The more traveling I do, the more wise I become (gerbie) wrote,
The more traveling I do, the more wise I become

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93. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - 100 jaar eenzaamheid

I knew I had the book at home, I also knew that Spiralstairs had recommended it. It doesn't need a recommendation, it is a classic that everyone has at least heard about. '100 years of solitude' is the english title. I was always hoping to read in Spanish, as I have read several of his books in spanish before. Mostly smaller novels, but also the huge 'noticias de un secuestro'. I know now that I wouldn't have gotten it in Spanish. This book would have been well above my ability.

It was difficult enough reading it in my native tongue. It took me ages and several times I needed the family tree that was helpfully included in the beginning of the book. The opening line 'Many years later, standing in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, had to think about this afternoon.......' is a classic on its own. The book doesn't stop to amaze me anymore afterwards.

The story about the Buendia dynasty is brilliantly described in this book by the Colombian Nobel prize winner. It seems to me that the village of Macondo must be somewhere in Venezuela, but it doesn't really matter. Events happen on every page of this page twister, though it never ever does get predictable. Obviously there are reoccurring events, the sons in the book all going by the name of Aureliano or Jose Arcadio. People dying in tragic ways, but also in inexplicable ways. This is the ultimate in magical surrealism. There is so much happening that I find it almost impossible to give a summary. And even then, there is no need for one, if you want to find out why this book is considered as one of the best ever written, you've got to read it yourself. I enjoyed doing so, even though it took me years to pick up the book.

Hundred years of the Buendia's in Macondo doesn't ever get boring, with dozens of wars going on, with illegitimate children, cousins marrying without them realizing they are related, with prosperity coming to the village that started on regained swamp, women growing old, stopping to count their age at 145, idiots turning normal, normal people doing weird things. If there is any truth in the saying that the truth always beats the most fantastic lies, this story must be a true one, as it is so fantastic that it is very hard to imagine that everything came from one mind. If you are going to read only one more book for the rest of your life, make sure it's this one.
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