Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > One Hundred Years of Solitude deserves an eternity of solitude

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message 1: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments Please tell me someone hates this book as much as I do. I haven't read anything else by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but after being able to get through it halfway, I can't say I'm interested in finishing the book, or reading anything else by him.

message 2: by Regine (new)

Regine One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

message 3: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments *sigh* Alright. Can you try to change my mind? What did you enjoy about it?

message 4: by Regine (new)

Regine I will certainly try to change your mind.

So first of all, forget everything you've ever read about linear narratives. Garcia loves to jump around. Around, and Around. Second of all, all of the characters have the same names. There's usually a family tree in each edition of the book to help you with the confusion. Once you can wrap your mind around that, you are ready to read One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Now comes the hard part.. Why do I love this book? *spoilers ahead* I feel like anything I say about it won't do the book, or Marquez justice. If you have the book with you, open it up to a random page. Read the page. I promise you that no matter what page you open to, it will be filled with lush, beautiful imagery. I've read One Hundred Years of Solitude years ago, and there are moments that I will never ever forget: the Colonel facing the firing squad, Remedios the beauty ascending into heaven.

People complain about Marquez not having any character development. I disagree. He develops characters through straightforward words and actions. This may seem simple, but what I love is how he uses the names, and mannerisms of the characters to convey his theme: Mistakes repeated over and over again will be detrimental to the fate of people. And thus, the town of Macondo and the people who inhabit it are doomed from the beginning. Brilliant really.

Another thing that makes this book so unforgettable is how Marquez takes the magical, the unbelievable, and makes it so-- mundane. The ghosts, the predictions, an d the town itself-- things that we find fantastical have become an everyday occurrence in the book.

Anyway, at this point I'm just gushing. I'm not sure how well I've articulated my thoughts, all I can say is that I love this book. There are reviews about the book that are much better written than mine that might help you change your mind. But please, try getting into it again. It'w worth it.

message 5: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments Haha, it's ok to gush.
Hmm, you make a good point about the fanastical becoming mundane..however, I thought the repetition of names and mistakes was irritating.
But ok, I'll give it another chance. :)

message 6: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 19 comments As this is my favorite book, I had to take a peek when I saw this title listed.

I guess at one point or another we all will see one of our favorite books listed on this thread. One man's garbage is another man's treasure.

message 7: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments One Hundred Years of Solitude is and has remained my favorite book for nearly ten years now. It's very sad when people 'just don't get it.'

message 8: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 19 comments I first read it after it got the Nobel Peace prize for literature in 1982. Made me a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez for life.

Not everyone "will get it", but its OK. Im still happy when someone else discovers its beauty, but I will be the first to admit, it is a book not destined for everyone.

message 9: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments My only regret is that I am unable to read it in the original Spanish. I understand that GGM was very happy with the translation, so I'll have to take consolation in that.

message 10: by Manuel (last edited Aug 29, 2010 09:37PM) (new)

Manuel | 19 comments Yes,
Apparently his autobiography was so eagerly anticipated that (non Spanish speakers) people still lined up to buy the Spanish version because they didnt want to wait for the English version.

message 11: by Ketutar (new)

Ketutar Jensen | 40 comments Airi (You Look So Beautiful Tonight) wrote: "Please tell me someone hates this book as much as I do. "

Unfortunately, I like GGM, but you don't need to :-) As said, one man's treasure is another man's carbage. :-D My husband would need to tell you that he totally agrees with you :-D He rolled his eyes when he first heard that I like GGM. :-D "Oh, 100 years of solitude! It's HORRIBLE!!!"

