Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Hundred Years of Solitude

So to begin my journey I decided that availability of reading material would be how I base my selections from the list. Lucky for me my Aunt Mary is out of town and I was hanging out with her neighbor at her house and found that her bookshelf is chock full of smart people paraphanelia. I looked through her books and found that she had several selections from the list, apparently my Aunt Mary, or AM as she will now be called for purposed of this blog, is quite the well read broad.

I began this book super excited by the fact that it might make me even smarter, imagine that. I knew that I had heard of this book before and upon further examination on Wikipedia, I found that it was an Oprah Book Club Selection. If it is recommended by Oprah it may as well be recommended by God - so I am really down for this.

I started the book and it seemed aiight. The first line of the book, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Clonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice", seemed like something I would like to read because books with firing squards are usually entertaining. This however, seemed to begin going south and I quickly became confused.

I should interject here that upon reaching page 39 I realized that I was not reading the introduction as I previously thought, but I was actually into the meat of the book. Why did I think it was an introduction? Because the entire book is written in a strange sort of situational narrative that provides about three lines of dialogue every 7 or 8 pages. It's a damn near painful way to read a book. Each new paragraph simply brings a new explaination of a situation that continues on and on and on and each situation seem more strange than the last. Because of the way it was written I thought that this wa sjust to let me know the background of the people in the book but then it turns out that this is the way the WHOLE book is written. I only found this out when in the nail salon last night a woman saw me reading it and asked how I liked it. I was so excited to meet someone who could answer my questions that I asked if this was the writing style that made up the whole book. Unfortunately she confirmed my worst fears by saying, "Yes."

I don't hate the book. I am only about 60 pages into it. I am a little confused though and hope that as I continue to read I find the jubilation that my personal savior Oprah found in it. One thing that drives me crazy is that the names of the characters al seem to be almost exactly the same. Arcadio, Aureliano, Arcadio, Amaranta are the major name players and almost every other name seems to be some derivation of that name or that exact name with a Jose attached either to the front or the back of it. When I am trying to keep all of these people straight, having names so similar makes me think that everything that is happening is to the same person and then I realize that they're talking about a woman, and I thought we were talking about a guy...then I have to flip back to the family tree and figure out who the hell I am reading about again! How did Gabriel Garcia Marquez keep all of these people straight. As a writer, I know that I often find myself without memory of details related to my characters and constantly refer back to character notes and charts that I draw with stick figures...this dude must really have some Einstein stuff going on in his head to do some stuff like this.

In any case, back to the topic at hand. Basically the part I am at right now is that the Clonel, who in the first line of the book is about to be execiuted, got a chick in the village pregnant then split with the gypsies and was last seen pushing a traveling cart that held a snake man. I think that Marquez was on drugs when he wrote this. Good drugs. Now the band of gypsies that he left with have returned and the dude ain't with them. The chick he knocked up gave their baby to his family and everyone is getting older.

One thing that is semi-fascinating is the idea of this town totally cut off from modernity and science and a man like Jose Arcadio, the patriarch of the family, who is constantly seeking to quench his thirst for knowledge in a most naive and foolhardy way. I feel for his wife who seems to always be picking up the pieces for a man who is disatisfied with his lot in life and his understanding of the world he lives in, and is willing to risk everything that he has, which includes everything that she has to make the truth fit his expectations.

Well...this was a long post. I'll read more and hopefully find myself in a super awseome web of Oprah and Gabrial Garcia Marquez and people whose names all start with the letter A.