One Hundred Years of Solitude is filled with all kinds of intriguing pairs and oppositions that interact in fascinating ways. Think of the Aurelianos versus the José Arcadios, the optimism versus the pessimism, the magic versus the mundane.

As you read a book of such incredible fullness and scope, you can't help but develop insight into the detailed evolution of a family and a town—the way their genesis provides a balancing portrait of humanity—with all its joys and woes, its successes and calamities, its loves and hates.