“The spirit of her invincible heart guided her through the shadows.” This quote, about the matriarch of the family around which the excellent novel 100 Years of Solitude revolves, is from a scene in the novel where Ursula is about to die, at the age of 115 or so. She has lost her sight many years ago at this point in the novel; even without sight she is very much a vital part of the family for many years, memorizing the routines of the members of her family, and using the sun’s position to help her keep her bearings on what is going on in the family. It is almost miraculous how she is able to do all she does without sight. To sum up: The book is about a very large family and its cast of various colorful characters. The author wrote it in a style he originated, one called magical realism, which makes parts of it read like the author wrote down a dream he was having. Part fantasy–the book takes place in a made-up city the family founds, which later becomes much much larger–and part family chronicle, the theme of the joys of life resulting from the interaction between family members is often present in it. Covering the life span of Ursula, one of the founders of the town, and several generations of her progeny (in the edition I read, there is a family tree at the front of the book to help the reader sort out the characters), this novel is ultimately a testament to the importance of family in our lives.
Review: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez