Top critical review
on February 2, 2016
I only finished this book last night, and this seems like the kind of book that needs a little while to settle. I definitely enjoyed it, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read it in a different setting. For me, this is the kind of book I want to read on a summer vacation, laying out in the sunshine while I let these magical words slip inside of me.
I did think the book was very dense, and there was a lot happening. While I appreciated the names, and the fact that the name repetition was a crucial part of the story, I found myself getting confused more than I'd like to admit. I felt like I was flipping to the family tree printed at the beginning of my book every other page to confirm that the Aureliano being mentioned was who I thought he was. I think part of my confusion, and part of why I mentioned that I think I would have enjoyed this book more in a different setting, was that I just read too quickly. I'm a pretty fast reader, but this is one of those books I think you really need to take your time with. There is so much nuance and quite a lot of layering, and it's hard to catch all the meaning if you don't really read every word.
That being said, I really did enjoy the book. I thought the Buendía family was great, and I loved how distinct each member was, even when sharing family characteristics. Amaranta's bitterness, Ursula's determination, Remedios and her beauty and simplicity, the final Aureliano and his singular passions. The book covers a lot of time, and a lot happens in the book. It was fascinating to see a family rise and fall over the course of it's pages. Not to mention, I am a huge fan of magical realism, so I thought the concept of Macondo, and all of the interwoven mysticism was super cool and beautifully presented.
Side note- I think my favorite part of the whole book is when Fernanda has her mini melt-down during the rains when her husband won't go out to get more food and rants for like 3 pages stream-of-consciousness style about all that this family has put her through. I was actually laughing out loud, it was so ridiculous.
I'm definitely still processing, so I don't think my thoughts are quite as complete as they could be, but I thought it was a fascinating read.