First, the jumpy narration: so much unnecessary things in his books, storyline develops weird extensions, that are then not followed, the story jumps from one place to another, there are things that should be explained but are not, and things that shouldn't be explained but are... I don't mind jumpy narratives, but... it must make sense somehow. It just isn't ok to start telling the story of one man, who is rather interesting, and then after one chapter never even mention this man again in the whole book :-D

Then - the beauty, sensuality of Latin authors. Not all appreciate this. It is too "purple" for some people ;-)

Magical realism so usual for Latin authors is not everyone's cup of tea either. I happen to love it, my husband doesn't. He appreciates real social realism, which I hate. (Give me at least some sugar, please :-))

Then - his characters aren't very likable. There most certainly is character development, and just as with Toni Morrison, his people are more real than likable, but I like to like the people I read about :-D

In my mind it's not the least sad that people don't "get it". People are different, and the world is full of books of every kind, so there is something for everyone :-)
It would be sad, if this was the only book in the world, and people would have to like it, to like literature :-D

message 12: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments Ketutar - I like your point that it would be sad if it was the only book in the world. Though, I think that my sadness comes not from the fact that a person does not like or does not 'get' 100 years, but from the thought that they are miles away from me in that respect. It is almost a litmus test for me. 'If you understand/like this book as I do, then you will understand/like me as well.' Case in point, I asked both my daughter and my very good friend what their favorite book was, they both said, '100 Years of Solitude!'.

message 13: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments Haha, well, at least Keturar's husband agrees with me. But I have agreed to give it another chance, so I shall say no more on that.

message 14: by Regine (new)

Regine I think even if you don't like it, it's a book that has to be appreciated because of how it's redefined and modernized its genre. How many authors wouldn't have been successful, or wouldn't have written books if it wasn't for Gabriel Garcia Marquez ?

message 15: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments Ummmmmm...I don't know the answer, so I'm going to attempt to sound smart and say.."A LOT!" X)

Haha, but seriously, can I have some examples? :)

message 16: by Manuel (last edited Aug 30, 2010 10:01PM) (new)

Manuel | 19 comments Granted many people love this book (myself included) but lets not forget the purpose of this thread, it gives people who dont like it a chance to vent their reasons why they hate it.

I personally find it very interesting to discover why they dont like it.

message 17: by Regine (new)

Regine Airi (You Look So Beautiful Tonight) wrote: "Ummmmmm...I don't know the answer, so I'm going to attempt to sound smart and say.."A LOT!" X)

Haha, but seriously, can I have some examples? :)"

from the latin american boom you've got: Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, Mario Vargas Llosa

in the rest of the world: Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Jonath Safran Foer, Toni Morrison

Just think of what Anne Rice has done for the vampire genre-- I wouldn't coin her with "finding" or "inventing" the genre, but she did help to form the modern concept of vampire books. Not necessarily everyone who reads vampire books may like her, but you can appreciate how she's helped to redefine this genre.

message 18: by Ketutar (new)

Ketutar Jensen | 40 comments Regine wrote: "How many authors wouldn't have been successful, or wouldn't have written books if it wasn't for Gabriel Garcia Marquez?"

Airi wrote: "Haha, but seriously, can I have some examples? :)"

Gabriel García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize 1982. Isabel Allende had already written The House of the Spirits which made her famous.
He wrote the 100 years in 1967, when Isabel Allende was already writing and working on the editorial staff for Paula magazine. Isabel Allende would have written anyway.
Mario Vargas Llosa wrote already before GGM, and was probably a bigger influence to Gabriel than the other way around.
Salman Rushdie doesn't mention GGM as one of his literary influences, but he mentions Lewis Carroll, Mikhail Bulgakov and Jorge Luis Borges among others. All of these wrote Magical Realism before GGM did.
Now, I'm sure Arundhati Roy is more influenced by Salman Rushdie than GGM, Jonathan Safran Foer is most certainly influenced by a lot more authors than just GGM and so is Laura Esquivel.
Toni Morrison also wrote before even knowing Gabriel Garcia Marquez existed.

That the Western world knows GGM as the "father of Magical Realism", doesn't make him that. He isn't even the father of Latin American Magical Realism.
We have among others Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Rulfo, Juan José Arreola and Alejo Carpentier.

