Friday 56 & #BookBeginnings: 100 Years of Solitude

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.
- p. 1

 For Friday 56:  
Several months later saw the return of Francisco the Man, an ancient vagabond who was almost two hundred years old and who frequently passed through Macondo distributing songs that he composed himself. In them Francisco the Man told in great detail the things that had happened in the towns along his route, from Manaure to the edge of the swamp, so if anyone had a message to send or an event to make public, he would pay him two cents to include it in his repertory. This was how Ursula learned about the death of her mother, as a simple consequence of listening to the songs in the hope that they would say something about her son Jose Arcadio. - p. 56

About 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez: One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.

Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.

Just a few words about this book: I've defaulted to not commenting about the books I feature here simply because I'd like the excerpts and the summary to speak for themselves. In this case, I can't let this post go without saying something. If you're only heard about this book, I think you should read it. If you read it and either was on the fence or hated it, I say give it a second chance. This is a book that has everything in it. I can read and reread this and go back to it and still get something from it. Sometimes it is difficult to grasp just how Marquez has done it in this book, and it's also why I urge everyone to at least try his work (if not this one, than anything else).

I have two copies of this book, one's a paperback that I bought with my meagre savings when I was still a university student, and another is a 1970s pocketbook that I picked up for free during a giveaway weekend. How cool is that? :)  

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall