If read slowly and with great attention, this will be one of the best books you've ever read. If you are in the mood for a fast and fun book, put this one down and choose something else. This book will not be enjoyed if read one or two pages here, one or two pages there. It requires time and dedication, but the pay-off is great. When things get slow in the middle, find encouragement that the last 50 pages are worth the wait.
Marquez is a truly brilliant author. His use of 'mystical realism' weaves for the reader a tale that is both completely fanciful and utterly believeable at the same time. It was a beautifully intriguing story.
I don't really think this book needs my recommendation. It's a legend by itself already and I doubt what I have to say will influence your opinion more than the book when you actually read it. Still, I'll try to say what to expect and what not to expect.
Most readers don't need this warning, but some will probably catch the book because it's "well known and great". Remember, this is a classical novel, not some action one. If you need action and adventure, go elsewhere, just don't try to plow over the book and then give it a one-star rating - you have been warned.
Warnings aside, for a short description. The book is actually a case-study of one family's lives in a small village "on the edge of nowhere" (supposedly in South America, on the verge of the XIX and XX century, but this is not something you want to attach too much attention to, since the village is actually a sort of "neverland" and its geographical location is, I think, only due to the fact that Marquez felt better describing places that felt 'nearer' to him).
The book is actually a philosophical work, best described I think as a study of situations when a human being, though seemingly surrounded by friends, relatives and even loved ones, is actually alone. Hence the title - it's actually a study of solitude without solitude, a solitude among people. A study made by a brilliant writer, in a breathtaking style which makes the book read like a thriller. Marquez builds the magical place that is the village very meticulously, making you almost want to seek out this neverland in reality.
The main value of this book, its characters, atmosphere and the philosophy is not something you can describe in a review. You will just have to find it out for yourself. Which I greatly urge you to.
Very different, interesting...though a difficult read. I was glad they had a family tree in the front since most of the men in the book shared the same names. Fantasy-type story of a family in Mexico, with characters that live over 150 years, live tied to trees, and survive firing squads. Not the book if you're looking for an easy, quick read.
At first I couldn't get into it. I read a couple hundred pages and then stopped.. confused by so many names like the book of Genesis. However, some friends urged me to continue reading and I am so happy they did. This has become one of my favorite books and Garcia Marquez has definitely become one of my favorite authors. I've grown to enjoy his outlandish stories told in such a matter-of-fact tone. This book is all about the big picture (and is quite possibly enjoyed more in hindsight)... filled with stories of muted, yet colorful lives.