Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Thank heavens there’s a Buendía family tree diagram at the beginning, because this novel spans about 5 generations, and the men are all named some variation of José Arcadio or Aureliano.  The women, although they certainly take a backseat to the men in this story, are much easier to differentiate, and several of the women in the family tree are mistresses.  In one case, two brothers have the same mistress, so that their children are half-siblings.  Plus, in one case, a male character chooses a 9-year-old for his wife, and fortunately her parents make her wait until she reaches puberty to marry.  Then there are a couple of instances where a nephew has a thing for his aunt.  What a family!  The story takes place in the fictional town of Macondo, and sometimes it seems that there aren’t enough non-Buendía residents there to keep the population genetically diverse.  Then we have characters who routinely spend years sequestered in a room reading scholarly documents or sitting under a chestnut tree—voluntarily.  I’m not really a fan of magical realism, especially this sort with flying carpets and people who live past 140 years old.  The fantasy aspects just contributed to my overall inability to feel any sort of connection to the characters.  The whole thing seemed quite absurd and confusing to me.  I wish there were at least one character who stood out for me or who seemed particularly heroic or even particularly tragic, but unfortunately, they all ran together into one indecipherable heap.  I’ve wanted to read this book since Gabriel García Marquez died a couple of years ago, but I can’t say that it was time well spent.  At least I can check it off my list now.

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