Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez - Book Review #73

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Márquez

One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the veracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel García Márquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.

Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.
From goodreads.com

People live and bear the same names - and different, almost carnival, masks. Who is to distinguish the hero from a traitor, and whore - from a saint? Differences in the lost world, the town of Macondo are very relative. For it has long been since the days’ connecting thread has been broken. And no one is able to repair it. No mortals. Neither fate. No God ...

This is a case where the phenomenon of local Latin American culture absorbs all the accumulated wealth of mankind and the diversity of ideas, meanings, images, moreover, all the silk threads of fantasy, gracefully bending and surrealistically transforming, interwoven into the fabric of a wonderful novel, polychrome design, where everyone (estimating objectively and without bias) finds for himself something similar, for the time being silently and invisibly hiding in the depths and the hiding-places of human nature. Allusions and clarity, illusion and harsh reality of the world, light and shadow, half-tints, sounds ringing in the void, inexorable withdrawal and stuffily, absurdity and meaning, naive charm and poignant melancholy for enchantment; and frustration, failure and death, a single chain of Objective Reality and Nothing as no-solution, no-outer, but inevitable.

This work can be read as a philosophical treatise, and as a musical score, it sometimes deliberate triviality is built in harmony and filled with meanings. What meanings? – Decide for yourself. And the loneliness, the eternal journey, relentless pain, tortuous path in the dark with only a single light in the hand (or rather in the heart) - hope. Such is life in its simplicity and complexity, charm and ugliness.

These words intended only to express my immense gratitude, admiration and respect for the novel that opened new horizons of the world literature and, more generally, culture, and to the wonderful author, who once wrote it, in the privacy of a distant country of Colombia, under the vault of the immense sky and under the eternal roar of the waves.


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