One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa

While this book is one the surface a novel about a family, it is hard to shake the idea that the book is also about the power of reading.  In some ways, the story is about the power of the reader to create life, to give the characters life beyond what the writer of the story can do.  It is important that the book starts and ends with a sense of memory because in many ways that is what reading is.


                The history of the Buendia family is strange, wonderful, and horrifying.  It involves numerous children, possible saints, lovely women, mistresses and out of wedlock births.  The family lives in a village that is both cut off when the world and part of it.  It is the solitude, the smallness of place that time passes over.  There is a sense of the story and the family reaching end and this is like a book, just like how a story will change depending on who is reading the book, or even how they feel that day.


                In part this is because one of themes is the conflict between love and solitude, which in many ways what reading is about.  It is in many cases, a solitary pursuit, but it is also one that makes people more empathic in general, studies prove this.  So, it is a solitary pursuit that has ramifications when it comes to love.


                The repetitive use of names does add to the magic realism, but it also makes some of the characters too similar, which does seem to be in part the point.  The women, too, with a few expectations fall into the virgin/whore choice, which is usually the most common stories for women in works by men.