You gotta love Marquez, and he made for perfect Central American reading. Even in translation, his stately prose offers much to admire–people don’t quite assume that much authority anymore, and the world he lays out in so much pungent detail is something to revel in. The story, on the other hand, lost me somewhat after a great opening. How many outrageous and obsessively detailed anecdotes and labyrinthine detours can you stomach before it feels just a wee little bit like Gabo showing off his Nobel-awarded skills? Three hundred pages in, I was losing patience, the prose didn’t seem quite so assured anymore, and I was missing his trademark magic. (This is lyrical realism, but the supernatural is confined to tricks of language.) Disappointed and slightly exasperated, I was marking contradictions and sloppy exaggerations–until the final act won me back. The ending is one of the most absurdly romantic things I’ve ever read, so yeah, once again I submit to the fertile genius of GGM.