Thursday, April 29, 2010

100 Years of Solitude

I'm currently teaching One Hundred Years of Solitude in my AP Literature and Composition class. This is the third time I have read it, and I love it even more. It has been on my top fifteen list of books, but can see it moving up with each page turn.

It follows the Buendia family through the progression of time. It hits all the hot spots of fear, anguish, relationship, war, famine, and family. It addresses the beauty and passion of knowledge and the dire consequences of misusing that knowledge, or worst, not using it at all.

Jack Murnighan, Author of Beowulf on the Beach, says of 100 years, "When I read I hope the book will reach me in at least one of three places: where I zip, where I button a shirt, and where I put on a hat. Into these, all three, One Hundred Years of Solitude makes its mark; all the way down, to the bone, to the blood, etched in the tubes that hold the marrow and the channels that pump the platelets; there is nowhere in you it won't plumb and no nerve it won't twang" (337). It is a read that is a beautiful experience, and one to be treated as such. It is a piece of literature like no other and yet relates to most others. It is a read worth reading.

It can be a struggle with it's many characters and flowing timeline, but if it isn't fought then passages like these reveal themselves:

The ground became soft and damp, like volcanic ask, and the vegetation was thicker and thicker, and the cries of the birds and the uproar of the monkeys became more and more remote, and the world became eternally sad. The men on the expedition felt over-whelmed by their most ancient memories in that paradise of dampness and silence, going back to before original sin, as their boots sank into pools of steaming oil and their machetes destroyed bloody lilies and golden salamanders. For a week, almost without speaking , they went ahead like sleepwalkers through a universe of grief, lighted only by the tenuous reflection of luminous insects, and their lungs were overwhelmed by a suffocating smell of blood. (11)

It is worth the experience. It is a family and a story that will stay with you. Each passage, each moment is a slice of humanity at its best and worst - and sometimes that is in the same moment. It is heart wrenching, funny, lovely, and challenging. I hope you take it on, it won't disappoint.

1 comment:

Hip Mom's Guide said...

I haven't read this one, but it looks right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation! Off to reserve a library copy now...