Today marks this semester’s first installment of The Eye’s blog series “Things that will (temporarily) change your life,” in which writers discuss a book, movie, television series, etc. that changed their perspective for some length of time. This week: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Before I go on about how much I love One Hundred Years of Solitude, I’m going to say that I just read it this summer and am a relative newcomer to completely worshipping Gabriel García Márquez and his prose. However, I had read several of his short stories, which turned me onto his magnum opus, so it’s been in the works for quite some time.
For several years, I resisted reading One Hundred Years of Solitude because it was so acclaimed. I didn’t think it could be as good as everyone had told me.
And at first, I wasn’t sold on its quality. “Sure it’s well-written,” I thought to myself, “but everyone’s name is Jose Arcadio or Aureliano, so it’s kind of hard to know what the hell is happening.” But after reading for a bit, I got to know the characters, and got really into the story, which is one of the best things about the novel in retrospect.
Marquez creates his own universe, populates it with well-rounded characters (which is difficult, especially when a book has as many characters as this one has), and for the length of time that you read the book, makes you feel like you’ve lived through the books events as well. The genius of the work creeps up on you, and, like the ending, completely takes you by surprise and leaves you feeling like you’ll never be the same after reading it.
Only con: If you’re a non-Spanish speaker, you’ll be sad that you couldn’t read the original text that is probably infinitely more poetic.
Life-changer rating: 8/10
For a few days after finishing the book, you’ll be really fatalistic, and somewhat terrified that no matter what you do, your life has a set ending and everything has been preordained.
Also, you might grow terrified of ants, and fear that your child will be born with the tail of a pig.
But, you will feel really proud of yourself for crossing “Read One Hundred Years of Solitude” off of your bucket list (assuming you have a bucket list, and assuming that reading this book is on it). It also makes a pretty good case against incest that you’ll remember like the Bluth kids remember the lessons that J. Walter Weatherman taught them.
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