Marquez on Monday

5 01 2009

The sight of the sun breaking through the cloud of mist hanging in the air cheered me up and strangely reminded me of the day Jose Arcadio Buendia took Aureliano to see ice.

Easily one of the greatest books ever written in the 20th century, One Hundred years of Solitude, is a magical tale that weaves the effects of political, historical and social turmoil throught the lives of one incredible family – the Buendias. Gabriel Garcia Marquez won a Noble Prize for this novel, but this is not the reason why I am writing this review. The novel is written in a fashion that is all his own, devotees of Rushdie often claim that he writes in the same manner, but that’s hogwash. Marquez’s words naturally flow in an insane, boisterous ride of passion, feeling, and mad adventure while Rushdie’s often feel like a stuck record. The novel starts with the scene of an execution and a memory that plunges the reader into the past, and the beginning of Macondo, the town where the novel is played out. From a child’s first vision of ice in a tropical land, to a community in exile due to a duel gone horribly wrong, to a Spanish galleon stuck in the middle of desert, One Hundred Years of Solitude binds the mundane with the fantastical. The book winds through four generations of Buendias, who are the ounders of Macondo. Every generation brings a different set of values and all these values clash against each other even as the country plunges into civil war. The novel also holds a mirror to real events that happened in Columbia during the 1970’s. A workers strike and the subsequent massacre that took place and then was wiped clean off public memory. Memory and remembrance play a huge role in the novel as characterswho have died are remembered through memory and suffer a second death when those that remember them have also died. The novel is a thrilling adventure, from the first page till the last. It’s a mystery, a thriller, a epic romance, and a political critique.