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Why A Duck
08-30-2001, 08:41 AM
I'm just finishing this book by Gabriel García Márquez, and although I am enjoying it, I do find myself having some mixed feelings. I'm curious how others feel about this work.

Let me start by saying the One Hundred Years of Solitude is on its way to having a permanent home on my 25 best books of all times list. I fell in love with the story, the style, and the language.

I picked up The General in his Labyrinth fully expecting more of the same, but unfortunately I'm not enjoying it quite as much. Granted, Mr. García Márquez's writing style is still flawless, but the story itself isn't drawing me in.

Part of it may be cultural. I'm not from South America, and Simon Bolivar has never been one of my ancestral icons. Also, the characters in the book all have very Spanish, and to this Yankee's ear, similar sounding names which add to the confusion of which General is which.

Part of it also seems to be a result of too much detail. In the afterword, the author described the long process of writing this book and the laborious research to discover any minutiae concerning Bolivar and especially his life during the subject river trip. All this is well and good, but sometimes I feel that he is working a little too hard to add historical detail instead of concentrating on the man and his life.

Still, the character of Bolivar does shine through. During his interludes and fond rememberences, you can see what made this man so special to the people of that region.

I'd appreciate anyone else's thoughts on this book or Mr. García Márquez's work in general.