With the busyness of life, it’s been a while since I’ve read a novel much more than 300 pages. My attention span hardly lasts longer than that most days. I think this is why I struggled to complete Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” But this book caught my attention with its intriguing description (and of course the Oprah’s Book Club sticker on the front; how can you at least not pick it up?).
I neither loved nor hated this tale of the seven generations of the Buendia family and the city of Macondo which the family’s patriarch, Jose Arcadio Buendia, founds. Reading this book was like going on a treasure hunt. Mystical stories like that of the insomniac plague, the strange earth-eating, wall-scratching behaviours of Rebecca, or the appearance of the ghosts of family members long dead were surprising and riveting. In between these stories, I plodded along observing the action but not overly excited by it. I found myself bored sometimes in these points of low action, waiting anxiously for the next blip of excitement to arise.
Each member of the Buendia family held quirks and idiosyncrasies that made each character’s story thrilling and tragic in a unique way, each one filled with a new and extreme kind of passion: anger, love, hatred, sorrow, self-loathing. Often times, the trials faced by the Buendia’s are self-inflicted or are the manifestations of self-prophecy. In a way, their extremity makes them each frustrating and unbearable, however it’s impossible to look away or to put away their stories. I had to come back to this novel to find out what on Earth could possibly happen next.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” may make it off my bookshelf again in a few years time when the plot has eluded me and I’m in need of something to read, but I’m not overly enthusiastic about picking it up again any time soon. For now, I’ll let the plot sit with me awhile.