WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HIM?: Nothing except that everyone seems to read him. Seriously, if you go into any given library used book sale, you can easily find ten copies each of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Part of this is the Oprah effect (Unfortunately, my copy of Cholera is infected with Oprah’s seal of approval. EDIT: It’s only a sticker! Hooray! I can read this in public!), but he also seems like a cool guy from the two chapters I’ve read.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?: One Hundred Years of Solitude.
REVIEW: One Hundred Years of Solitude is awesome. It meanders through five or six (or seven? I can’t really tell) generations of the Buendia family in the fictional town of Macondo. I say meanders, because, like a great story told by a great storyteller, Solitude does not have a strict chronology, but it progresses associationally; by this fake word, I mean that the narrator, if he strikes an interesting tangent, will abandon the main narrative and return to it. The characters are also altered physically in ways that reflect their inner worlds; the easiest instance is Remedios the Beauty, who rejects all social conventions and expectations so hard that one day she just up and floats away. There are also intimations of cyclical time, but Garcia Marquez doesn’t beat this into the ground so hard that it looks like an artificial structural flourish instead of just the way the story had to be told. Also also, the story of Macondo and the Buendias is also a story of South America, but one littered with folk-tale elements. I don’t know how to explain it on four hours of sleep after a 12 hour workday, but yeah. Awesome book.
DO YOU RECOMMEND IT?: Why yes, yes I do. I’m glad I read it, and I’m even gladder that I didn’t read it when I was an intolerant little shit in high school.
WHO’S NEXT: Something by Gide and then One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn.