Includes a bonus PDF with a character chart!
One of the twentieth century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.
The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.
Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility, the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth—these universal themes dominate the novel. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an account of the history of the human race.
©1964 Gabrriel García Márquez (P)2013 Blackstone Audio
One Hundred Years of Solitude has made a name for itself as one of the most stunning novels of the 20th Century. So, it’s no surprise that many readers, like myself, have anxiously awaited its release on audiobook… yet it should also come as no surprise to fans like myself, that this is an intricately woven piece of literature, often requiring a little legwork to fully grasp the complex web of characters. I went into my listening experience knowing this, and after reading some scathing reviews by other listeners – while I understand how translation from page to digital can create some inevitable need for clarifications – I have to disagree with such harsh reviews that seem to trash the audiobook as a whole. If needed, there are plenty of resources online to help the listener along, not to mention, a hard copy of the novel (which, in my opinion, everyone should have regardless)! I found John Lee’s performance full of clarity and rhythmic narration, quickly and effectively engaging me as a listener. After much anticipation, I was thoroughly pleased with this audiobook, and would definitely recommend it - with the understanding that, as a novel, it is complex – but SO worth it!
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude about 10 years ago, and have re-read it or referred to it many times, since. When I saw an email from Audible.com that it was now available as an AudioBook… I downloaded it immediately, as it is ALSO narrated by my All-Time favorite reader, John Lee so I did not even listen to a clip of it. Now, I am in several hours of my first listen, and, I feel bad about “warning” listeners, but this needs to be said:
The printed book comes with a handy chart of who is who, and how they are related their relationship together, whether they are married or have children… etc. THIS audio version does not have that chart (it’s like looking at a complex family tree) and at the pace that John Lee is tearing through it… he gets my vote for “fastest readers on Planet Earth” (Lee could , unless they just finished the print version it is super confusing. Many characters either have the same, exact name and the words just *sparkle* in writing. I remember sighing with joy and reading the same line over and over as it is one of the best written books, ever. I still recall that a tear of joy or gratitude came into my eyes many a time during both readings.
Reluctantly, I must give one of my all-time favorite novels a less than stellar review. I suppose there is a website somewhere that has the chart, but not even this listener (me) can understand what is going on…. And Mr. Lee is reading it so fast that the words do not sparkle. They are yelled at you, rushing by someone who needed to use the bathroom immediately or is late for an appointment and must hurry! It’s a very bad production. If one loves beautiful, poetic lines, then, please pick up a paper copy.
One hundred Years of Solitude MUST be read in print, as uninitiated people not familiar with the book will be even more confused as I am… It is hard for me to give a beloved novel such a low rating, but I must. If you have ever had ANY interest in reading OHYoS, please get a printed copy or download it into your reading device. I know the story by heart (I read it twice in a 2-year period because I am in 2 book discussion groups) and it was just as gorgeous the second time around. Whoever produced this beautiful book did a VERY poor job. And, it needs to come with a link to the chart… otherwise, you would not be able to tell who is who or what is happening.
What a bummer!. I thought it would be brilliant and amazing to listen to it, but it is frustrating that John Lee did not even pause for punctuation, much less read it as fast as possible (is Audible trying to win an Olympic medal for being the world’s fastest reader?), and that it is truly a terrible blow. I am SO disappointed. OHYoS’s audible is not good at all. In fact, it is frustrating and disappointing. I just want to find my print copy and read it again, savoring each line by exquisite line. Skip this format, and go find a nice paper copy, or AT LEAST follow along with whatever reading gadget you have... You will not be disappointed. This new Audio version blows. Such a giant let down for this OHYoS fan.
Lover of stories, particularly those with a sound that makes poetry.
I read this book in Spanish twice and in English once, but I had never enjoyed it as much as I do now, as I listen to it in my car on my way to work. The quality of the voice, its depth and resonance and the rhythm of the language have taken the story to new depths. Previous books by Garcia Marquez, have ben read by Latin accented narrators, and while I do not diminish their quality and professional talent, I believe that John Lee is a much better narrator for this book in its English version. I am genuinely bilingual and do not agree that a book has to be read by a Latino accented narrator just because it was originally written in Spanish. One Hundred Years of Solitude, is so big a story that it transcends cultures and gains when read by people in whose language it is translated. I live in Australia and I did not enjoy listening previous books by GM read with a heavy Hispanic-Californian inflection. That’s because this regional accent takes the story away from its narrative setting, Macondo, and locates somewhere in a neighbourhood of the United States where Hispanic people live. John Lee’s version gives this story its universality, and makes it a joy to listen, even when he has to round his vowels with a slight effort to pronounce Jose Arcadio Buendia, and that makes it special. In my humble opinion, an audio book works when there is harmony between a good story and an enjoyable sound, for it is sound that paints the picture. For example, I didn’t enjoy The Book Thief when I read it, but when I listened to its audio version, I was fascinated. Well done John Lee. I’m sure the master is happy.
Some books, like Joyce’s Ulysses, gain immeasurably from audio readings but paradoxically can be frustrating to listeners because of the density of detail, number of characters and the bewildering nonlinear narrative flow.
I think 100 Years falls into this category. Fortunately, I discovered an approach that helped me a lot. I first simply listened to a chapter, then read the SparkNotes and/or Cliff Notes chapter summary available free online (referring to the character lists as necessary) and then re-listened to the same chapter. I found my comprehension and enjoyment of the book increased dramatically.
It also increased my appreciation of John Lee’s approach. He reads the English translation with a rhythmic lilt, which usually I associate with poetry, not prose. But it gives the book an “epic” feel as if you were listening to the Bible or Homer or Dante being read. I initially found this strange and irritating but grew to appreciate how it created a dreamlike, hallucinatory quality.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I love this book. It has been described by no less a judge than Salman Rushdie as one of the best books in any language in the last 50 years! High praise indeed, and thoroughly deserved. It is a tour de force of imagination, perseverance and detail. The carefully drawn portraits, like looking at charcoal sketches brushed together when the subject wasn't watching, are exquisite in their details and perceptions. I read it with vigor over a few days.
But that was some time ago.
Having listened to "Love in the Time of Cholera" recently, I really had to have another go at this classic. I did this despite the reviews that warned of Lee's narration and the difficulty people had following the plot line. I was wrong; I should have paid attention to reviewer's I trust. That said, I was underwhelmed by this production for different reasons than those advanced in earlier reviews.
My main problem with this production was with the narration. I have scored it accordingly. However, it was not the speed (or not just the speed) and it was not the complexity of the repetition of names (as generation after generation of Aurelianos and Arcardios and Ursulas passed accross the virtual pages of the story). Really, if I am truthful, it was the accent. Lee has a hint of the Scott in his voice that makes him sound like Sean Connery from time to time. With the affected Spanish overtone this reminded me (by unfavourable comparison) with Connery's Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez in the "Highlander" franchise. It just did not fit. Add to that the speed and the Spanish/Latin names and it just didn't work for me. I really had to push myself to listen to the wonderful ending to this wonderful book.Such a pity.
In retrospect, I suggest that you get the hard copy and read it. I hope you love it as much as I do. Alternatively, wait for another version to be released.
As a book, it has been—after some treasured volumes of philosophy—the closest to my heart. I re-read it every few years to renew the taste of Garcia-Marquez' languid poetry in my mind. As an audio book it ranks in the top dozen, but no closer, I suppose because John Lee's somewhat grand and booming interpretation jars with my own imagined version of the words spoken aloud.
The epic of one larger-than-life family's history across a hundred years, it is similar to Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. It stands out, however, in it's exploration of subjective reality (magic realism), and the themes of solitude, melancholy, the fluidity of time, the cyclical nature of man's weaknesses, tragedies, strengths, and triumphs. It is said to be a metaphorical picture of Colombia.
lively, inarticulate (with the Spanish names and words), stentorian
I think a bi-lingual reader might have made a better narrator, as John Lee's Spanish names were always very laboriously and stiffly pronounced.
Also, Lee always performed all the men's dialogue with the same sleazy, drawling, South-of-the-Border caricature voice, and all the women's dialogue in a slow exhalation that made the characters sound dazed and hypnotised.
All of which diminished the dignity and the humanity of Marquez' characters a bit.
Still, I have waited so long for an audio book to be made of Marquez' greatest novel, that I enjoyed the overall experience immensely.
The choice of John Lee to narrate this story is incomprehensible. Don't get me wrong, Lee is a great narrator, just completely wrong for this book.
I would place One Hundred Years of Solitude in the top ten novels ever written.
You can tell he went to great lengths to get the pronunciations of the Spanish names correct. Everything else is with a very proper British accent. It distracts from the story continuously.
