Two Hundred Years of Solitude

Much of settling into a new home is looking for stuff. Not shopping for new stuff — though there is that — but simply locating the stuff you own already but which has been dislocated by that giant who lifted the roof of the house while you were away and mischievously stirred the contents with an enormous spoon.

One item I sorely wanted to find was my copy of the Gabriel García Márquez nutso novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’d started it on the other side of the Great Divide. It was then randomly boxed by the Packers of Doom and now I urgently required it. Nothing else would do.

Every box marked “books” I opened and searched. I opened and searched every box not marked “books.” I put each book one by one onto shelves, took them off again one by one, peeked behind, and one by one returned them to the shelves. No Solitude.

In desperation I solemnly announced: “I will buy another copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Nay, hang the expense, woman! Just you watch. No sooner shall I bring home a new copy than the old one will magically appear. There is no other way.”

So I went to Border’s and bought a new copy and moments after I returned the old one magically appeared.

I could only sigh and murmur the words of Aureliano Segundo, one of Solitude‘s protagonists, who was likewise wonderstruck by fecundity, though in his case, of livestock, not novels: “Cease, cows. Life is short!”

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; turned into English one word at a time by Gregory Rabassa
(HarperCollins Publishers, Paperback, 417 magically realistic pages)


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