I first read this book about 10 years ago in a neighborhood book club I belonged to. Of the group of about 10 people, 8 hated it and only 2 loved it. No one was indifferent. Just because I gave this book a 5-star rating doesn't mean I think everyone will like it. In my experience most will not. That's because the book is hazy and doesn't make sense. I often found myself flipping back 100 pages to figure out how the current character was related to the other previous characters. Sometimes I would find that the current character was the same character that had died or disappeared 100 pages previously. If you don't know already this book is the fictionalized story of generations of a family and the latin-american town in which they live. It was one of the first books to be written in a style that is called "magic-realism". That means that the book doesn't have to make sense. This book is one of the top books I have ever read because it is the history of the world and everyone in it. I found myself over and over identifying with a character or recognizing someone I knew in a character. And as far as the "magic-realism", I find that that is exactly the way life really is. I found that this book applies to everyone and its themes and characters are universal. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is just a latin-american genre book. Nor should you think it is a dense, philosophical novel. The stories and sub-plots are captivating and interesting. In short, this book is weird and wonderful. Give it a shot and you might be surprised as I was.