One hundred years of solitude (sort of a book review)

pdfs. I think we all have a lot of them in our phones. Downloaded; to be ignored forever, never to be opened unless checking to see what it is about or just going through them when we are bored. Which is exactly what I was, lets say, because admitting that I am supposed to be studying 24/7 isn’t easy. Anyway, like any normal person, I looked for an escape and like any normal person, I looked for it in my phone and found this book.

This book is so freaking insane.

When I first scrolled through it, I thought it’s a war story and the main character is this dude named Colonel Aureliano Buendia who is always taking great pains to give us a detailed account of the weather and with some melancholy, talk about every memory that each element of nature in that particular instant brings back to him. You’d think this guy discovered Spain.

This overview didn’t spark joy, honestly, but anyway I started reading it for the sake of reading and forgetting that anything in the world other than it amounts to anything more than mere silent existence. guess what, I love this book so much. 8/10. Perhaps, the fact that I had never read anything like it before (magical realism is my new favorite), made it even more amazing and devote-your-whole-day-to-it-able for me.

My favorite character is probably Ursula. A total boss woman and the only Buendia with actual functional brain cells apart from Jose Arcadio Buendia (the main guy, the first guy, the sitting under the tree guy) who definitely has my respect and whom I would refer to as nothing other than ‘sir’ if I were in Macondo and I would stay as far away as possible from Amarantha.

(Ok I am not even going to talk about Rebecca’s parents’ skeletons lying about in the Buendia house dancing tiredly in their dirty old sack and no one caring about it at all. Its so frustrating like bro please just bury them already) isn’t it very much like how the ghosts of fictional classical dead people might actually invisibly be? Or the strong but silent schemes of the quiet and mysterious characters?

While we are at it, can we talk about how cool is the name Gabriel Garzia Marquez? I wish my name sounded that dope. He lived up to it, though, didn’t he? I would expect nothing less from a Gabriel Garzia Marquez tbh. I remember thinking ‘this guy is nuts’ and at the same time knowing that he is nothing less than a genius.

Sometimes I think about how Remedios the baby grandmother and Remedios the beauty had kind of a similar fate. First of all, they were both too pure for this world and secondly they had to deal an unwelcomed and unwanted attention and sexualization in their own innocent manners. Through them, the author has portrayed what is devastatingly fundamentally wrong with society and it’s attitude towards women.

My guy Melquídias was awesome through and through. He literally knew about every bullshit that this race of Aurelianos and Jose arcadios and Amaranthas would pull in a hundred years and wrote about each and every one of them in Sanskrit and mathematics. Admirable. I bet the Aureliano Segundo part was in stats though. Not to forget Melquìdias cured the town’s insomnia!!! That was something.

The amnesia itself was something. I think it being contagious is one hell of a metaphor.

Intentional forgetfulness leads to total oblivion. We help each other forget things that would have , other wise, lasted longer in its full glory. We take pride in forgetting the past, the languages, the words, the stories and we encourage each other to move on and create new lives and realities. But it wears us down. It tires us. It drains our energy. I suppose it’s because some part of the killed memories remain inside of us , crippled and angry, gnawing weakly at our hearts because there’s nothing much more that they can do. The unnoticeable and negligible feeling of unease passes away in seconds but it has long term damage. We celebrate advancements, intentional or accidental like the people of Macondo thought of the diminished need for rest as a chance to work more, earn more, party more and be better all in all. Then they got bored, they were hopeless and so fucking tired. The gentle weight of memories and the heavy weight of knowledge, everything that made them them was shed from their shoulders and they were left behind wide eyed and clueless. What does that remind you of?

And the rain!

The four years, eleven months and two days of rain in Macondo which started after the banana company killed all it’s workers and fled the area (more ‘realism’ than ‘magical’ tbh)

Úrsula always tried to go a step beyond. Open the windows and the doors, she shouted. Cook some meat and fish,buy the largest turtles around, let strangers come and spread their mats in the corners and urinate in the rose bushes and sit down to eat as many times as they want and belch and rant and muddy everything with their boots, and let them do whatever they want to us, because thats the only way to drive off rain.

Ursula 1:0 Fernanda

Like the Colonel’s routine of making metal goldfishes, the story too, seems like a habit of history. The twins (maybe) exchanging names and forgetting who is who to the twins dying on the same day and their coffins getting mixed up and their gravestones bearing names that they didn’t live their lives with.

