Wednesday, July 10, 2013
One Hundred Years Of Solitude
Read: 22 June to 10 July 2012
5 / 5 stars
What does it look like when a country starts to fall? What causes a formidable family line to trickle down to nothing? And, most importantly, what is the point of creating something if you won't accept the responsibility of its inevitable destruction?
My first attempt to read this book happened sometime during the first half of college. At the time, I spent a few hours of most weekends navigating NJ Transit's trains, buses and newly hatched light-rail system to see my then-boyfriend. iPods hadn't been invented yet and I was wary of bringing a Discman through such savory locales as Camden and Trenton, so I opted to pass those interminable hours with books (besides, any good English major pounces upon all opportunities for recreational reading because they are a rare and wonderful treat for those four years). When I finally returned to this previously abandoned novel, the last dog-eared page was 264, making it a more-than-passable metaphor for the relationship I was in at the time of my initial attempt: After exerting quite a bit of effort without fully appreciating what a little gem I had in my hands, I gave up on the whole shebang.
Fortunately, tossing a book aside doesn't come with years of mounting guilt or understandably brusque plays for overdue apologies. In fact, One Hundred Years of Solitude eagerly welcomed me back after being boxed up and moved from shelf to shelf across a parade of living spaces for years, as the tome's magic and perfection that I'd totally missed years ago revealed themselves almost immediately. I couldn't believe the book that had me risking sleep-deprivation migraines was the same one I'd trudged halfway through because it was marginally better than watching the awesome splendor of South Jersey's landscape fly by a dingy window.
Even the Buendias who weren't overtly likable (sorry, Fernanda, but you were kind of a bitch, even if I begrudgingly understood your motives) were compelling and so very human. Gabo's writing has a lot going for it but it's his ability to endow all of his characters with unique personalities and wholly identifying quirks that I love best. I saw the pig's tail coming from a mile away, sure, but knowing that there has to be a final blow just made it harder to watch all these characters, most of whom I'd gotten to know over the course of their entire lives, fall victim to an array of tragedies.