Friday, March 20, 2009

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

T. C. Boyle elects Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude as his book of a lifetime.

It may come as a great shock to my readers to discover that I wasn't always the elegantly dressed, highly attuned citizen of the world they have come to know. Far from it. In fact, for some time I was a quite clearly deranged wild-haired youth dressed in motley and living in hippie squalor in the gatehouse to a castle on the Hudson, in company with three dogs and three glowing specimens of my own species.

I was experiencing nature. And reading. (As well as other things it would be impolite to mention in a family newspaper.) In that period I came across the magical realists of Latin America: Borges, Cortazar, Asturias, Garcia Marquez.

I can still recall the excitement of stretching out my long undernourished frame on a very doggy sofa in front of the fire and coming upon the exquisite opening sentence (which I am quoting from the very copy I then held, which is, as you can imagine, much the worse for wear): "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

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