November 17, Flying from JFK to SFO:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
That first line gives me shivers it’s so good. And when the end of this book came, sneaking up on me like the cyclone its pages describe, I had chills too. I cannot imagine a better written book. A book that succeeds in being so satisfying, so true, and so beautiful all wrapped up in itself like a perfect gift.
I started reading this book for the first time in a patch of warm sunlight in the grass of Golden Gate Park. The sun was warm in the chill air, the scent of eucalyptus was all around, the book itself had roughly-cut pages and a worn cover, a totally satisfying tactile experience. It was one of the few moments in my life marked for feeling perfectly content. I’ve done encyclopedic journaling of the low points, but this moment sticks out as a clear-headed happy brief second. This was right before Jill and I began dating. It was important to be happy on my own, and I was, alone in the park that day.
Jill began reading One Hundred Years of Solitude not long after we started dating. She picked it up in my apartment and started to make her way through it. One day, near the end, we had a cataclysmic fight and very nearly broke up. I forbid her to finish the book. Still to this day, there is a prohibition on completing this book.
That’s the beauty of this novel. It not just pulls you into that world of solitude, but Marquez’s world bleeds over into your own. The fantastical, the cyclical nature, it pulls its way from the pages into your everyday. Dangerous in that way like all the best books. And don’t we all need a little magic in our lives?
I like to remember enjoying this book so much because it came with that happy moment. From the fore, I neglected to think of this book as one of my favorites, because I assumed it was situational. I was wrong. In this case it is a reversal of the Thirty-Three Project narrative. I went into this full of suspicions about the temporal satisfaction of my first read, only to find that this is the perfect book. Rock solid in the top five of my canon.
You need a little magic in your life. Buy this book and read it or re-read it in the sun.