Not to minimize GGM, but not to maximize him beyond his true significance either. He has been called the most influential author of the 20th century, though I wonder why... He hasn't written that much, and what he writes is not to everyone's taste.

He hasn't in any way influenced my opinions on anything, nor inspired me to do something. To me he is pure entertaining storyteller. There are thousands of authors who do that, some better than GGM.
All the authors read a lot, a lot of different books, and get influenced by them. Frankly, I don't remember any author saying that he/she wouldn't be writing if GGM didn't exist or hadn't written "100 years of solitude". I haven't either read about the publishers that they wouldn't have published or translated a book except that it fit the GGM fever. (Frankly, I don't even know of GGM fever. I know that he is mentioned when people talk about Magical Realism, but when thinking about the issue more, there were others before him writing Magical Realism.) I suppose there are some of those, as the publishers must think of that the books they publish get sold, but there is not "a lot of authors who wouldn't have been successful or wouldn't have written without GGM".

P.S. Stephenie Meyer hasn't read Anne Rice, and 90% of Twilight fans don't read anything but Twilight. Naturally, one cannot be not influenced by the modern world phenomenons, and Anne Rice is a huge influence in the Vampire world. Nevertheless, I cannot see GGM as such an influence.

message 19: by Ketutar (new)

Ketutar Jensen | 40 comments Peridot wrote: "Ketutar - I think that my sadness comes not from the fact that a person does not like or does not 'get' 100 years, but from the thought that they are miles away from me in that respect."

I can understand that. :-)
But, as you know, I am married to a man whose taste in literature is somewhat different to mine. He doesn't "get" Magical Realism, I don't "get" Social Realism. He's Jewish, I'm Pagan, he's not mystic, I am, he's emotional, I'm intellectual, he loves catastrophe movies, I don't, I hate garlic, mushrooms and seafood, he likes them - your litmus test would have said "absolutely not!" :-)

I think we have a good marriage. We agree on the important things, we have the same values and there is respect and tolerance of the differences. :-)

It's not that he doesn't get what GGM is saying, it's that he doesn't appreciate the way GGM says it. ;-)

message 20: by Regine (last edited Aug 31, 2010 03:28PM) (new)

Regine This is my answer for now because i am 2 minutes from going to work: EDIT *tears* I had just finished editing my original and my internet just crashed!

I still would have to disagree with you. A lot of these books wouldn't have been successful if not for the success of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Every magical realist book that is read, especially from Latin America will always be compared to One Hundred Years just because of the style and content of the book. You're correct that Marquez wasn't the first author to write magical realism novels, but he certainly can be credited for popularizing it.

Isabel Allende published "House of Spirits in 1982" and GGM wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967. No, he didn't win the Nobel Prize in 1982, but he had won many other book awards before hand. By the time HOS was published, OHYOS had been in circulation for over 15 years. There are so many similiarities that it's hard to ignore Marquez's influence. In fact, if you go and read reviews for HOS, it would be hard to find ones that don't mention GGM or OHYOS.

And ahh, Salman Rushdie, I love him. He may not cite Gabriel Garcia Marquez as being a direct influence to his work, but if you've ever read Midnight's Children (published in 1981), again so many similiarities that are just hard to ignore: purple prose, non-linear narrative,the chronicles of doomed families, twins switched at birth, lush jungle scenery, and men disappearing into dust. Very reminiscent of OHYOS.

No, One Hundred Years of Solitude didn't make me see the world in a different way. I didn't start eating mud, become an alchemist, or tie myself to a tree, but it gave me a deeper appreciation of literature, and it made me explore magical realism further.

We can agree to disagree. It's clear that you will be unable to change my mind, as I will most likely be unable to change yours. That's coo'.

