I would have to say that this was my first attempt at “literary” reading after graduating in December–now after reading this book I feel fearless again. If not for Booksamonth book club, I probably would have left this one sitting on the shelf just a little bit longer.
The book follows seven generations of the Buenedia family in a mythical South Ameircan town (much of the events are based on Colombian history). The book chronicles the rise and fall of Maconda–through revolutions, invasions, love affairs, incest, modernization, colonialism, and much more. Garcia Marquez uses magical realism throughout the novel–a device used by many South American authors (Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits comes to mind). While some readers get a little annoyed by this device, I felt it brought a sort of charm to the novel. For example, one of the characters simply floats off into the air and is never seen again.
Recommendation: This book is definitely for the patient reader. I would recommend going to wikipedia and printing off the family tree and keeping it very very close while reading. Many of the characters share the same names, which can become confusing–especially through seven generations. I gave this book a 3.5 rating with a little hesitation, but mostly because of the accessibility of the novel (or lack thereof). The story itself was enjoyable, but it took some work.