Book Review: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

by britishmisk

What drew me to this book were the number of raving praises plastered all of over it, and also the fact the author’s name rang a familiar bell, and then seeing the detailed Wikipedia page on it I assumed it would be a sure fire classic.

The first thing that is apparent is the different narration style, there is very little dialogue and as a result the story is continuously progressing slowly bit by bit, with very little time to digest and think about the period(s) of time that you have just read about. In a matter of pages you will have covered years of the story of the Buendia family on which the book is about. It’s a work of erratic and highly imaginary scenarios, kind of the thing you would find in a Wes Anderson film, (In fact the Royal Tenenbaums is not a far off comparison in a certain sense).

After finishing the book I failed to see its appeal. Of course there is a lot of symbolism and imagery that can deciphered and reflected on, the story does certainly have many layers, but I don’t really find that kind of thing enjoyable. The sort of people who would like this book are the ones who watch arthouse films in which nothing happens and normal people find boring. One major annoyance I had was the large number of characters, some of whom had very similar sounding names, which resulted in me forgetting who was who. After a large part of the story I realised that someone I thought was a single character was actually two twin brothers.

Lending it to a colleague at work she found the experience similar to myself, and also mentioned her flat mate was the same when she read it. So it would seem this book would appeal to a minority of people who come across as intellectuals, you know the type who appear on tv to discuss and argue about some random topic that makes no difference to theirs or anyone else’s life, think BBC’s Newsnight. My advice, if you’ve been on Newsnight, this book is for you, otherwise don’t bother.