Top positive review
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One for the ages!
on May 5, 2014
One Hundred Years of Solitude really isn't as difficult or confusing as some reviews make it seem. People make it seem like it's impossible to get through so many repeating names, but even when the characters share a name, almost every single character (until the last generation--and by that point the first characters are long gone so that it wasn't really confusing) has a unique name. How is that confusing? And anyway, it doesn't take too many chapters or a genius to figure out they all share the same names for a reason. Also, I must say, if you don't like the first 50-100 pages, you probably aren't going to like the rest of the book. It stays like that... Plus, the first Jose Arcadio Buendia is one of the more entertaining characters in the book, in my opinion. But, I think Aureliano Segundo and Remedios The Beauty were the highlights in this book. I was cracking up throughout their scenes.
Although I feel I missed a lot about what was going on symbolically whilst reading (mostly a lot of the religious stuff), I still found this book to be extremely enjoyable. It's inspiring and surreal, whimsical, funny and sad--and it all causes a person to feel very introspective, because it blends so many aspects of what makes up a person's life. I looked up some of the themes and motifs after reading to make sure I caught everything, and I prefer many of my own interpretations. And I think Gabriel Garcia Marquez meant to write it in a way that was a more personal experience. At the end notes, he mentions in an interview how he wanted to capture the way an abuela tells stories to her grandchildren-- and I got that vibe the whole time. And a lot of times, the surreal in crazy old latin american stories is what makes you remember the life lessons behind the story. And I feel like that's what happened here.
But again, I feel like most people I know wouldn't like this book, and I can see where they're coming from. It definitely isn't for everyone. And I must stress that that's not coming from a pretentious place. His writing style will be frustrating to many readers I'd presume, because it's really just incredibly unique. But, if you can get past the style (long paragraphs, little fluctuation in narration, mentioning things that haven't really happened yet, or no main protagonist... etc) and the repetition of names, it really isn't super complicated or anything.
It isn't perfect, but It's great. And even though I started this review planning to give it four stars, after writing it--I think it's an important enough, and intricately weaved enough, and a unique enough a piece to warrant a 5-star from this fella.