Friday, September 14, 2007

One hundred years of Solitude


...by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Some book this. I've read one hundred pages and so far:

  • The protagonists have upped sticks and set up their own village in the Colombian wilderness because a ghost was haunting them - that of a murdered man done to death because he suggested the family patriarch was less than virile
  • He was reputed to be less than virile because his wife refused to have sex with him and a year into marriage their union remained unconsummated. This is because they were cousins and the wife was afraid of having a lunatic child with 20 fingers and a tail. They finally relented and all the kids were normal
  • One of the sons is hung like a horse and has fathered a child with a tarot-reading char lady who smells of smoke. He then runs away with the circus and comes back the size of a bull, performing feats of strength for payment and with "flatulence that withers the flowers."
  • In turns, the enterprising and eccentric father has thus far tried his hand at exploiting magnets to mine gold from the earth, using a magnifying glass as a weapon of mass destruction, alchemy, taking photos of God to prove he exists, inventing a source of perpetual energy, and at the novel's current juncture, has gone mad, begun speaking in tongues and is permanently tied up under a chestnut tree outside the house
  • The other son is a gifted silversmith and has just married a barely pubescent girl who still wets the bed. In his spare time, he's clairvoyant and was previously in love with a teen prostitute in a travelling roadshow who serviced 70 men a night to work off a debt incurred when she accidentally burned down her grandmother's house. (The vengeful grandmother is the one prostituting her and by rough calculation, she has three years of 70 men a night to go before release).
  • Travelling gypsies, who arrive regularly, flew around the village on a magic carpet and gave turns to local kids and nobody batted an eyelid or thought it worthy of comment
  • A small child turns up one day with her parent's bones in a bag and is promptly adopted. She has a furtive habit of eating clay and muck for comfort and eventually falls in love with a piano tuner which causes jealousy between her and her adopted sister, which in turn causes the latter to vow to kill her. Unfortunately, she curses her brother's wife and she dies instead
  • For some reason yet to be revealed, most of the male characters will at some stage die by firing squad
It's fair to say I'm looking forward to the rest of it. It really reminds me of my childhood.

9 moos and woofs:

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