That’s not even half of everything I want to say about this book but maybe some other time. Girl has to go to school now. Alrighty.

The god of small things (sort of a book review)

7.5/10

I read this book about two and a half years ago for the first time and I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t for this outrageously appealing look of it having been hastily thrown on the dusty floor of an old book store selling second hand books, waiting there patiently and a little angrily to be picked up, put on one of the shelves or on top of one of the piles on the floor at least. I had been looking for some other book that I don’t recall the name of any more.

This is the only work of Arundhati Roy that I have read so far and the score above should tell you that I absolutely loved it. It’s perfect for someone like me; to whom any spoiler is not spoiler enough. She tells us the ending of the book in chapter 1 and I think that’s admirable and really really brave of her but of course she is a great writer and would not, for the love of her life, ruin the mystery or to say “the confusion lay in a deeper, more secret place” .The lack of mysteriousness in the tone of the book makes it so much more intriguing. Roy would just nonchalantly mention things as if we are already supposed to know the whole story. She goes ‘oh yeah so it happens’ and we can’t help but think “no shit but HOW”.

I like how she questions the vulgarity of the love laws that exist(ed) in India where the color of your skin and your profession and your father’s profession and your great great grandfather’s profession decide(d) your worth as a human subject in a capitalist society but most importantly, it decided who you can love and how much. It’s the same with the whole world, to be honest. It’s really something that needs to be talked about more. A lot of our cultural norms are severely racist and misogynistic.

Ammu. When I first read it, I thought Ammu could have avoided all the despair that took over the lives of Rahel and Estha by, well, by not falling in love with someone she wasn’t supposed to look at, let alone be with. Then I realized, that’s the whole point of it, isn’t it? One can’t decide a human being’s value based on the color of their skin and the surname of their ancestors. It’s kind of stupid but after having been disappointed by history many many times, it’s not hard to imagine humans doing stupid stuff anymore.

Human 1 : oh look at that! It’s so stupid!

Human 2: yeah ikr. let’s do the same.

Human 1: eh.. okay.

That a woman that they had already damned, now had little to lose, and could therefore be dangerous.

I suppose a woman who has nothing to lose would be kind of dangerous. Just the thought of a woman who has already faced every painful consequence of every bad decision is so wild, in a way. I guess it’s the same for every other gender. Humans are shackled to the ground because of their loved ones and the inanimate and the abstract things that they hold dear. I wonder if anyone ever runs out of things to lose.

Ammu was disgraced and disowned and lost Velutha to the hate laws but she still had her twins. Her twins, to whom she was both father and mother and whom she loved double.
Despite having been anchored to the world by her children, after Velutha, she was but an Ammu shaped hole in the universe. I wouldn’t call that dangerous. Haunting and heavy on the conscience but not in the least, threatening and scary.

The brown household and it’s great many condemnable traits have been portrayed really well. Mammachi’s weird obsession with her son and her hatred towards his love interests, Pappachis jealous-of-his-wife antics, baby kochamma’s gaslighting parasitic behavior, a divorcee being treated like scum, the american cousin being all the hype and the apple of everyone’s eyes even though she would sooner call them a bunch of idiots than family.

I have no comments about Rahel and Estha’s relationship to be honest except that they seem to me to have been portrayed like soulmates. Brother and sister, who always said “we” and never “I”. I mean soulmates aren’t always some stereotypical heterosexual non-platonic couple, right? Well, I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure I’m not.

This novel might be called depressing and too sad in some circles but it’s just common everyday stories of every other house. Stealthy slavery. In many households (especially in joint family systems) still, there is a kind of an absurd power struggle amongst the absurd number of people who think they are in charge of everyone else’s life and more importantly, finances. Hiding behinds the many excuses of the family’s honor and shameless emotional blackmailing, little mischievous villains ruin more than they would ever think themselves capable of ruining.

“And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. Big Things lurk unsaid inside.”

This master piece won the booker prize in 1997. This book is so important and filled with an emotion so raw and genuine that one can’t help but feel both dumbstruck and aggrieved. I love how the story is structured. It is as if Roy blended her skills as an Architect and as a writer to create a very unique way of story telling.