One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

gabriel-garcia-marquez-one-hundred-years-of-solitude-01

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

The novel is set up as a great epos, in the style of Homer or Virgil. It contains hardly any dialogue and and spans over many generations of the Buenida family. In some way this makes the story telling rather distant, but at the same time the novel is too inventive, amusing and magnetic to resist. The characters strike as actual human beings, both passionate and heartless, sinfull, original and most importantly very much alive.

I loved this book. I loved the writing style, the insane characters it features and the interesting, wonderous and horrifying happenings that occur. The goings-on in the novel are a metaphoric, critical interpretation of Colombian history, that guides the reader from foundation to contemporary nation, passing many important historical events such as the arrival of the railway; the Thousand Days’ War (Guerra de los Mil Días, 1899–1902); the corporate hegemony of the American Fruit Company; the cinema; the automobile; and the military massacre of striking workers as government–labour relations policy. This, combined with a touch of lyrical magic and the private passions of the characters makes for a story that feels both truthful and fantastical.

Two boys switch identity, an old man is tied to a tree, young, ambitious men become war criminals, a young girl carries a canvas sack with the bones of her parents and important documents spelling out and predicting the family’s tragedy lay forgotten for a hundred years. This is a story about the inevitable and inescapable repetition of history and the passions of real people. I recommend anyone to read this book and loose themselves in this brilliant piece of world literature.

Tip: If you buy this book, make sure you find a copy with a family tree in it, as more than half of the characters are called either Arcadio or Aureliano.

 

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7 thoughts on “One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

  1. “The characters strike as actual human beings, both passionate and heartless, sinfull, original and most importantly very much alive.”

    What a great way of describing the book. It has one of the best opening lines too. I used it as one of my Line(s) of the Day. I really did love this book. I have to re-read it.

    Liked by 1 person

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