Friday, February 16, 2007

Hundred Years of Solitude....and then some more.

The last book I read was none other than Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magnum opus - One Hundred Years of Solitude. A book of epic proportions, it tested my imagination in unimaginable ways. In fact I had returned to the book a second time with gritty resolve since the unrelenting repetition of names like Jose Arcadio, Aureliano, Amaranta and Ursula had left me groping in the dark halfway through the book the first time I attempted to read it. But this time I kept pace with offspring after offspring, amazed at the uncanny fecundity of the fictitious Buendia clan. Time ran in loops and doubled up on itself as the miseries and fortunes of the various characters played out page after page with unceremonious candour. Each character lost love, found memory and eventually succumbed to a solitude that had an irrevocable finality.

The book is an ode to memory. Collective memory that in tireless remembrance of things past and a glorious time lost, erases its sinous connect with reality untill it is the stuff of legend. Truth obliterated by memory. Lives lived so much in retrospect that the present is forgotten and constantly committed to the past. No one in Macondo remembered the Banana Plantation massacre because the process of forgetting had begun even before the event had occurred.

One need not speak of Marquez's phenomenal prose for that would be nothing short of stating the obvious. But what must be mentioned is the sheer scale of imagination that the author has brought to the novel. The leaps in time, the collision of characters with history and the cyclical narrative is a feat never before achieved in the written form. This is one book I wish never to be made into a film, for as much as I believe in the possibility and potency of cinema, it is finite in a way that can never do justice to the images inspired by Marquez's infinite prose.

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