Changing anything would border on blasphemous. If anyone thinks they can write a better tale than Gabriel García Márquez, go for it. Don't draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa
I can only assume that the editor who chose the narrator for this book is off looking for someone with a heavy Japanese accent to narrate upcoming Dostoevsky audiobooks.
Say something about yourself!
I had read this book twice before--so I knew what I was getting into. The narrator did a wonderful job, the names rolling easily and swiftly from his tongue. Those names, so similar, are sometimes confusing so I got out my paperback which has a family tree at the beginning. It would be good if audible offered a download of the family tree to help keep track of the generations of the Buendia family. Did I say I love this book?
This is the second reading I've attempted by John Lee. His accent grates on my nerves so that he ruins the texts for me. His Spanish accent is oddly slow, and while the pronunciation is correct, it sounds stilted and invariably pulls me out of the story when he comes to a word in Spanish. His English is also punctuated by odd humming pauses.
Yes. It can be hard to follow the story and characters and that is why I must listen to this book again. Difficult to listen to the narrator.
"Beautiful story - poor performance!"
If the the narrator would not immitate an accent, and interpret all the women of every age as sounding like a cliché of drowsy, tired and yet mysterious old ladies. He turned the characters into parodies.
Yes - as I have previously read this book, I know that my bad experience is not based on the story but on the narrator
As previously mentioned, he turned the entire thing into a parody on south-american people - especially women! AND his accent was very weird - why roll the r's like that?
Sometimes you could hear the difference between takes - like a skip in the recording or a change in volume.
"Awful reader, especially of women."
John Lee reads each sentence with a pompous and repetitive tone that is utterly divorced from its meaning, a real shame for a writer with such deftness and subtlety. The most offensive part of his performance, however, is his insistence on reading any female speech in the book with a ludicrous, breathy voice, thus undermining every female character. Can you imagine how farcical it would be if a female reader decided to do a comically deep and macho 'caveman voice' every time she spoke for a male character?! So off-putting I almost abandoned the damn thing on several occasions.
"Right book wrong reader"
Classic book & shame that no one will like it due to the reader
Possibly if it was non fiction
So many strong Latin American voices...shame for such a classic book the producers screwed up with the choice of voice
About this performance: the narrator makes all the characters sound pretty much the same. In a story where many characters already share first names, it would have helped to give them some individuality by varying the voices. I can see how this reading might correspond to the abstract spirit of the novel, but I found the listening experience monotonous. The book didn't come alive to me.
Keeping this short, there's hardly much I might add with any elaborate analysis to the wonder that is Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude". It's funny, and I mean laugh-out-loud funny, it's emotionally draining; exquisitely written, both poetic and perceptive, it's full of great characterization, all sorts of interesting turns of events and all this narrated with precise, economically beautiful language.
The audiobook was delayed, for some reason, and only released this year. John Lee's narration seems to draw the ire of many, but I for one absolutely loved his reading. True, at first I was shocked – the ebb and flowing of his sentences felt idiosyncratic and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But I continued listening, and very soon I found myself acknowledging that Márquez's narration is just as idiosyncratic, if not more. I was enticed by the words and the voice. In the end I was so involved I was sad when I was finished.
I think this is a wonderful audiobook, not only because the book is among my all-time favorites, but also because of Lee's performance. I've never heard any of his audiobooks before, and he sounds a bit like a musing Hugo Weaving or a Raul Hilberg. This book sold me on the idea of finding more works read by him.
"What an apt title"
In high school English class, we learned about the run-on sentence.
I appreciate the cultural relevance of this book to Latin Americans and related scholars; however, not being one, there is absolutely nothing here for me to relate to, to clutch at, no common frame of reference, nothing universal enough to compensate for my blatant Europeanism. I hung on for a good few hours... but eventually lost my grip and gave up.
Probably not, unless highly recommended by someone who's read this review
Lively, theatrical, appropriate for this material
Reading some literary critiques and analysis helped me see the qualities - the political relevance, the symbolism.
"boring and iincomprehensible"
I had read another book by this author and enjoyed it very much. I was therefore very disapppointed that i did not enjoy this book. in fact, i didnt finish it and I rarely give up on a book. It would have been more enjoyable with more personal character storyline instead of endless talk of war.
more interesting characters
John lee was fine as a narrator
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