100 Years of Solitude by the recently passed Gabriel Garcia Marquez is like the Angelina Jolie of books. Viscerally beautiful, yes, but it is also a beauty that penetrates past the thin layer of the superficial to reach that innermost core that radiates through time; a certain type of beauty that you only see once in a lifetime, but remains imprinted in your consciousness forever.
The book spans the entire lineage of the Buendia family and the town that is born and grows with them. The book seems like an impossible feat as it has so many characters, with only a handful of different names which can get confusing. However, there is a family tree at the beginning of the novel that helps when you forget which Aureliano or Arcadio you’re reading about. Despite the numerous members of the Buendia family that are introduced, each character is complex with their own unique lives, yet they each are distinctively Buendia.
Marquez captures the composition of life across generations of the Buendia family: present passions that seem so meaningful that are rendered futile at the end of one’s life, the slow encroachment of death on life, the greed of power that only bestows blindness, lustful sexual need that radiates from the body, spiritual beliefs that go out of fashion with modernity, and really all the thematic paths of life, all in a single book about a single lineage.
The word that keeps coming to mind when trying to describe 100 Years is “swirling”– the generations, lives, and stories that pour forth from a husband and wife. Marquez writes evocatively and incomparably beautifully because no one that I’ve ever read has written like him. Marquez is certainly deserving of all the praise he has received and is missed as a literary giant of the 20th century.
P.S. The little baked goods are from Basho on Victoria Drive and Hastings St. It’s a very cute little Japanese cafe run by a mom and dad with the daughter working the espresso machine. It’s quite a small cafe so I wouldn’t recommend sitting there and reading as it takes up valuable space for other paying customers. The baked goods are very Japanese in taste, which means nothing is super sweet or very bold as Japanese people prefer milder and subtler tastes. Sesame brownie (probably the strongest flavour), matcha mochi brownie, coconut almond cookie, kabocha muffin