Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
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bookshelves: postcolonial, 3-star-reads, magical-realism
Read 2 times. Last read January 15, 2018.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is an absolute ground-breaking book; it is intelligent, creative and full of powerful anecdotal wisdom. It deservedly won the noble prize for literature. But how enjoyable is it? How readable is it?

Gabriel García Márquez, plays around with reality itself; he plays around with the limitations of fiction; he uses elements of magic, of the fantastic, to give voice to things that could never be said quite as effectively in normal terms: he breaks through realism and establishes his own original style. He did nothing short of launching a new mode of literary address: magical realism. He wasn’t the first writer to do such a thing, though his writing was the first to attract criticism which, in effect, allowed for it to be defined and recognised.

For me, the strongest element of the book resides in its inherent pessimism, with its unfortunate understanding that history can (and will) repeat itself. All good intentions go awry, indeed, One Hundred Years of Solitude challenges the progress (or lack thereof) of society. It creates a self-contained history in its isolated framework, which, arguably, reflects the nature of mankind or, at least, it echoes Columbian history with its liberal history in the face of imperialism. No matter how much we want to change the world (or how much we believe in a revolution or a new political ideal) these good intentions often become warped when faced with the horrors of war and bloodshed. Nothing really changes.

There’s no denying the success of Márquez’s epic; there’s no denying its ingenuity. I really enjoyed parts of the novel but it was awfully difficult to read, uncomfortably so. The prose is extremely loose and free flowing to the point where it feels like thought; it’s like a torrent of verbal diarrhoea that feels like it will never end. Characters die, eerily similar characters take their place within the story and the narrative continues until the well has completely run dry of any actual life. It is pushed so terribly far, one hundred years to be precise.

And that’s my biggest problem. I’m a sentimentalist. I like to feel when I read. I like to be moved either to anger or excitement. I want to invest in the characters. I want to care about their lives and I want to be provoked by their actions. Márquez’s approach meant that this was impossible to do so. It’s a huge story, told in just a few hundred pages. It’s sweeps across the lives of the characters, some exceedingly important characters in the story are introduced and die a very short time after to establish the sheer futility of human existence and effort Márquez tried to demonstrate.

Márquez writes against European tradition and the legacy of colonialism; he creates something totally new, which is becoming increasingly hard to do. Although I do appreciate this novel, I did not enjoy reading it as much as I could have done.

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Reading Progress

December 31, 2017 – Shelved
December 31, 2017 – Shelved as: postcolonial
January 1, 2018 – Started Reading
January 15, 2018 – Started Reading
January 15, 2018 – Shelved as: 3-star-reads
January 15, 2018 – Shelved as: magical-realism
January 15, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 15, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Dave (new)

Dave An amazing book


message 2: by Paul (new) - rated it 1 star

Paul Really couldn't get along with this. Hope you enjoy it


message 3: by Selena (new)

Selena Tried to read it once upon a time. Still planning on revisiting it one day. Good luck!


Jakk Makk I couldn't take the unwavering tension, but I sensed some potential. Good luck!


Kelly Oh, snap!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Kelly wrote: "Oh, snap!"

race you! :D


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Paul wrote: "Really couldn't get along with this. Hope you enjoy it"

that's a shame, I like it so far though it is very early days.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon DNF with Jack Mack wrote: "I couldn't take the unwavering tension, but I sensed some potential. Good luck!"

Selena wrote: "Tried to read it once upon a time. Still planning on revisiting it one day. Good luck!"

thank you :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Dave wrote: "An amazing book"

i've heard many say the same, hopefully I will repeat it to.


Puneet Gautam This book is what defines the best of writing. Amazingly imaginiative and thoroughly engrossing book.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Puneet wrote: "This book is what defines the best of writing. Amazingly imaginiative and thoroughly engrossing book."

indeed, i'm feeling the pull very early on! :D


Kelly Haha, I don't fancy my chances at winning but okay!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Kelly wrote: "Haha, I don't fancy my chances at winning but okay!"

it takes me a while to get through a book- i usually have 7-10 on the go at any one time! :D


Kelly How do you do that! XD Well I thought it was going to take me a while because I wasn't enjoying it much at first, but I'm getting into it now.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Kelly wrote: "How do you do that! XD Well I thought it was going to take me a while because I wasn't enjoying it much at first, but I'm getting into it now."

it takes a while, it picked up for me when Arcadio became a dictator.


Edward I loved reading this a lot more than you did, Sean, but your review is fair and honest.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Edward wrote: "I loved reading this a lot more than you did, Sean, but your review is fair and honest."

Thank you, I did see the moments of greatness but just didn't like the reading process.


Sarahmarsh85 . your review is spot on, exactly how i felt (but couldnt have expressed it as well!)


Janet Aileen Many people think this is a wonderful book. It was an unpleasant struggle for me to read.


message 20: by Roshan (new) - added it

Roshan Singh The book won the Nobel or the author?


message 21: by Georgie (new) - added it

Georgie I’ve attempted this book several times and found the narrative style intolerable so I agree with you there ... maybe one day I’ll actually finish it and have a more positive impression


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Roshan wrote: "The book won the Nobel or the author?"

well the author did of course.......because of this book.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Janet wrote: "Many people think this is a wonderful book. It was an unpleasant struggle for me to read."

agreed. strong message but a slog!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Georgie wrote: "I’ve attempted this book several times and found the narrative style intolerable so I agree with you there ... maybe one day I’ll actually finish it and have a more positive impression"

good luck! once you get used to the style it does become a little easier, took me a few chapters though.


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