Monday, January 3, 2011

Marquez and Macondo


Because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth. As I write this, I am in a state of trance. About a year and half since I read it the first time, I picked up One Hundred Years of Solitude 3 days ago to rekindle my interest into reading in the hands of a master. I have not been proved wrong in my firm belief that Marquez is perhaps the most original writer of our time, endowed with a rare streak of disbelief in reality and more so with an uncannily obsessive quest for originality.

You will not be really able to fathom what I say unless you have been absorbed in the lives of Buendias and only when you become one of the men in Macondo, breathing out the hot noon sun, and be a part of the banana workers' strike will you understand the awe in discovering ice for the first time in your life. It is so weird talking about One Hundred because it cannot be talked about like anything else real, like a thing which has existed forever. Like both we and Marquez discover at the end of the harrowing journey, Macondo is true but only confined to the limitations of our imaginations, it is real but only as real as you would want it to be.

Only as I sit down now to write about the book, do I realise upto the full extent the prowess, genius and unbelievable tenacity of a writer of Marquez's calibre and the gaping holes in my writing abilities come to the fore. Forget writing anything atleast half as good as One Hundred, even writing about it is stretching my abilities to the limits and I lack a sense of, like Marquez would say, lucidity in deciphering the most obvious of strokes. One Hundred Years of Solitude is not a story to be told and re-told. It is a journey which has to be made to the deepest and darkest of human emotions and a test of human belief in reality in the face of an overwhelming adversary in the form of imagination. Much has been spoken of Marquez's magic realism but it is not something which can be talked about, but is something which has to be experienced to be believed.

Through the constant effort of reading, you will be tugged in a war between real and imaginary, truth and lies, memory and reality and hallucinations and life. You will be stuck in spiral of time, space where all that can happen to you is fall deeper into the abyss and all you can hope for is that impending halt. You will want to finish it but at the same time, you will want to continue the journey because nothing more in this metaphorical journey would be truer than the cliche of journey being more important. Travelling in a land where people accept flying women but are awed by ice and magnets, where people are unflustered by following butterflies but are frightened of trains and where hundred years of life is but lived in one moment, it is hard for you to keep your bearings of the world. But that is what precisely Marquez's masterstroke has been. He does not narrate you a folklore as much as make you a part of it. As is realised in the end, you are not reading somebody else's story but of fate of people interwined with yours and all you can do in the end is gape in horror and awe.

That is all I can write about now. If you have read it, you will know the kind of nervous tension in the pit of the stomach which accompanies every word that gets into your conscience and even you put the book aside, the flurry in your subconscious mind does not let you rest until you have straightened out the relationships between all the people in the family. There are two ways of reading books, one is reading them, looking at all the characters talk from a third person point of view, not getting mingled with them. The other way is to live with the characters, share their fears and apprehensions, grow with them and share their fates. Marquez, here, does not give you a choice of staying untouched. All you can do, is take a deep breath in, dive and get submerged in a land of magic realism.

1 comment:

  1. I am not intended to comment on this without reading that piece. Will get back to this in a week or two. Peace.

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