And P.S. according to Meyer, she did read Interview With The Vampire. It was actually the only vampire book the Stephanie Meyer has ever read. (Maybe she should have read more to find out they don't sparkle). I wasn't just referencing Twilight fans, but horror fans that enjoy the vampire genre.

Also, you are lucky that your husband reads books. My soon-to-be reads snowboarding magazines. But heh-- that's love.

message 21: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments "Granted many people love this book (myself included) but lets not forget the purpose of this thread, it gives people who dont like it a chance to vent their reasons why they hate it.

I personally find it very interesting to discover why they dont like it."

Manuel - I guess there is only one person who doesn't like it - Airi! No one else seems to be speaking up!

message 22: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments I stand corrected. Go to the 'Loathed Authors' section under GGM. Lots of haters there.

message 23: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments Haha, it's alright. I learned a lot from posting my little hate speech of this book: I've never heard the terms "purple prose" or "magical realism" before. O_o I'll have to research more into that.
But yes, maybe I shall persue the hate comments, just to relish it, and have part of me say "SEE?! I was justified!!" XD

message 24: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments Yes, purple prose was new to me too.

message 25: by Ketutar (new)

Ketutar Jensen | 40 comments Regine wrote: "I had just finished editing my original and my internet just crashed!"

Oh NO! You have my sympathy. :-( I hate when that happens.

Regine wrote: "There are so many similiarities that it's hard to ignore Marquez's influence."
And how much of it is South American influence? GGM didn't come from nothing either.

I don't say Isabel Allende hasn't been influenced by GGM, because I don't know, but I know a lot of people who haven't read Gabriel but has read Isabel. Also, my husband loves Isabel Allende, but cannot stand GGM ;-)

I have read Midnight's Children and I never came to think about Marquez... Rushdie has his own style very different from Marquez, more coherent and very Indian... in fact, if I would compare Rushdie to another author, I would choose John Irving. Gabriel is very, very special.

I love fairytales and fantasy. My favorite books as a child were those that told about witches, time travel, ghosts and other such "magical" phenomenon. When I grew up, I started reading the same kind of books written for adults. One of my first one's was John Steinbeck and To a God Unknown... published 1933... I wonder if you would see similarities with 100 years of solitude and that one... ;-)

I agree with you that I started reading the South American literature thanks to GGM, and probably others did too, and I think reading South American literature and Russian literature were the first to make me realize how much the culture influences the literature and language - or the other way around :-D There is a very typical South American tone in books written by South Americans - and there is very much of the same in the other side of the ocean, in Spain and Portugal... still magical, but there is a certain yearn for freedom in Americas that doesn't exist in Europe... a certain... longing for roots, perhaps? Nevertheless, that put GGM in the long line of South American literature, where everyone was influenced by those who came before and influenced those who came after. Just as little as one can say everything Finnish is influenced by the great Finnish authors, or Kalevala, one can say that everything South American is influenced by GGM. I'm sure there is SOME influence, but I still believe Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende stand on their own and would have been the success they are with or without GGM.

Of course we can agree to disagree :-) I am not trying to make you change your mind, but trying to support Airi - and possibly others who don't like GGM and feel they should, because of things like what you say. (Not saying that you are running over anyone, just that you love GGM so much you get very convincing :-D It might be hard to keep one's own opinion, and that would end only in people asking themselves "what did I ever see in this?")

I could get lyrical over Astrid Lindgren, and her enormous significance in the status and treatment of children, but there are people who don't even know who she was :-D Those people still manage to be compassionate towards children and condemn spanking as child abuse, even though they have never read a word written by Astrid :-D
So, perhaps there are people who can still today read, write and appreciate Magical Realism without even knowing GGM exists...

I must have read other interviews concerning Stephenie... In the interviews I have read she is said to say that she deliberately didn't read anything to be able to create her own mythology or something. Interesting...
On the other hand, one can wonder how much she was influenced by it. Sparkling "vegetarian" vampires...

