One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I tried reading this novel in my twenties, at the time I was working at a local Waldenbooks (now defunct chain of stores) and had access to a huge selection of titles that I could borrow without buying. Tried and tried and tried but never got through it. Maybe I was too young to understand the message, too immature to grasp the poetic beauty hidden in the text.
Fast forward about 25 years, I am clearly older and somewhat wiser and more mature, but alas I am still clueless as to the greatness of this book. Everywhere I look online I find these mind blowing descriptions of the masterpiece that is OHYOS.
My take of it; the plot is too complicated, I can never find true North so to speak. Too many characters (so many of them have the same name) and too few of them come across as real people. I have certainly never met anyone that resembles any of these characters. Lots of war scenes, personal vendettas, complicated politics and the occasional (and repulsive) incestuous sex scenes; an interminable story that I just can’t finish and have no interest to continue trying.
A book for academics? I don’t know. I read a collection of his short stories at about the same time I first tried reading this one and absolutely loved it. I think he said more about the human condition in “No one writes the Colonel” and gave us a real life character in that short piece than in 450 pages of OHYOS.
Well, the good news is I get to move on to my next book. Hello New Zealand!