Marquez’s “insomnia plague”

“In the meantime, through an oversight that José Arcadio Buendía never forgave himself for, the candy animals made in the house were still being sold in the town. Children and adults sucked with delight on the delicious little green roosters of insomnia, the exquisite pink fish of insomnia, and the tender yellow ponies of insomnia, so that dawn on Monday found the whole town awake.”

—Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

A passage from Márquez’s legendary book pulled from an episode in which an “insomnia plague” comes to the town of Macondo. Initially they are all very happy and productive because they never get tired, but eventually they all slowly begin to lose their memories.

It’s a good thing Whiskey Transfusion bought this book, read it, and loved it (among other things, he said “it pretty much covers every literary theme that exists”), because it means I’m finally reading now. Magical realism is the shit. I’m only 60 pages in but it is so so so great. But don’t take it from me: in the NY Times Book Review, William Kennedy wrote, “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”

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~ by toren on July 28, 2011.

5 Responses to “Marquez’s “insomnia plague””

  1. I agree. I got it as a gift for my 15th birthday, so re-reading it probably would be good (although I don’t believe I’ve ever actually re-read something except classical things). Have you read Love in the Time of Cholera?

    • you’re not a re-reader?!?!?! man, I’ve read the Golden Compass series at least 3 times. and most dave eggers books twice. not to mention i read the phantom tollbooth probably upwards of 20 times when i was little.

      i haven’t read Cholera — this is my first Marquez adventure. and what an adventure it is! i’m not big on doing two books in a row by the same author, but i’ll definitely keep that one in mind for down the road, especially now that i’ve (finally) consolidated all my books/movies/tv shows/music suggestions into one big word document on my desktop.

  2. I’m reading Love in the Time of Cholera right now! It’s sitting next to me. Wowwwwzzzzzz.

    Toren, you’re going to love the rest of that novel. If you haven’t read it yet, an interesting book to follow Marquez might be The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. It’s not in the same genre by any means, but uses some of the same massive multi-generational narrative arcs as One Hundred Years of Solitude. Oh and it won a Pulitzer in 2008 so I guess it’s like critically-acclaimed or whatever.

    • i have read Oscar Wao and I love love loved it. I got it for Christmas a few years ago and gobbled it up over the course of one week during the summer or something.

  3. Yeah, I’ve always meant to be a re-reader…

    I read Love in the Time a few years after 100 Years, and it is really excellent. But give yourself time. Marquez is like that.

    On that note, maybe I should look into Oscar Wao. I’m about to finish “North Toward Home” by Willie Morris–a great Mississippi writer (the movie “My Dog Skip” came out in our youth based on his book about his childhood dog). North Toward Home is his major autobiography. He was from a small town in MS, went to UT Austin in the 50s, was a Rhodes Scholar, then became a politics reporter in Texas for a while before moving to New York, where he would become the youngest editor-in-chief of Harper’s. It’s incredible how much his experiences even then resonate with how I have felt about being from Mississippi.

    TV-wise, I finally gave in and became addicted to 30 Rock.

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