Wot, no chicken?

100 Years of Solitude is one of the books I have loved the most; I read it every year throughout my twenties, and have read it a few more times since then.   As with many of my favourites, I acquired a hardback version and the paperback was lent out to friends and family in an attempt to enlist other devotees!   But when I read the hardback, something was lacking, and it wasn’t until it was returned to me some years later that I realised just how much I loved my old Picador copy.  How often, I recalled, had I paused in my reading of the text to gaze at the cover and wonder: (in conjunction with a perusal of the family tree at the start of the text) attempting to establish which characters in the Buendía family were included; what period in the book’s chronology was captured in this snapshot; and simply to allow the atmosphere of this simple picture to carry me deeper into the book’s  magical realism.  So I would say that the cover helped to enrich my experience of reading this marvellous story, part of the  tangible pleasure that a much-loved tatty old book can give!  Sitting down to copy this evocative picture in my own ham-fisted style has been a treat in itself, reminding me of the treasures within.  Posing as if for a formal family photograph are: Amaranta (with the black gauze on her hand), Santa Sofía de la Piedad, José Arcadio Segundo, Colonel Aureliano Buendía (seated,with his arm in a sling), Fernanda del Carpio and Aureliano Segundo, Úrsula cradling  José Arcadio in her arms, and Remedios the Beauty sitting on the floor with her shaven head and her crude nightshirt!  Unusually, there is no mention of the artist on the back of the book, and I haven’t been able to find out  in order to pay proper homage.  No other cover of 100 years of Solitude has come anywhere close…Soon time for another re-read, perhaps when the weather is a little more García Márquez and a little less Solzhenitsyn!

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