First of all I’d say that this is a great book, and totally different
from what I’ve read so far in other books. I read
A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings a few years ago and had some idea
what ‘Magic Realism’ means, so whatever the strange things that happened
in this book, be it ghosts, flying carpet, etc, I considered them
exactly as the inhabitants of the story considered: normal.
This is a bitter story of a strange family and it’s seven generations. I guess it’s hard to realise why they are the way they are, probably it’s just bad luck, or something that’s in their blood but they have some characterstics, mainly that most individuals of the family sooner or later go isolated either by themselves or driven by circumstances. It’s not that the offsprings, but even the women who are married into the family also end up with the same fate.
During the first few chapters of the book, I was simply thinking why am I reading about this story?! It just went on, changing the perspective from one member to another. At that point I realised that this is just a story, and what made it stand out is the strangeness of the story. By the time I finished more than the half, I was hooked and entangled with the daily lives of the Buendia family, probably because it even in the strangeness of the story, the humanness peered out. In it were the daily grinds faced by Ursula, the hatred of Aramanta, the pride of Colonel, the stupidity of Jose Arcadio, and how each of them keeps heading into a wall again and again. And when any one of them die, they are replaced sooner or later by the next generation where each person has it’s own share of problems.
There’s probably too much bad things happening to them, sometimes out of their own workings, but perhaps a lot of that is also due to bad luck which I guess can be considered the magic realism. At any instant, a lot of times I asked ‘Why the hell is he/she doing this?’ only to realise that either magic, bad luck, and human stupidity was behind it.
It’s a powerful story, partly because of the content but mostly because of the way it is written, and totally worth reading.