How much do you think Anne Rice was influenced by Barnabas from Dark Shadows and other "feeling" vampires with conscience of the 60's? In one of the last Dracula movies I saw Dracula was not killed by light or stick through heart, but sort of a memories from a Christian mass and angelic presence in an old chapel ruins... Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire fits the existing ideas of compassionate vampires of late 60's and early 70's... It is an interesting thought, how much of history is constructed afterward to fit our KNOWLEDGE of things... I mean, Anne Rice's influence is obvious, but is it really Anne Rice's influence, or is she the only one we today are aware of? If she is only one of many who had the same ideas, but hers is the only thing we remember, are they her ideas and is it really she who changed the vampire world?

message 26: by Regine (last edited Sep 01, 2010 04:49PM) (new)

Regine Ahh! I'm sorry if I ever came across as running anyone down... I don't mean to. I'm just very passionate about this book, and GGM. I tend to gush over it. lol.

You are actually one of the first people I've ever read to describe Rushdie as "coherent". Usually, when I read a critique about Rushdie, it's because he needs to "Get to the point", or "he's too long winded." But, I agree with you, his prose is a lot less embellished than Marquez. And I still see some similiarities between the two. I love Rushdie, but i feel "meh" about John Irving.

And while I completely agree that Marquez didn't "invent" or "find" magical realism, he played a huge hand in popularizing what we know now as magical realism, and he certainly did help in putting Latin America on the literary map. I think that the critical reception of OHYOS in North America opened avenues for authors like Allende and Esquivel. So would they be famous if not for GGM? I still say no.

I'm sure that you are right about Anne Rice. To me there is no such thing as an "original" idea, only influence. Evolution as opposed to revolution, as they say. Without a doubt she was influenced by authors from other decades, it was her work that helped to escalate vampire literature to what it is today. Many of my peers who enjoy vampire lit (I'm not talking about vampire romance, but the other darker stuff), always cite Anne Rice--whether they enjoy her work or not.

But then again, my senior year politics teacher use to say, "The most biased place in the world is inside a history text book".

message 27: by Lushbug (new)

Lushbug read this book years ago and it was an ordeal!!! everone had the same names and i barely understood what was going on! perhaps im just dim but by the end of it i was more confused than when i had started it. Needless to say it went straight to the local charity shop..probably still sat there looking intimidating!

message 28: by Janet (new)

Janet I agree with Lushbug...this was an ordeal for me also. I have liked other works by Marquez, but this family saga and it's magical realism is not included. It is the September book read for my local library group, which included 4 other people who had read it and shared my opinion. I can't/won't re-read it, but I did pick up the Cliff notes to refresh my memory for the meeting.

message 29: by Airi (new)

Airi  (master-of-nothing) | 12 comments HALLEJUAH!! I'm not alone!! :D

message 30: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 1 comments Airi, I have been calling it "One Hundred Years of Snoritude" for years. (It drives my Mom crazy. She loves this book.) I have read Marquez in Spanish and in English, and I have gone back to this particular book after more than a decade to see if I would like it more now that I've grown and changed. Alas, I *still* think it's a snooze fest. I didn't mind the repetition of the names, and I don't mind reading books that challenge me. I just found this one to be awfully, awfully dull from beginning to end. And, unfortunately for those who love the book, it is simply not possible to persuade someone to enjoy a writing style that they do not enjoy. If the book doesn't persuade you by itself (and it sure didn't persuade me) then its fans won't be able to. Everything that everyone else is describing as "beautiful writing" just makes me want to gag or yawn. I'm sure it deserves all the praise it's getting. I am capable of seeing a book's merits even though I don't personally enjoy reading it, and I get why this book is held in such high esteem. I really do. But, understanding intellectually why it's good has not helped me to enjoy it. You either connect with a book or you don't. I didn't. I probably never will. That's okay, because now I know there is someone else out there (you) who feels the same, and I don't have to feel ashamed of not liking this book anymore. Thanks for the validation.

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