If I must describe this book in one word, I would call it “exhaustive”. Phew! I can’t recall how many times I might have whined about giving it up, wanting to stop halfway and reassuring myself that I can leave a book unfinished. It is alright. Those first hundred pages felt like an arduous journey, keeping up with the story of Buendia family and their eccentric descendants, whose names keep alternating between Arcadio and Aureliano, such names that carry a certain trait and temperament; and that village of Macondo witnessing miseries, misfortunes and war.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was a story wrapped in a shroud of magic, mystery and supernatural moments. Throughout, the book never had stopped reminding me that solitude is a constant element of the entire narrative, never leaving aside its protagonists. Written by the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who also wrote the popular book Love In The Time of Cholera, finding its way to John Cusack’s starrer Serendipity. It took me a while before I could decipher the plot and arrive at my interpretation of the story.
Amid the saga and discovery of magic realism—a genre that I had discovered in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red, I realized that there is more to the title that one can interpret, and it is certainly more nuanced and open to translation.
The reason why the book is named one hundred years of solitude is something that you must wait to discover until the end. And I wouldn’t like to spoil it for the reader.
But here is what I understood about solitude in the context of the story, whose narration was rich in its prose as much as it was exhaustive.
We all enjoy our solitude from time to time. I consider this as a sacred moment for self-reflection, for perusing ideas and taking pleasure in day dreams. It is a period of rejuvenation—of mind and soul, taking yourself away from the chaos and chatter of the outside world; and a brief interlude, where you get a chance to build a nourishing relationship with self and stay blissfully in your own company.
However, there is a caveat here: solitude shouldn’t last long that it confuses with loneliness.
In the story, the characters had a complex personality, but they all held a common attribute—the solitary nature etched with deep yearning for love and a forlorn spirit that lasted a lifetime.
A person can only relive her memories so much; a person who denied the love she deserved and longed for; a person who was fixated on unraveling the mysterious manuscript; and that person for whom pride mattered to the extent of being sinful. These individuals with such layered qualities and traits brought together to life the story and became the perfect emblem of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
And, as for…
Why you must read the most revered book of all time, the work of a much beloved author?
To allow yourself to get into the skin of the characters. To feel the lush imagination of the author and the expansive, detailed style of his written words. To meander along with the story that dissects and explores the depths of passion, seething emotions; and opening a wide vista for mythical heroes play their roles; the depiction of a forbearing culture that goes through sufferings, modern developments and despicable wars.
And at one point in time, the fatigue that I experienced reading this book soon turned into a fascinating tale where reality and spirituality intermesh, the aching desire displayed by the characters affects you tenderly.
An exhaustive fiction like this somewhere carries with it the notions, beliefs, perceptions and impressions of the person who created it, captured from his own experiences and weaved into the tapestry of an extensive literature.
I would always recommend anyone who shows his or her desire to read a notable piece of fiction. If a classic has been rendered classic, explore why is it so. You may not get convinced with how the audience talks about the book, but you will find your own path to expand your thoughts, form your impression of the story, promulgate ideas and talk about it to your friend or your audience from your standpoint.
I wouldn’t promise you that this book will be a treat, but you will feel accomplished and might find your own concept if you ever plan to write a story.
Until then keep reading!
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