One Hundred Years of Solitude: Personal review
It must be more than thirty years ago that I first read this book. Since then, I've probably read it every year or so. In fact, if I was restricted on one book for the rest of my life, One Hundred Years of Solitude would be the one. "Really?' I can hear you say 'is it really as good as that?' Read on and decide for yourself.
Since the 1940s there has been a radio programme on the BBC on which celebrities choose the pieces of music they would take with them if they were to be stranded on an island. Unsurprisingly, this is called Desert Island Discs. (If you are a youngster, you might have to ask a parent or even grandparent what on earth a 'disc' is.)
In addition to the music, the 'castaways' are allowed to take a copy of the Bible (or other spiritual book), the Complete Works of Shakespeare and a book of their own choice. One Hundred Years of Solitude would undoubtedly be my choice.
The Shakespeare, I have to admit, would probably be used as kindling to light fires; I had enough of him when I was at school, thank you.
Cien aos de soledad (Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote the book in Spanish) would keep me perfectly happy with its tales of comedy and tragedy, love and hate, history and progress, birth and death, plus rebellion, gypsies, ghosts, magic and, I have to say, a touch of raunchiness, as it tells the story of a family in Colombia though the generations - one hundred years, in fact.
Oh, just the story of a family? I know, it doesn't sound terribly astounding but it is.
AND I'M NOT ALONE
This book is available from Amazon (hardback, paperback and Kindle) where it has over 900 reviews. But that's just one website - it has received the highest reviews and honors and Gabriel Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the nineteen eighties.
WHICH CREATED A PROBLEM
When Marquez wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude was he really writing about the history of Latin America? Or even the history of mankind? Possibly, but reviewers, academics and literary dignitaries have written thousands of words about the book. It's been hyped. Read it as a delightful, fascinating and magical story.
Maybe the second time you read it (or the tenth) you may see 'hidden meanings'. You might, as I did, see philosophies that explain the human condition. Or you might just enjoy the story ... again.
A SCATHING REVIEW
Because of the hype, it seems that some people think that they'll read the book and have one of those 'ah-ha!' moments when the meaning of life,the universe and everything is revealed. (And I don't mean 42).
I never had that 'ah-ha!' moment certainly, but I did realize that Marquez taught me a great deal about the human condition.
You might be different. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? Most reviewers on Amazon love the book the way I do but there are a handful of weird reviews.
I was so captivated by one such scathing review that I had to take the screenshot which you see below. If I didn't know One Hundred Years of Solitude as well as I do, I think the review below would make me want to buy it just to see what he/she was ranting about - enjoy!
WHAT A HILARIOUS REVIEW!
Have you read One Hundred Years of Solitude? Are you like me and love it? Or are you like the reviewer above who thinks it's a pile of ... what he said? Let me know in the comments below.
The other side of the coin
On the other hand, author Monica Brown explains how this book changed her life. Can a fictional novel really change lives? How would my life be different had I not read this book? An interesting speculation indeed.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The author died on 17th April, 2014 at the age of eighty seven.
During his life he explained that many of the books he wrote were inspired by the stories his grandparents used to tell him.
I imagine these were a mixture of folk tales, remembered incidents and family stories.
Many will have been passed down through the generations and the centuries.
We are fortunate indeed that the author catalogued these adding the fruits of his own imagination to what must have been localised, traditional tales.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson