However, after two of his novels, I'm left unsatisfied. I admire him, I'm in awe of his craftsmanship, I wanted to like him, I love magical-realism, but alas, I didn't fall in love.
Marquez strings together his characters and events in such a way as to make me feel like I'm sitting on the precipice of a steel chair, waiting for a gun to go off, for heaven-only-knows what. When I read fiction, I want to feel like I've sunk into a cushy armchair. Even if it's in a fetal position and watching over my shoulder. I want to sink into the characters and their story.
Marquez just won't let me do so. He shoves events and thoughts and motivations and ideas down my mental throat until I'm gagging.
This phrase in One Hundred Years of Solitude sums up how he writes;
"... [he] had concentrated a century of daily episodes in such a way that they coexisted in one instant."
Exactly. And I get that, I really do. Yet I prefer it used as a sparse tactic rather than the pervading style. I want a chance to care, so the author needs to leave me guessing and yearning. Instead, a character is introduced and killed off within a paragraph.
I also need emotions, and lots of them. Marquez's I'm-on-speed style skips over heart and soul and goes straight for the jugular. He'd make an amazing journalist - a detached recording of tragedy, joy, and people's behaviours that passes on to the reader. The book gasps and writhes and yet never comes alive for me.
At a much lesser level of grievance, is his obsession with incestuous and pre-pubescent lust. A teeny bit here and there is enough. But both novels are drenched in that murkiness and it doesn't do it for me. It has no real point.
I will remain an admirer, but not a fan.