"It was as if God had decided to put to the test every capacity for surprise and was keeping the inhabitants of Macondo in a permanent alternation between excitement and disappointment, doubt and revelation, to such an extreme that no one knew for certain where the limits of reality lay. It was an intricate stew of truths and mirages that convulsed the ghost of José Arcadio Buendía with impatience and made him wander all through the house even in broad daylight."
Obscene. Profane language. Sexually explicit. Violent. Sacrilegious. Trash being passed off as literature. These are a few of the reasons cited for challenges and bans of one of the most well-regarded books ever written. One Hundred Years of Solitude illustrates how time and history are cyclical or circular rather than linear through the story of a family's generational struggles in the town of Macondo. Marquez's use of the magical realism genre allows the reader a window through which to question how we all reconcile the reality of our natural or corporeal existence with the more extraordinary or supernatural elements that surround us. What will govern our existence, our contribution to history? The most mundane elements of our lives or our ability to break free of those worldly restrictions and embrace something larger than ourselves, something unknown? As we traverse time, how do we achieve immortality or eternity? As we see in the final fate of the town of Macondo, what will happen if we fail in our quests? Or are our lives preordained, outside our abilities to re-write our existence outside of the script of the universe?
This book poses so many questions that it can be read and re-read and yield a different experience each time. One of my top 5 of all time.