Like so many people I read this book because it is hailed as a classic of South American literature and the master work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The other draw for me was the magical realism element. In short, this novel recounts the lives of generations of a founding family of the isolated town of Macondo as well as its weird and wonderful visitors and ongoings.
While the writing was good enough to keep me going and the character details quite a work of art I can’t say I enjoyed this novel all that much. I can appreciate the writing and the work that went into creating these living breathing characters but the story was a bit boring and the magical realism element really was not all that present except for the one flying carpet incident.
You feel you should like the book and so throughout my reading I felt like I was really missing something. I kept thinking; “This is One Hundred Years of Solitude?” A lot of people mention the repetitive use of slight variations of just three names over generations of the family as annoying and confusing. I personally didn’t have trouble following the lineage and I came to think that the repetition of the names was a device to show the repeated nature of certain people within the family. What really did get to me in the end was the rampant incest of the family. I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. The book is quite well crafted so you really do think you’ve missed some hidden insight which was the case with the incest element for me.
I didn’t really enjoy One Hundred Years of Solitude but I am certainly not done with Marquez. He is without doubt a talented writer and I believe it is simply a matter of finding the right novel of his which I endeavour to do. I’d love to hear what others thought of this book.