Thursday, March 06, 2008

[Mini Review] Lisa’s Take - 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Márquez)

(What's up with this review?)

100 Years of Solitude deserves better than this. It really, really deserves a full-on review with a detailed, insightful, in-depth analysis of its deep themes and implications. It deserves to be treated like a mistress – grand ball gowns, fine champagne – but I’m treating it like a parking-lot hooker (sucky suck, 5 dollar?).

It’s my fault entirely – I waited too long to write this review because I had so much bouncing around in my head, and because it was such a challenging read. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy review to write (see my rant about not being able to review non-fantasy over in my Wicked review), and I had a hard time approaching it, so I just put it off, and now it’s been relegated to a Mini Review. Sigh.

Reasons you won’t want to finish this book:

  • It starts off strong and interesting, then drags reeeeal bad through the middle. I have as hard of a time with military-themes as I do westerns.
  • Everyone has the same name. It’s a Spanish thing. It starts to get confusing around the half-way point, even though you have a convenient geneology.
  • If you speak Spanish, the translation might frustrate you, because you can just… feel how amazing the prose must be in Spanish, but the English doesn’t quite capture it the same way

Reasons you really ought to finish this book:

  • The end is as good as the beginning, even though the middle is tough
  • The images that Marquez puts in your head are truly astounding
  • The conclusion will leave you staring into space for a good half hour, trying to reconcile how you feel.
  • Did I mention the part where the images he creates are haunting and lasting?

It took me SO LONG to finish this book – I broke it up with 3 other easier books and I still had to claw my way through the middle kicking and screaming. But it was so very worth it… I’m reminded that I ought to read a lot more literature. I also ought to re-read this book in the original Spanish.

The Bottom Line: Thumbs Up, but consider yourself warned. You will have to be tenacious to reap the rewards of this book.


Ellen said...

You write very well.

JD said...

For what it's worth, I think you earn super cool points for reading *anything* in the original language ;)