Hugely overhyped pile of turgid dross. South American history written as soap opera, and I suppose that is the point of the book, that South American history is a soap opera. But a decent novel should make that point and as a novel should transcend the soap opera format. It is not enough to make the point that the continent is a confused, dreary mess, by writing a book that is itself a confused, dreary mess.
This book never even gets within a country mile of being an engaging novel. The writing and translation are clunky. The characters do not engage the reader - I really could not care less about any of them. Even the character names are needlessly confusing - perhaps Marquez is making what he thinks is a clever point about family inheritance and the recurrence of history. Think again GGM.
The plot is confusing, but can be summed up as follows. Page 91, the liberals are winning the war. Page 92, the Liberals are losing the war. Page 93 the Liberals have won the war. Page 94 the Liberals have lost the war. Page 95 the war is still going on. Repeat ad nauseam. Who cares?
The only good thing about this novel is that it is not as dull as Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game. But then neither is the telephone directory. Forget this drivel, and find someone who can actually write a novel.