One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Book Review (Sort of)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, copyright 1970.

Translated By: Gregory Rabassa

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Pages: 416

Source: Personal Collection – Purchased Used

Reason for Reading: Reputation of Author

The Blurb:One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth, and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women – brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul – this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.”

D…N…F, what is there to say, this is going to be a very short review. Actually, I’m not sure that I’m really qualified to review this book, as I only read 50 of its over 400 pages. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Columbian author and the 1982 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was to be my next stop on my journey through the Nobel Laureates. No such luck!

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” One Hundred Years of Solitude, page 1.

I don’t really know what I was expecting here. I have heard some very good things about this book in the past from fellow book bloggers, though, at the moment, I can’t remember which ones (and perhaps that is best for those bloggers) The quote above is the first line of the book. It sounds fantastic and I was expecting a really phenomenal read, but as each page progressed to the next, I became more and more disheartened. I started to feel like I was reading about some sort of Spanish, Gypsy Middle Earth. One moment it seemed like this was a normal literary tale of a pioneering family in a new world and then the next there were gypsies popping out of the woodwork selling all sorts of weird magical items. I’ve said it before, I need my fiction to have some sort of basis in reality and, having only ventured 50 pages into this one, I had the distinct impression that the story was wandering continuously away from that realm. Yes, I realize that in the blurb it says it’s a mythical city, and I can handle mythical, but this was just getting too weird. Sorry…END RANT, I suppose!

I am determined to work my way through the Nobel Laureates, so if anyone has any suggests about other Marquez books, please let me know!



About Robbie

Hi there, my name is Robbie Burns (no,really, that’s my name…hold the haggis jokes please) and I would like to welcome you to the Pink Sheep Cafe. I started this blog as a means of discussing books and all things literary in light of my perpetual isolation. At the time I began writing, I was living in Split, Croatia. There wasn’t much here in the way of English book clubs and I couldn’t work, so I badly needed something to help me bide my time. My partner and I have since left Croatia and returned to Canada to live in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. When we first moved back here, my blog writing sort of fell by the wayside, but now I seem to be back on track. I try to read and review a little bit of everything here; I think everyone can find something to their liking here. I find myself tending more towards more literary reads these days, but I also enjoy a lot of YA and children’s fiction. One of my ongoing goals is to work my way through all of the Nobel Laureates. My two most favorite authors are Timothy Findley and Halldor Laxness.
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11 Responses to One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Book Review (Sort of)

  1. I haven’t read any Marquez, but he is high on my list and I own about 4 of his books! I’m sorry to hear that this didn’t work for you. I have heard that Love in the Time of Cholera is the best place to start, but not having read any I can’t guarantee you’ll like that any better.

  2. Another book we agree about loathing! I’m going to have to pay more attention to your blog. I have Love in the Time of Cholera at home too because I’m too stubborn to give up on a Big Famous Author because of a bad experience.
    Re 100 Years – I just found there was too much magic? Be glad you didn’t read on – there’s a river of blood when someone dies, an extraordinary fertile farm spurred by the adulterous couple who own it and 17 sons of Aureliano, all called Aureliano…
    I found The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake managed to meld a little magic with everyday life in a much more palatable way – similarly I enjoyed the first of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Storm Front, because it is my usual crime-solving fare with a sprinkling of magic. Have you tried either of these?

  3. winstonsdad says:

    his non fiction book I review last year is quite good clandestine in Chile about a film maker return to Chile after junta had fallen ,say that I love this book and love in time of cholera ,but magic realism isn’t everyone’s cup of tea ,maybe herta muller be a good laureate to pick the passport got tinge of magic realism but also opening vision into Romania ,or czeslaw milsow prose I like them ,hope you enjoy your next nobel read more ,all the best stu

  4. Jenny says:

    Ugh, I hated this book so much. I like fantasy books sometimes, definitely, but magical realism rarely works for me, and this book didn’t work for me even a little bit. I HATED it.

  5. Petty Witter says:

    Oh dear as bad as that, here’s hoping you find another Marquez read more to your taste.

  6. Kinna says:

    Pity you DNF the book. Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite authors. But I do feel, that as good (for some of us) as One Hundred Years of Solitude is, it is not his best work. Of course, I love all his stuff. But my favorites are, infact, his shorter works. So I recommend Chronicle of a Death Foretold, No One Writes to the Colonel, The Leaf Storm and any of his collections of short stories. Some of the above include a healthy dose of realism. All the best.

  7. TheBookGirl says:

    Years ago I read Love in the Time of Cholera; I don’t remember much more than I liked it alot. What I do remember is how I got the book — my now-husband, then just good friend, was the member of a book club that sent books monthly unless you stopped them. Because he was so disorganized, he often got books that he didn’t really intend to, and would pass them on to me — Love in the time of Cholera was one.

  8. Jessica says:

    I didn’t finish this one either (or, for that matter, LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA). I want to try both of these again someday, but maybe with a class to help me understand. Because I got terribly confused on things – especially the characters’ names!

  9. Liburuak says:

    Oh, I’m sorry One Hundred Years of Solitude didn’t work for you! I’m a big fan of García Márquez, and this is even though I’m normally really not into fantasy. But One Hundred… is a real beast – I still love it, but I remember really struggling at times when I read it. It’s very confusing because everyone is called the same names etc. Like some of my fellow commenters, I’d recommend Love in the Time of Cholera as a more accessible route into his writing. My first Márquez was actually Of Love and other Demons, which I also enjoyed, but not as much as Love in the Time of Cholera. Give the man a second chance 😉

  10. I called this one “One Hundred Years of Reading.”

  11. dktrfz says:

    I couldn’t finish it either, although I really got into Love in the Time of Cholera. Its worth a look.

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