.
Henryk Wistreich Just stumbled upon your comment. My answer would be: no, you don't have to. As all friend once told me, some books just don't want us to read them. On the other side, I read it years ago - in Polish! - on another friend's recommendation, and it was a total blast and a revelation; it took me two nights (I could hardly put it down, but I needed some sleep), and was like no other book I had ever read. So, maybe you could give it another chance in some years. Happy reading if you do!
Anita Meszaros Don`t struggle, read something else which would give you pleasure. I have read quite a lot of books, many good ones but this one somehow was not intriguing for me. I appreciate that this is not just a family story but the human race`s as well told in a "Biblical" way spiced with philosophical, mythical ideas and politics, but and there is a but. It just did not float my boat. Sorry.
Brandon It was with this novel that I learned to slow down and savor what came out of a particular reading. I first read this as an undergrad. Later, we studied it in graduate school. This novel is so dense with political influences, possible meanings, and (I would say) various mythologies that we learned to take it piece by piece. If one reads a section and ties themselves in knots about all the possible meanings present, they will get nowhere. The same thing happened with Don Quijote. Read along, note your reactions and questions, and follow through to the end. In re-reading the novel, you can then focus on your other questions. It becomes time-consuming, but it becomes easier each successive time you do it. Then the true magic of Gabo comes to light.
Luis Santos This read was very hard, but I forced myself to pull through.
Only after finishing it, I read a few of comments here, and figured out some keys to read it with maybe less effort:
try to read it as the telling of a dream;
Let go of the laws of physics and biology of our planet;
The book is made up of many short (some of them very very short stories). Try to match them with people you know, or episodes you have lived.
I too could not relate to any character. But I believe that's not the purpose. On each sub-story, characters are there just as instruments necessary to transmit the reader some idea.
Kathryn I have read the book through on my third attempt. What I found so difficult was trying to keep all the same named family members straight. Then I realized I didn't have to and I just let myself go to enjoy the writing. Now I must say it is one of the best books I have ever read. The prose is beautiful.
Daniel Davidov You have to truly empathize with each character, as if they were your own family, to understand the depth of the author's themes.
Re-reading it a few years later, after having experienced more of the passions of love and life, I have found a greater appreciation for the magic of Marquez' prose. I can draw parallels with the character's passions and my own lived experience.
Due to the non-linear plot and abundant use of metaphor, I found myself more in tune with the story when I read at a much more glacial pace than usual.
Keeping these things in mind may help others enjoy the novel more. It seems to me that the more you read it, the more beautiful you may find it to be.
Jinru Wu This is an amazing book, I was filled with awe after reading it. BUT - if you can't finish a book, no matter what kind of prizes it won, and no matter how many people have told you how great it is, you shouldn't be reading it. Find a book you will understand(without looking up on wikipedia constantly) and enjoy reading.
Ajax Minor no reason to tough it out. i happen to think it's brilliant but i like to write in the genre of magical realism. it may just not be right for you. maybe you have to be a bit nuts to enjoy it. regardless, 'different strokes.' my grandmother would always make a face whenever i would ask her to take me to the movies to see Sci-Fi. "i don't like that crazy stuff," she'd say. maybe you just don't like the 'crazy stuff' in Cien Annos.
Orca i felt the same,, but when i did finally finish it, i felt it was worth the struggle,, go ahead
Grant Rodriguez-Mouland It is like a hypnotic potion that does not work on everyone. It will draw you in or leave you unchanged. If you are well into it and do not like it, it will not get much better. One can see that when it was published it spoke of things that had never been spoken in a new way of speaking, it was destined to take off. As a reader of primarily non-fiction I was modestly enchanted by it. I finished it because I wanted to experience it, not because I was drawn into it.
Mars The book gets duller and less interesting the farther in you go. The first half is mostly ok, but then you get a noticeable spiral into much poorer writing, less interesting story, and more repetition with every subsequent page, which might be why you're stalling out right around when it starts to get particularly bad.

imho you're not missing much.
Liliana Colunga I'm Mexican, and I don't get it!! I finished the book but I had to push myself like a lot.
Elizabeth (Liz) Quite honestly, I think it is unnecessarily long! I lost interest in the comings and goings of the family about 1/2 way through but had spend too many hours of my life already not to see it through to the finish line.
Robert never liked this book, it makes latin america look like a cold dark dump.
Nicoll The same thing happened to me when I was reading it, it took me months to read the whole book bc I just couldn't engage with it. I feel like there are better books by Garcia Marquez, maybe you would like more Chronicle of a Death Foretold or The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor.
itsmelulutiii no, me to, i need three times for understanding this family in the novel. And i was like "can i finish this book immediately, ?" i feel so boring but i can leave this book cause I'm so curious.
Andras Cser Don't struggle. Drop it if you don't like it and read something else.

I personally want to read it.

A few things that keep me going (I am still reading it):
* not expecting a plot, this book is about characters, culture and history imho. Don't try to write down what's happened so far. Characters leave and come back, don't worry about that either. I found that the more I wanted to understand the plot, the more confused I got, so I gave up on the plot.
* not getting hung up on the repeated character names. I am sure this is deliberate on Gabo's part. Repetition serves a purpose: it's really all the same people with minimal variations through generations, being *almost* the same (it's interesting to see minor differences which the author points out), making the same mistakes, etc.
* getting and referencing to a family tree all the time (I liked this one the most
* taking some notes on the characters (at least the ones that are in the family tree) as you read so that you can remember who did what
* trying to tie characters and their actions, relationships, etc. to the themes of the novel (if you can't figure out those themes, just read them on Sparknotes, etc.)
* enjoying the language and magical realism complete with colors, smells, etc.

* reading only 20-25 pages every day of the novel, so that you don't get saturated
* looking at pictures and videos of Aracataca, Colombia online (Macondo is based on Aracataca, Marquez' birthplace)
Maxine In a word: NO
In four words: It doesn't get better.
Paul Chetcuti It was a bit of a difficult read, but still enjoyable once you accepted the general style. Many wonderful moments, even if they didn't really add up to a satisfying overall conclusion. It is culturally significant and I am glad I read it, even with the low-level pain attached. Anytime I hear "magic realism," I immediately think of this book!
Justin Hardy I have felt the same way about this book. Did you ever finish the book?
Mare Honestly, after I started reading the book I understood you need to have roots of Latin American descent. I'm Mexican. The author is Colombian, but I understood what the book talked about due to my grandma's tales of her olden days that are very similar to what GGM tells in this book. It's like ppl who watch Coco for the first time and thinks "how cute, how awesome!" But they don't understand the ingrained memories, traditions, feelings that are so deeply rooted in the memories of those generations that keep passing generation through generation the knowledge, the stories, etc. With this, I don't say that this book is not for everybody, but you have to have that background so you can really appreciate the detail that the author put into this magical tale.
Phil I feel the same. heard how great it was. Bought the expensive Everyman Hardback version. Exactly half way through - I care NOTHING about the daft characters. Just seems to have no heart. More of a technical exercise by GGM than a reason to read it.
Some parts were OK, I liked the slightly off kilter other worldly mystical elements - but the core story seems to lack interest to me.
alexander craig I go through books like that, I think instinctively I pick not easy to read books out of sheer contempt at myself for not reading sooner in life when I had so much free time as opposed to now. They do say it is the participation, the struggle in life that makes us who we are. I enjoy the challenge and it is about discovering yourself.
Dean This book has no plot.
J Smith This is easily one of the best books I had ever read.

I then immediately had a go at another of Marquez's books (The General and his Labyrinth) and was unfortunately a bit disappointed after reading his other masterpiece.

But "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is truly exceptional. Loved the use of language and style even in translation. Loved the characters, the culture and the light humor even when it touched on very serious topics such as human stupidity and brutality and death.
Greg Jeannine, just let the author tale his story. Listen. Don't interrupt, don't try to figure it out, just let go. I stumbled at first also, so I know what you mean.
David Leung This is an old comment but definitely in the same boat. Reading the responses to this comment, and I still feel the hesitation. The flow is fine, even in translation, I get the sense of the story-telling. It was magical at first, now I'm in the war periods. My trouble is, I can't ever remember the names of all the characters. Aramantha was biting her fingers? Jose who? What just happened to Rebecca? My head can't keep track of the narrative and that's where I'm stuck. I don't mind a story that has no definitive but the characters are forgettable and it's hard to keep in touch with the family.
Slim Mavas Sometimes it is a bit difficult to read translated books. I think a lot get lost into the translation, but you should give yourself the chance, it's a great, great novel. I suggest you to not read this book like you are in a competition. Read a bit everyday and write down a note of what you understand from your reading. It does not matter if is only one sentence. I promise you by the end you'll get it all.
Ishaq Hud I have never stressed myself to read a book like i did with this book. I know it's a classic and all. But one thing that stands out about it is that it is brilliant, though boring. you could feel the effort put forward by the author, its hard not to feel it.
But the characters were too much, too similar, too often misplaced in the story, just to be brought up in a subsequent chapter, and you will be struggling to remember who is who.
it seems the target of Garcia Marquez was not to write an interesting book, but an intelligent book. However, I think he could have easily done both.
Asha Malik I had read this more than half a couple of years ago and then gave up. I am trying to read it again now and I have managed to finish only a quarter of the book. Its quite hard to relate with the characters for me and even the story seems to be set in an era or place that I have no association with. But I guess thats the beauty of reading, right? I want to get through this book this time, though it'll take me a while since I am quite slow with it to be able to understand the writing. Hopefully, I will!
Toeknee Jeannine: it's OK. I get it. I have failed to read it three times. It wanders and drags. Go read his book, "Love in the Time of Cholera" instead. Beautiful language in both, but that one has a straight-line story and the same great writing style. To anyone who thinks I need to read it, I say, life's too short to force yourself to read something this long.
Anne Saturley I think you should tough it out to the end of the novel. I was glad I did, and I found that believe it or not, years later, parts of the book kept resonating with me. It's wonderful prose if you give it half a chance!
Tarinla Yue It seems most of the answers suggest we need a latin america background.. I'm an asian and reading a Chinese translation, perhaps that's one of the reason why I'm struggling too?
Igal Levy The question is why are you trying over and over? Are you expected to read it? Personally I enjoyed reading (many years ago) and may reread it again. It won't be the same experience twice, that much I'm sure. But maybe each of those times you tried were the wrong times.
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