Let’s try to continue the “Time and Space" theme and choose "One hundred years of solitude" as the book of the month.
The book, which was written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and first published in 1967, tells us the story of seven generations of one family living in a secluded town, called Macondo, wich has very little contact with the outside world.
According to Wikipedia:
"Founding patriarch José Arcadio Buendía believes Macondo to be surrounded by water, and from that island, he invents the world according to his perceptions. Soon after its foundation, Macondo becomes a town frequented by unusual and extraordinary events that involve the generations of the Buendía family, who are unable or unwilling to escape their periodic (mostly) self-inflicted misfortunes."
As you can guess, it’s quite difficult to keep everything in mind and not to lost the narrative threads, especially not to confuse the characters’ names. However, if you read it consciously and leisurely, you’ll be ok.
Another imporatnt thing is that all the events taking place in Macondo are usually seen as a metaphor to Colombian history:
"As a metaphoric, the critical interpretation of Colombian history, from foundation to contemporary nation, One Hundred Years of Solitude presents different national myths through the story of the Buendia Family, whose spirit of adventure places them amidst the important actions of Colombian historical events…"
As regards style, it is often classified as magic realism:
"Technically, use of particular historical events and characters narratively renders One Hundred Years of Solitude an exemplary work of magical realism, wherein the novel compresses centuries of cause and effect whilst telling an interesting story.
The historical reality of Latin American countries is represented as the recurring fantastical world of Macondo. The desire for change and progress exists in Macondo as in the countries of Latin America; however, the story’s temporal cycles symbolize the national tendency for repeating history.”
“the world of One Hundred Years of Solitude is a place where beliefs and metaphors become forms of fact, and where more ordinary facts become uncertain”
“In One Hundred Years of Solitude myth and history overlap. The myth acts as a vehicle to transmit history to the reader. […] What is real and what is fiction are indistinguishable.”
“Throughout the novel, García Márquez is said to have a gift for blending the everyday with the miraculous, the historical with the fabulous, and psychological realism with surreal flights of fancy.”
etc, etc, etc
I should say that I really liked the style and how the book is written because Marquez does really create a new kind of reality where fiction and facts are blended. What’s more, he does it beautifully. It’s just enjoyable to read and to feel yourself being engaged in the process. I wasn’t just watching, but I was there with the protagonists while reading.
However, the book is sad, and not in a good way.
You know, there are books that are sad in a nice way. Like, they make you cry, but at the end everything is allright and everyone is happy. Even though someone is dead or going to die or love is lost, there is still hope. They say: look, we have problems, but if you accept them you’ll be granted with positiveness (for example, most of the YA books).
By contrast, One Hundred Years of Solitude is hopeless. It’s just sad. I didn’t cry at all while reading it, which is rather weird because I love crying (shout out to SOML). Towards the end I was just desperate. No seriously. Why do these people get so much unhappiness when they don’t deserve it?
But Marquez is uncompromising. What do you want? it’s realism (even though it’s magical). Let’s face it, we all live in unhappiness and deserve it, in a way…
All in all, the book is amazing and i definitely recommend it, but I want to warn you: be ready to feel hopeless and lost. Prepare yourself before reading.