Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Nobel Laureate

Five years ago I pulled a book off a shelf in the sitting room of a volunteer home in Costa Rica. Over the course of my two week stay, I read Love in the Time of Cholera.

His work is beautiful and tragic. It is heart-stopping in both depth and beauty.

Perhaps it was the Latin American environment I read it in and my nostalgic way of being, but this book struck me as unlike anything I had ever read before.

When I read last month that he had passed away, I felt the urge to revisit his stories. A pile of books later, I am starting on my mission...novels, short stories, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life by Gerald Martin. A Colombian man with a close friendship to Cuba's Fidel Castro, a Nobel Laureate, a writer with a combination of realism and imagination, I'm not sure how he doesn't make for an interesting read.

Love in the Time of Cholera tells the story of a lifetime between a man and his wife, beginning at the end and working its way back to the start. It is the story of a distinguished Doctor, still practicing in his 80's, and his companionship with a wife over the course of several decades; of trials and triumphs, opportunities and wrong turns....

“He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked at her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful than she had ever seen them in half a century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: “Only God knows how much I loved you”

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the story of an isolated community with little contact to the outside world. It is a story that highlights the course of this community and its family's leadership throughout a century.

"Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction." 

His language is thick and rich. It is a poetic, beautiful prose that is becomes all-consuming endeavor to work your way through.

I would recommend his books to anyone with an interest in Latin American culture and any person who shares a deep love for language and for epic storytelling.

Check back as I make my way through this stories and life, in the memory of an incredible human being.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Beautiful Day? A Behind-the-Scenes Wedding Story Set on Nantucket. Need I say more?

Beautiful Day by Elin Hildebrand

Wedding season is almost upon us, and what better way to kick it off than with a good, old-fashioned wedding story about the....Maid of Honor, the Groom's mom, the best-friend Bridesmaid, the Bride's dad...and the dysfunction that a wedding party can hold!

This is not really a story about a wedding; it is story about life and love and the many milestones and bridges to cross along the way. All smushed into one fabulous-action packed wedding weekend.

What could possibly go wrong for a June wedding on Nantucket Island? 

This book will take you on a rollercoaster of the days leading up to the wedding. The love-sick couple,  Jenna and Stuart, the scorned and bitter Maid of Honor, the divorced and then reunited Groom's parents. It serves to ask and answer the question of what love means, what commitment means, and what $100,000 wedding might include...

And tying it all together is the notebook...a book filled with all of the suggestions for a wedding constructed by the bride's mother before she passed away years before.

I got a kick out of the Southern groom's family and the Northern bride's family. Margot, the maid of honor, will slowly become your favorite character, and you will find yourself rooting for her in the end. Stuart's mother will transform from an interference to a woman of strength and dignity.

Do I recommend this to my soon-to-be brides or will I be responsible for a tailspin into wedding anxiety? I debated this throughout much of the book, but have to conclude it's a "worth it" read. But if my bride friends and their mothers are skeptical...Hildebrand has many wonderful summer-reads, all set on Nantucket, to choose from.

My favorites are:

The Blue Bistro
Summer People (my first Hildebrand read)
The Beach Club

You can also download the short story The Surfing Lesson, which directly ties in with Beautiful Day, as an ebook introduction to her writing.