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review 2019-04-13 19:31
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez,Gregory Rabassa

While this book is one the surface a novel about a family, it is hard to shake the idea that the book is also about the power of reading.  In some ways, the story is about the power of the reader to create life, to give the characters life beyond what the writer of the story can do.  It is important that the book starts and ends with a sense of memory because in many ways that is what reading is.


                The history of the Buendia family is strange, wonderful, and horrifying.  It involves numerous children, possible saints, lovely women, mistresses and out of wedlock births.  The family lives in a village that is both cut off when the world and part of it.  It is the solitude, the smallness of place that time passes over.  There is a sense of the story and the family reaching end and this is like a book, just like how a story will change depending on who is reading the book, or even how they feel that day.


                In part this is because one of themes is the conflict between love and solitude, which in many ways what reading is about.  It is in many cases, a solitary pursuit, but it is also one that makes people more empathic in general, studies prove this.  So, it is a solitary pursuit that has ramifications when it comes to love.


                The repetitive use of names does add to the magic realism, but it also makes some of the characters too similar, which does seem to be in part the point.  The women, too, with a few expectations fall into the virgin/whore choice, which is usually the most common stories for women in works by men.

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review 2019-03-17 01:40
Short but Sharply Provocative Masterpiece!
Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel Garcia Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, following “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, which was published the year before. This short novella (122 pages) was generally lauded as a masterpiece and translated from the original Spanish, it is clearly a complex literary exploration of individual and collectively-held values and the moral standards underpinning them.

Set in a small, diverse Caribbean community, the opening sentence immediately peaks the readers curiosity:–
“On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.”

Notwithstanding the proximity of ‘the church’ and the attendant moral authority, the most heinous crime is about to be perpetrated. The plot goes on to test the case for an ‘honour killing’, in undermining this most fundamental of commandments and the complicity of individuals and society in rationalizing the sacrifice of an ostensibly innocent man. In spite of the subsequent handwringing, the acceptance of the concept of dishonouring an individual, a family, a community, breathes life into a chain of reactions and responses, which culminate in a barbaric, unchecked thirst for revenge, on behalf of victims, apparently unable to withstand the expectation of social norms. And there are a series of ‘victims’ and consciences to be expiated.

However, the ambiguities discovered through the author’s examination of the circumstances and subsequent reflections seventeen years later give credence to the possibility of fate, yet the certainty that the killing solved nothing and surely failed to salvage any sense of honour.

This book is provocative and deliberately harrowing in its dissection of a community through the lens of a murder enquiry. Moreover, it questions our capacity for independence within a human hive.

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review 2018-12-02 13:04
Hell on Earth: "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by by Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez,Gregory Rabassa

(Original Review, 1981-02-27)

I love One Hundred Years of Solitude, in my top three books. When I first read it, it was quite confusing, with all the names the same - and so sad and funny. Not to skip ahead, but I still remember that none of it really made sense until I read the very last page - and then I understood everything in a kind of revelation - I'd never had that feeling before nor since with any other book, and that is why I think it has stuck with me all these years. Sometimes, if I see it in a book store, I just read the last page - but it's never the same.




If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-08-26 03:11
One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Audio) - Gabriel García Márquez,John Lee

I finally finished this!  I took forever for multiple reasons.  First--I started and restarted probably four or five times, because I was quickly finding myself lost as to what was happening.  After a while, I just went with it--though also checked out the text version to go back and forth.  I also was finding myself going for longer periods between listening sessions and having shorter sessions--my running volume has gone way down, and most of my audio "reading" has tended to happen during runs.  (Plus walking to the office from the parking lot in the morning and walking during lunch.)  There was a period where I was having headphone problems, and there were times when I just wasn't in the mood for this book.


It's not the book's fault!  It's Garcia Marquez--it's captivating.  But I had to be in the right headspace for it, and I did get there.


The book chronicles seven generations of the family of Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran.  Jose Arcadio Buendia is the founder of the village of Macondo in Columbia.  Jose Arcadio and Ursula are first cousins, which causes her to fear that their children will be born with tails (of pigs).  They are not, but much later in their line (after some accidental and worse inbreeding), eventually one of their descendants does appear with a tail like that.


The family through its many generations keeps repeating the names Jose Arcadio and Aureliano for their male children.  Remedios and Amaranta are favored names for the girls.  The repetition of names reinforces the cyclical nature of time expressed in the narrative.  Political upheavals, wars, and economic cycles parallel historical events in Columbia.  The characters casually interact with ghosts and some of the characters can deliver prophecies.


One of my favorite quotes:  


"The years nowadays don't pass the way the old ones used to," [Ursula] would say, feeling that everyday reality was slipping through her hands,  In the past, she thought, children took a long time to grow up.


Boy, can I relate!

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text 2018-05-14 12:18
Bout of Books
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez,Edith Grossman
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles - Haruki Murakami

Bout of Books begins today and these are the three books I'm attempting to read/listen to/finish.


I started the audio version of The Remains of the Day earlier while I was getting ready to go out. It's something I've wanted to read for so long and I'm excited about.


I also started Love in the Time of Cholera last week, so I took a note of what page I started with today and will add it to my final tally.


Lastly, I've got The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, which I started on Saturday. I was originally thinking of picking short books for Bout of Books so I could get through as many as possible, but I then I thought, why not just keep a page count instead? Plus, The Remains of the Day is a short book and I've already read almost half of Love in the Time of Cholera, so I think I'll get through those two. It's just the Murakami that I think I might struggle with as it's 663 pages! I'll give it a try, anyway, and in the unlikely event that I finish all three books, I plan to start Hannah Kent's most recent book, The Good People.


The challenge today is to introduce myself in six words today, so here it is: I'm Holly, I'm Irish, I write.

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