One Hundred Years of Solitude One Hundred Years of Solitude question

Am I missing something other than the rest of the book that I haven't yet read?
Justin Justin Jul 08, 2018 09:31AM
Like my title implicates, am I missing that which constitutes this book as having remarkable literary qualities or am I right to suggest to like minded readers that it is very sub par for a Nobel Prize winning novel? I signed up for goodreads, solely to beckon this question. 100 YoS was loaned to me by a pal/associate (former Literature professor) who is enamered with "Magical Realism". I have previously read over a similar discussion on goodreads where the original poster who feigned the notion of completing the book was lambasted by fans who suggested he just didn't get "it". For the record I am still in the first quarter of the book, and my complaints are the following: it is more readable than some pynchon (in its randomness) but way less witty, the charecters are plain archetypes who are written about almost impersonally, and Marquez's prose is actually fairly dry and his plot both purposeless and unjustified in its description and continuity.

P.S. I forgot to mention that I prefer the first person narrative, while my literature-bud prefers third person narration. Hope this helps, thanks.

I think it's just a matter of you not liking or connecting to the writing style. I found the language to be absolutely beautiful, the imagery striking, and the characters ridiculous and funny. The book made me laugh a lot. This isn't a novel you should read for plot. There isn't a traditional story - there's no main conflict or character or anything like that. It's more slice of life and the family as a whole is the character. If you aren't into it the first quarter of the book I don't think you'll like the rest. The language and the characters (some really messed up, some whimsical, some wholly selfish or cruel, all with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies) is what makes this a masterpiece for me.

I very much enjoy Karl's response of "...the vibrancy of ideas is pretty incredible; it's basically overflowing with a wealth of wonder." I agree, but this was a gradual realization that I came to over the course of the book. In my opinion, there are definitely great "magical realism" nuggets throughout that allow for a clever way to discuss life and human nature. However, this is also one that needs to be considered in it's totality because it’s span is the main point (see the title). A 1/4 of the way in, I probably would have agreed with Justin, but by the end I was loving it.

I picked it up because of its awards and reviews. I read A LOT, but just couldn't get into it. I prefer books that grab me early, and this one did not.

Marc (last edited Aug 13, 2018 12:13PM ) Aug 13, 2018 12:13PM   0 votes
I feel exactly how you do Justin. I managed to trudge through 2/3rds of the book before I called it quits for almost the same reasons (flat characters, dry prose, and directionlessness). It must be a matter of taste, because as contrasted with the other commenters here I also found the prose dry and boring. I have thoroughly enjoyed novels that were plotless and rambling if there was vibrant and witty prose (as I did with Gravity's Rainbow and Infinite Jest), but I personally didn't find any of that here.

100YOS is very much more of the same beyond where you've read too, just with different generations of the family. I remember starting to consciously hate the book right around a quarter in and only read further hoping something would change to make it all worth it. And that people I know who liked it liked it form the get go. I'd say cut your losses and move onto things you'll actually enjoy (that's what I wish I did).

It's definitely tedious at times, and lacking many likable characters (which I could see being intentional), but the prose and vibrancy of ideas is pretty incredible; it's basically overflowing with a wealth of wonder. That aspect was such a joy that it helped me get through stretches I was otherwise less than enamored with.

And yeah, of course reading beyond 1/4 of a book can reveal a lot about it & its intentions. That family are not meant to be particularly loved, I'd say, despite being the protagonists. But that said, this isn't a book that everyone is going to like or feel worth reading through all the way.

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