Ok, firstly, a moment of silence for a great author who has either contracted lymphatic cancer and retired from the public and literary sphere, or who is just putting the finishing touches on his latest novel to be released before the year is out, depending on who you believe.
Secondly, I read Love in the Time of Cholera in those sort of nether-months between when I started this blog and when I remembered I had this blog and started taking it seriously, and so I didn’t review it. All that remains from that book is the certain memory that I didn’t really enjoy reading it, but that by the time I had finished, I felt as though I had been a part of something full and complete and epic.
One Hundred Years of Solitude gave me the exact same full-circle shiver. I don’t know what my deal is, and I’m probably going to be taken out back and beat down for saying this, but I don’t like reading Marquez. Clearly, I have tried. And yet, I love having read him. Does this make sense? I love looking at the story as a whole, I love the sheer amount of distance I’ve come between one cover and the next. I love the destination, but dude? The journey can be long.
OHYOS is the story of the Buendia clan, beginning with Jose Arcadio Buendia and moving on to his sons, Aureliano Buendia and Jose Arcadio, and their sons, Aureliano Jose, Aurelianos, and Arcadio, and their sons, Aureliano Segundo and Jose Arcadio Segundo (they’re twins), and Aureliano Segundo’s son, Jose Arcadio, and then Jose Arcadio’s nephews, both of whom are named Aureliano. And I’m not even shitting you.
(There are also daughters: Amaranta, Amaranta Ursula, Remedios, and Renata Remedios, but you see how that would have interrupted my tirade?)
And all this would be fine if each generation would die off and let me concentrate on the next one, but Jose Arcadio Buendia (Jose 1.0) lives for ages, and I kept getting him confused with Jose Arcadio (Jose 2.0) and Jose Arcadio Segundo (Jose 3.0). And then Marquez is zipping here and there a little with the chronology, and so all of a sudden, what? We’re talking about Aureliano Buendia instead of Aureliano Segundo. And, AND! Everyone’s sleeping with everyone, and it’s all secrets, so X keeps taking Y in as a son, even though Y is Z’s son, but Y doesn’t know he’s Z’s son, and how am I supposed to keep things straight? I understand, Marquez has placed a family tree at the beginning to help me focus, but you think that makes it ok?
But then, the writing is so beautiful and the story is so complex and such crazy-ass things are happening! But then, the book is so long and the story is so complex and I’m having to think, dammit. And not, like, mull over serious issues, but like WHO THE HELL IS SLEEPING WITH WHO? I don’t have time. I’m trying really hard to remember why it’s so important that this guy not sleep with this lady. Is she his aunt? Where’s my family tree.
Ah, but Gabriel. You are the master of the ending. I feel so complete. I feel like I need to go back and re-read this one day.
But not soon.