Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i thought i was smart . . .

Sometimes I think I have an average amount of intelligence, and other times, not so much. I attended our Bookclub meeting last night. The book that was chosen was "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have seen it on many must-read lists but didn't even know anything about it beyond the title. So often with our bookclub, I am glad to read something outside of what I would choose for myself. We had 5 weeks to read this book. Three weeks in, I was only on page 100 (subtitled at this point to "100 Pages of Weird"). I usually read in bed at night to wind down. I tried, I really did, to pick up this book each night, but instead I found the Reader's Digest in my hand. When I did pick it up and open to my bookmark, I had to question myself . . . is this really where I am? I don't remember what's going on. Many characters had the same name, the author meandered aimlessly through story lines -- "stream of consciousness" it's called. One friend likened it to an old grandparent telling stories and dozing a bit in between, then waking up and 'Oh yeah and another thing happened.'

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a book that took the world by storm. It's a furious, passionate, seething novel filled with hallucinogenic scenery. With his groundbreaking book, Gabriel García Márquez not only established himself as a writer with singular vision, he also established Latin American literature and "magical realism" as forces to be reckoned with. García Márquez won the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature.
Nobel Prize? What the Heck!! Well, I do agree with one word anyway -- "hallucinogenic".

Another review uses these exact words: Despite the proliferation of murders, hauntings, vendettas and wars, and the absence of any obvious overall plot line, . . .

So how does a book like this get on a must-read list? Beats me.

5 comments:

Bandanamom said...

People freaking LOVE this book and I could not even get all the way through it. So I thought, well, maybe it's just something weird about this book, but Love in the Time of Cholera gets equal praise, by the same author. So I gave that one a shot too. Could not get through it! I don't get it either. So you are not alone. And I pride myself with at least having average intelligence. I'm baffled by the whole love of this dude.

Cynthia said...

It's a book from the 60's is all I can say . . .
I looked up reviews of the movie "Love in the time of cholera" that came out this past year. Seems to be a lot of LOVE for this movie too.
I still don't get it.

CaliZona said...

America (NORTH of the border) had no clue about this book until it was on OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB! Beginning and END of the author's claim to fame. Oh, that and being Hispanic...very culturally "now".

Suzanne Barker said...

Well..reading it for Book Club was my second time through it. The first time, I completely didn't get it. This time, I still wouldn't say I liked it, but I at least didn't get lost. And I have to say that I did get some appreciation for the book after discussing it. I still wouldn't want to seek out any of his other books. We read Love in the Time of Cholera and I didn't like that one either. But I always feel at least more "culturally educated" that I at least know what people are referring to when they talk about it. I find I'm often puzzled by Nobel Prize winners. I do better with National Book Award winners.

two forks said...

for the record, this book was on quite a few radars pre-oprah... but that would only be those who were studying spanish!