One of the 20th 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
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.
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.
I tried....I really did. But I just couldn't get into this one at all. I gave up on it quite early on. Maybe it gets better? It's difficult to listen to and absorb, in part because the names are so challenging and hard to remember and keep track of. But also because I didn't like the way it was written and wasn't enjoying it at all. I'm afraid that I can't recommend this book.
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.
New Englander Living in Latin America
I waited 3 months to hear the promised narration by Jimmy Smits to come out in December, then that just disappeared. Then Edward James Olmos was the promised narrater to come out in January, I ended up paying for narrator John Lee who's a fine narrator, but he sounds like Sean Connery (almost) telling a story about ancient Columbia. I've sent 2 emails, both ignored, to Audible for an explanation.
There's no end to the engagement of listless and confused men with pathetic, skinny and abused prostitutes. Then there's the woman who sucks her finger and eats dirt and a host of other tawdry characters that apparently I missed what pearls of wisdom they are demonstrating about the supposed Latin culture detailed here by Marquez. I lived in Latin America for 4 years and thankfully it was much more interesting and sophisticated than this.
He wasn't Latin. He wasn't Jimmy Smits or James Edward Olmos.
I want a refund from Audio for selling me an audio book not narrated by the person I was buying it to hear.
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?
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!
If I could've followed the characters in the story. Even while consulting an online family tree diagram I was still lost. The first hour or two of the story was really quiet enjoyable and I was eagerly anticipating the rest of the book but somehow it took a bad turn and it literally became incomprehensible to me.
We are water by Wally Lamb
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.
This is one of my all time favorite books! I'm was so glad to finally find it available in audio. John Lee does a great job with the story which pulls you in quickly. I highly recoomend you give this classic a go you, will not be disappointed.
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