Customer Review

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "100 years .." - it gives you all you need, August 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Cien Anos de Soledad (Paperback)
Having a soft corner for classification, one can classify everything. The books also can be classified. For example, into good and bad ones. In this case "100 Years of Solitude" is a good book. Or they can be classifies into great and good. Therefore "100 Years of Solitude" is considered a great book. Or into those, which got a Nobel Prize and those, which did not. Marques got Nobel Prize for his book "100 Years of Solitude". But to classify the contents of this book and to tell what is this book about...? it's next to impossible. It is about small town Macondo on the bank of the river, which runs its clear water in the white-stone polished bed. It's about the world of Latin America, quite a new world, that some things even do not have a name, and have to be pointed with the finger... About six generations of Buandia family... About love, loneliness and death. About endless cyclic recurrence and reiteration of love, loneliness and death. Reiteration, but already in other people, other characters, words and other life. In the life, which is impossible without love, loneliness and death. What amazes most in the book - is the great number of people, destinies and plots. Just imagine - the talented Shakespeare specialist made up his mind to summarize each Shakespeare play in one page. He has to carefully preserve grandeur, language, tragedy and humor. He selects two-three best quotations, unites the characters of all plays together as relatives or citizens of one town. He replaces castles and palaces by streets, where simple white houses sink in the heat under almond-trees for half a year, and for the rest of the year they sail in the rain like ships in an autumn sea. Replaces swords and man's sleeveless jackets by simple homemade clothes. Replaces crowded Europe by boundless selva, by poppy fields, where one can find the island of Spanish galleon and the Cordilleras, with peaks, buried in snow and clouds. The book might tuned out to be praise-worthy. But to make it similar to "100 Years of Solitude" it had to be saturated with unique rhythm and atmosphere of Latin America, as Marques did. One of his interview cited that the most difficult for him was to present the language of the novel. He had to tell this in such a manner, like his forefathers did: impassively, with absolute firm calmness, which can not be destroyed even if the world turns upside down. This fascination of impassivity in the face of joy and sorrow, impassivity, but not heartlessness, could not have appeared in Marques characters without any reason. It needed about 400 years of mixing blood of Spanish adventurer-conquistadors, which contained both European and Moorish blood, with Indian blood, which originated the art of patient waiting. Waiting, which is similar to many-hour immobility of condor soaring above the mountain canyons. It needed to happen mixing of risk of bullfights with ferocity of cockfights, mixing of Arabic and catholic styles of architecture in Spain, brought through calm and storm of the Atlantic, with the nature of Latin America, with jungles and salt sea winds. It needed to happen to give birth to an old man, which paid attention neither to ardent rose bushes, nor to spilled shine of sunset, and could answer the question of a stranger, which dared to break his loneliness: - What are you doing, colonel? - I am just sitting and waiting when coffin with my body will be carried by.
The novel "100 Years of Solitude" to some extend is written like a mirror. Marques looked into it and saw the town of his childhood, his granny, bustling about, and his grandpa, the veteran of the Civil war. Any reader of this book can look at himself in the mirror. In one of the pages he will see the reflection of his love, loneliness or death. But there is nothing sad in it. The life comes back again and again, but only Macondo will have been destroyed by hurricane and have been escaped from human memory. Those human generations, which are condemned to hundred years of loneliness, are not fated to appear on the Earth twice.
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