One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
As you can see with the list of the books I have read this year, I can claim I have read a lot 🙂 hence decided to move on to my next target of reading the heavier as well as a little critical stuff from some well known writers and this one – fortunately falls in that series as the first book that I got from a very close friend – highly recommended. Fortunately not so long ago I had read one of his books (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) liked it too and it became one of those few books which I am sure I will never be able to forget specially for the stunningly gruesome account of killing it portrayed. So, basically had a little idea what to expect from this one but I wasn’t prepared in reality for what I got, Mind-blowing stuff. Usually a book of 400+ pages I will easily wrap it in around 3-4 days but guess what – this took me close to 8 days, started on a Sunday and finished it late last night (Sunday). It is actually indeed very heavy stuff (at least from my fresher standards) and I couldn’t grasp what he was throwing at me with a furious pace. No doubt, the details were mind-blowing (at times mind-fuck too), I am sure you will agree with the choice of words – if you have read this book. He is one of the most respected writer / personality from Columbia and a Nobel Prize Winner in Literature – If you need to know more about him, the search ends right there with that.
I am sure Gabriel Garcia Marquez knew right when he started the book that its not going to be a easily tracked story for all the readers hence right at the very start he helps us with the family tree of Aureliano’s initial generations as whose who that we are reading about. The entire book covers a little more then 100 years in the life and times of Aureliano’s Seven generations in a fictitious place called Macondo which is assumed to be Columbia and a place around 100 miles north of the Carribean where the life and people are yet to reach. It is indeed a visual treat if you are in for the imagination – I totally loved the details told in the story and writers imagination. As the first generation starts living there (wild guess – around 1860’s), imagine to send a regular mail they have to travel 15 days in an unknown direction where the mailman comes once a month. The story by the time it comes to an end – shows us the arrival of railroad in the town as well as the making of an Airport (Almost). What happens in between with the seven generation of Aureliano’s and the 300 people who make the town of Macondo with the arrival of José Arcadio Buendía and his wife Úrsula Iguarán who happens to be his first cousin. How the family grows, after multiple relations with the well endowed men of Aureliano’s generations, there comes a time when they make their own personal army of sorts.
The way the life, their house (which becomes a mansion later) and the town changes with time is the most stunningly written details and descriptions I had ever read or imagined in a book. Although no denying that with that number of people and similar names (as almost all the guys are one or the other Aureliano) it was tough to keep a track of them all. My Favorite Four characters in no particular order will always remain the second Son Colonel Aureliano Buendía, the bravest man in the history of the Town (Country not sure), his life and story is one heck of a story. He turns out to be not only a Warrior but a very good poet too. During the wars Colonel Buendia fathered 17 sons by unknown women and all were named Aureliano :). How his wife Ursula keeps up with his nuances and his own end of the story is heartening account but I totally loved it. Second Favorite Character was Remedios the Beauty who happens to be Colonel’s Grand Sons Daughter (you see you need to keep a track), the most beautiful women to have ever been born in Macondo and how many innocent people die because of her is a hilarious account. What happens to her in the end, I could never imagine in my wildest fantasies – too good to be true, totally amazing stuff.
Third was Amaranta Úrsula, the Great Great Grand Daughter of the first generation José Arcadio Buendía. She is the only one from the entire generations to be the first one to go out of the town and country for her studies, gets married but returns back to have an affair with her own Nephew, have a son with him who happens to be the last of the line from Buendia family. The gory details of their affair and love making were simply mind-blowing and fall in the never ever read earlier category. But no doubt she comes back as a refreshing character bringing some respite for the readers if not for her own family who is already in ruins. And last but not the least – Fourth Favorite was an outsider from the family “Melquiades” the mysterious character who returns from his own death, does some superb inventions, writes his own prophecies – how true they come is something you’ve got to read the book to know. His presence all the time in the family house and mystery behind his room was something which kept me hooked throughout and the end was superb totally unpredictable. Even other then these four characters there are more then two dozen more characters with amazing presence and stories behind them, still these four outshine all the others for me and I am going to remember them for a long long time.
Also, I am going to take a break from his other works for a while before picking them up. But what the heck – just cant miss his other works for sure. What an amazingly engaging writer and am glad my friend sent me this book.