"What is your favourite book, mum"
How many times have my children asked me that, growing up with a mother who spends most of her time reading - to them, alone, for work, for pleasure - or looking for new books in bookstores wherever we happen to be.
"I can't answer that, there are so many books I love, and in different ways!"
"Just name one that comes to mind!"
And I said, without really knowing why, and without thinking:
"One Hundred Years Of Solitude!"
This novel taught me that chaos and order are two sides of the same medal - called family life. It taught me that sadness and love go hand in hand, and that life is easy and complicated at the same time. It taught me that many wishes actually come true, but never in the way we expect, and most often with a catch. It taught me that sun and rain follow each other, even though we might have to wait for four years, eleven months and two days for rain to stop falling sometimes. It taught me that there are as many recipes for love as there are lovers in the world, and that human beings are lazy and energetic, good and bad, young and old, ugly and beautiful, honest and dishonest, happy and sad, all at the same time, - together and lonely.
It taught me that we are forever longing for what we do not have, until we get what we long for. Then we start longing for what we lost when our dreams came true.
This novel opened up the world of absurdities to me, and dragged me in like no other. In each member of the Buendía family, I recognise some relation, or myself, or both. Macondo is the world in miniature, and wherever I go, it follows me like a shadow. It is not rich, peaceful, or beautiful. It is just Macondo. No more, no less.
My favourite book I don't know. There are so many. But I don't think any other could claim to be more loved than this one.