Sunday, June 08, 2014

One Hundred Years of Solitude

I have read the novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, a thousand times. I have two dog-eared copies of the book. After Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away recently, I decided to read the book again, from the very first page.

You see, since my first reading of the book, I have never ventured into it in chronological order. You just open a page, at random, and the magic of the book will take you in. In the past 10 years since I last read the book, the magic has not diminished. The prose never fails to evoke emotions. And the characters, each with his/her tragic idiosyncrasies, are like old friends.

Reading the novel again, however, confirmed two of my pet peeves about the book.

First, the need for paragraphs. The book certainly needs more paragraphs. Sometimes a paragraph goes on for more than two pages, and they relate to various different things. So, dividing them into paragraphs should be a logical option. Even stylistically, I do not think such long paragraphs are desired.

Second, I had problem with how the narrator suddenly jump from one incident to another, just when the incident in question was getting more interesting, sometimes at the expense of jumbling things up. This is one of the reasons why many new readers find it difficult to enter into its magical world. No, it’s not really a complaint. For me, this jumbling up of events works well. Only, I wish there were more descriptions.

There are just few descriptions in the books, though they are all undeniably enchanting. That is why you hanker after more. But it doesn’t come. In the middle of the book, after the disastrous affair with the butterfly man, Fernanda takes Meme away from Macondo in a train. Here Marquez describes in a few lines the scene seen from the window of the train.

In a nutshell, this is the same feeling one gets while reading the book. You just see Macondo from the window of a running train. You want to stop, jump off the train and go there, but you cannot. It’s all touch and go.

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