Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of those iconic pieces of literature that can only happen at the right time, in the right place, to manifest into something brilliant and powerful. What more can anyone say? All the superlatives have already been properly applied and my praise would be just like any other. What I kept noticing are the rules Marquez consistently breaks, the ones that every writer learns from reading Writer’s Digest and books on writing. Do not use passive voice. Do not give more than one character a similar name. (If possible, do not even give them names with the same first letter!) Break up blocks of exposition with dialogue. And keep the prose simple. Whatever! Marquez hasn’t followed any of these rules and breaks them not only with impunity but to such excellent effect it makes me wonder if the rules are right. Then again, the rules are probably there for writers who do not have Marquez’ brilliance. Odds are, breaking the rules in the hands of anyone other than a master would result in a mess of words on a page that aspire to be more than a disaster.

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