The night I finished it, the summer of 2007, I lay on my stomach in bed and looked across the pillows at Jeremy and said, I don't think I'll ever read another novel again.
What shocked me, in the last 30 or so pages of the novel, was how perfectly and precisely plotted the whole book was. That what happens in those first few pages, first few chapters, sets into motion something cyclical and inescapable. Like "Love in the Time of Cholera" this novel is just as much about the inescapable realities we create for ourselves and others, and time, and its effects. Here, you'll find, there's a sense that time is more fluid. (In "Love", which I recommend, the construct is much more rigid.)
What I am reveling in, right now, is seeing it all set up so minutely and intently. It's all the stuff that hit me like a tsunami, the revelation, the oh-my-god-that's-what-this-is-all-about kind of thing.
Things I underlined and want to discuss, or return to: (all page numbers from my copy, an Avon books PB, which is probably a lot different than yours.)
"Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls (11)."
The episode where young Aureliano, age 3, tells his mother the pot of water will spill (23). This certainty in seeing the future, a sort of fatalism that doesn't change a thing, is compelling. It's as though, looking forward or back, nothing can be changed. It's almost what Daniel Faraday and Eloise Hawking tell Desmond Hume in LOST; you can't change it, and the more you try, the stranger things are that happen to keep time in order.
This sense of the unchangeable future, and the completely tangible and present "past," is echoed in JAB's sort of disinterest in his sons. When Ursula tells him of Aureliano's psychic fit, UAB dismisses it as a "natural phenomenon."
Somehow, that seems to be the point, here: none of this is fantastic, none of this is strange. It is just natural.