Monday, 11 March 2013

Neither 100 Years of Solitude nor a Beehive;using our initiative

Two books marked my adolescence; "100 years of solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and "The Beehive" by Camilo Jose Cela. Both Nobel prize winners, had an idiosyncratic vision of contemporary life in the 50s and 60s.
 In "The Beehive", action is not required of the characters as they hum round in an apartment complex which seems like a beehive in post civil war Spain. Dreary with no seemingly hopeful future, burdened down by ordinary life and a struggle for survival for the lower middle classes of Franco's  Spain. It decided me against conforming and narrow mindedness,  principles I still adhere to. As you read the novel, which is beautifully written in crystal clear and concise objectivity (at first glance!), a huge irritation creeps on you with the characters as they do not seem to get out of their situations, with a deep ingrained fatalism.That, I said, is not going to happen to me!
The second novel, "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is written in the magic realism style so well done by the author. it describes 100 years of the history of a fictitious small town called Macondo in the heartland of Columbia. Characters of the Buendia family retain a sense of genealogical linkage and the weight of forefathers with their namesakes. The absurdity of political smokescreens give a different reality, add pathos to the characters as they wander through their lives not fully knowing what is really happening. The reader does neither, which adds to the mysticism.This too impacted me by the vivid language  written in beautiful Spanish prose. The style takes you along into the story as it unfolds  but in the end you remain mystified. I certainly did not want to walk my path in life in this smoggy mystic environment
Both books showed me the other side of reality and imaginative reality, so the real thing to do was to use one's initiative in trying to move the way you want, in spite of the bigger picture of society, political and economical environments which can constrain you. Initiative is positive:  if the outcome is negative, you fall and sit up again,; if the experience is positive  the wind of fortune leads you! So in this time of crisis in Europe, initiative is even more important for all of us. Don't be afraid to use it, don't be calcified into a set way of life, we only have one and must live it to the full!


  1. So positive and joyful blog ! Thanks Josina, a touch of color in a grey world !
    Feeling better already !

  2. Always love to hear your take on books - I'm going to send a link to this to my daughter, who really enjoys speaking and reading Spanish these days!