Thursday, November 24, 2022

Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

The passage of time is both ever-present and inconsistent or non-linear. There are watches and clock towers and specific dates and times for many events. On the other hand, events far into the future ("many years later, as he faced the firing squad") or events from long ago are often woven into the narrative, characters live to be 150 years old, it rains for nearly five years straight (four years, eleven months and two days to be precise). The Buendia family, and their house, don't really seem to progress with time as much as their events fold back on top of themselves. Family members fall into the habit of taking things apart just to be able to put things back together. They repeat the patterns of their ancestors.

The story is incredibly beautifully told
I loved the repeated refrain of solitude but found the characters rather unintrospective and not particularly interesting.

In the end, the final descendant decodes the old manuscripts written in Sanskrit by the traveling alchemist, and discovers it was a foretelling of the events of the family, ending with him. Is this why time felt fluid, because it was trying to conform to the foretelling? Is this why the characters fell into their ruts, repeated patterns? Is everything predetermined? Or is it a broader critique of how we are all products of our past and our traumas? A little bleak, not quite my style of theme.

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