Reviews - What do customers think about El Siglo De Las Luces / a Century of Light?
Masterpiece Aug 2, 2003
This book is an absolute masterpiece. I started reading it a few years ago when I was a lot younger and got throwed back by the long sentences and immense vocabulary Carpentier uses. However, now that I am a little older and have more patience, I can say that this is one of the most impressive novels ever written in Spanish. This book deserves more than five stars.
a true example of the modern Baroque Jul 31, 2001
Carpentier's Siglo de las luces (The century of light) is the novel that can truly be called the key representative of magic realism. In the story of three brothers wandering all around the world the author crammed every little detail of the wonders of the eighteen century America (and of some parts of Europe). Thus he gave a sweeping portrait of the atmosphere of the age of the Enlightenment (hence the title), how the elevated ideals gradually drowned into blood and destruction. Carpentier originally studied music theory and we can say that in this book he found the closest equivalent in prose to a Beethoven symphony. In his literary essays he also talked about the existence of the eternal baroque, which roughly means that during literary history there are always periods when the rules of content and form are subverted. The finest example to the existence of the baroque in the twentieth century is precisely not only because of the luxuriant action but because of its carefully planned, winding sentences. Because of its difficult syntax and vocabulary, the lengthy sentences crammed with every possible little detail of the described scene, this book is not an easy read, especially originally in Spanish. Partly because the story is not set in our time, reading this book can be compared to the reading of a great Baroque classic, it conveys a strange eternal feel, similar to watching a flamboyant gilded altar of a XVII century church.