“I say extraordinary things in an ordinary tone. It’s possible to get away with ANYTHING as long as you make it believable.”
I read “Love in the time of Cholera” in school, high school to be specific. Like many others, I took it as a subliminal love story that was tragic as much as it was touching. The fact that I did fall into the author’s trap was a side-story to the effect the magnificent novel had on me. Here was a man who ‘waited’ all these years for the love of his life, and after all these years, managed to eke out an existence out of his single-minded lovesickness. Deceptive, the book, at the early stage of my life that I read it, did not appear more than the giant love story that it came out to be.
I picked up “One hundred years of solitude” only a couple of months back, having postponed reading it till such time that I could understand at least 70% of what the author set out to convey. The thing about magical realism is, I think, that you need to be aware of the author’s background and milieu more than when you’re reading a linear multi-generational saga of love, loss and illusion. The permutation of possibilities and meaning that such winding narrative can depose in front of you speak volumes about how tough and difficult it is to structure something of this stature. More than its effect on me, I loved the book because I realized how much effort must have been put to bring something like this out. That, in itself, was sufficient to propel Mr. Marquez to a cherished author I liked to read. Not re-read though. I would be dishonest if I state that I would re-read this magnum opus anytime in the near future. There are just too many books out there for me to even consider investing so much time again on this labor of love. Having said that, my recollections, or snippets of what I still can recall from the novel will still be etched firmly in my memory. And that’s more than I can manage.
For me, the structure of the novel sometimes becomes more important than the plot itself. Can you call Marquez a writer’s writer? Maybe so. But hey, how can I tell? “Crazy people are not crazy if one accepts their reasoning.” I am willing to accept his because his is a composition I loved to simply experience than understand. “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” I remember the Love in.. as a love story and that’s what matters to me. I will remember One hundred.. as a sprawling family saga.
“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” Thank you for letting me know what dreams can encapsulate and convey Mr. Marquez. I will, someday. reread these two volumes and remember again.