My big read

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
Greg Mosse dips into the BBC's Big Read top 100 books

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE. By Gabriel Garc!a M rquez.

No one can sleep. It is the insomnia plague. The villagers' memories begin to fail. They label things, so as to remember their names. Then they add instructions to the labels: "This is the cow. It must be milked each morning to get milk and the milk must be boiled and mixed with coffee to make milky coffee." A sign is erected at the entrance to the village:

"Macondo" - in case they forget where they live. A larger sign is erected in the main street: "God exists" - in case they should forgetI Is that a story of faith, atheism or superstition? I know what it tells me.

What does it tell you?

There are 480 pages in my edition of Cien a$os de soledad, each one glittering like a fragment of glass in a kaleidoscope held up to a brilliant light. It is - simply - the best novel ever written.

Greg Mosse is education director of www.orangelabyrinth.co.uk, an online resource for readers and writers. See www.bbc.co.ukartsbigread for the full list, resources and details of related programmes. To subscribe to the National Literacy Trust's Big Read e-newsletter, see: www.readon.org.uktbr.html

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