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One Hundred Years Solitude [Hardcover]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (497 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 25 1970

A best seller and critical success in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of teh mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. It is a rich and billiant chronicle of life and death and the tragicomedy of man. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendia family one sees all mankind, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo one sees all of Latin America.

Love and lust, war and revolution, reiches and poverty, youth and senility--the variety of life, the endlessness fo death, the search for peace and truth--these, the universal themes, dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark fo a master. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, alive with unforgettale men and women, and with a truth and understanding that strike the soul, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpiece of the art of fiction.

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"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."

It is typical of Gabriel García Márquez that it will be many pages before his narrative circles back to the ice, and many chapters before the hero of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Buendía, stands before the firing squad. In between, he recounts such wonders as an entire town struck with insomnia, a woman who ascends to heaven while hanging laundry, and a suicide that defies the laws of physics:

A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.
"Holy Mother of God!" Úrsula shouted.

The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, with sorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez's magical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whom José Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man's shade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with which to clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house."

With One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez introduced Latin American literature to a world-wide readership. Translated into more than two dozen languages, his brilliant novel of love and loss in Macondo stands at the apex of 20th-century literature. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Two modern giants (LJ 2/15/70 and LJ 11/1/61, respectively) join Knopf's venerable "Everyman's Library." If you've been searching for quality hardcovers of these two eternally popular titles, look no further.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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MANY YEARS LATER, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unparalleled Modern Epic Jan. 18 2002
By A Customer
I don't know what an average reader like me can say about this marvelous epic, but I love this book so much I feel compelled, as far as I am able, to give my thoughts about it.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is, without a doubt, the greatest of all Latin American novels. It is also the most captivating and masterful modern epic ever told. And it is an epic; it details the history of a people, in this case, the Buendias, the most important and influential family in Macondo. In fact, the Buendias serve as a metaphor for the development of Latin America since its independence. The book follows the Buendias through the founding, development and decay of their settlement in the jungle. Readers with some knowledge of Latin American history will easily recognize the development of Colombia in the book. The civil wars in the novel parallel the civil wars in Colombia from 1885-1902, and Colonel Aureliano can be seen as modeled after General Rafael Uribe Uribe. In fact, Gabriel Garcia Marquez' grandfather, himself, fought under Uribe. A knowledge of Latin American politics, however, is not necessary to enjoy and love this wonderful book. In fact, many readers see no political implications in the book.
There is a wonderful mix of the comic and the melancholy in this story. We meet characters who do the most delightful, or the most absurd things, and yet there is an undeniable strain of futility and sadness that runs throughout the entire book. Macondo is definitely a magical place and early in the book we come to expect the unexpected, to expect to be surprised, to accept the unbelievable. In fact, we have to ask ourselves if Macondo is real or if it is just a state of mind. Perhaps it is both.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisitely depressing Dec 19 2003
This book should be on your list of must-read great books. It is a long and elaborate story of unrequited love, family, and loneliness. However wonderful, it is almost morbidly depressing so for your own mental health read it when you feel strong!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..... March 17 2004
As I read the first third of the book, I kept having to go back to try and figure out which of the Jose's (there are MANY - half of the characters have the same name, it seems) was being discussed in each section. It was extremely frustrating - but I kept on going.
In the middle of the book I stopped trying to pay any attention to who was who and just read each anecdote as if it stood on it's own - congratulating myself when I recognized the character from previous events.
At the last - I finally started to know and care about the characters and really appreciate the beautiful images and the intense feelings and situations that make up "100 Years of Solitude". (By this time, I was also determined to finish it because my sister assured me that the ending was satisfying.)
It was satisfying - to the point that the final chapters made me flip back to the beginning of the book and read parts over again. Still, I can't give this book the rave reviews that the critics and fans of Gabriel Garcia give it - there were just too many Jose's.
I suppose that makes me a lazy reader, which is probably true. Still, the ending made me wistful that I had been half as involved with this long lived, passionate and magical family from the beginning.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping May 31 2009
This book is a terrific example of Marquez's magical realism. Moves quickly and captures your attention; don't pick this book up if you have something to do, it is very difficult to put down. I read it more than once, you see a different perspective each time!

Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 100 Years of Absolute Torture! Aug. 7 1999
By A Customer
This book is long, dull, boring and confusing. It lacks the passion that makes Love in The Time of Cholera so beautiful. It make "Tess of the D'Urburvilles" look like a fast-paced romp. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterfully Woven Words Dec 12 2009
Gabriel weaves his words like a master. His words are like a warm blanket on a cold day. I enjoyed the literary art of this book very much but didn't enjoy the story line. The book is about numerous generations of the Buendia family; their struggles, their triumphs, their strengths, their weaknesses. There were many interpersonal struggles; between the family members as well as between the family and the society they live in. Personally, it wasn't that interesting to me at all. However, I read on because of the skill and passion in which this book is written. Gabriel Marquez sews words together as a master painter shades colours and creates dimension on a canvas.
If you enjoy true literature as well as history and human relationships, I think you would thoroughly enjoy this book. If you love literature, even if the story sounds boring (which I found it to be a bit) it is worth the read, if only to see a master in action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 7 2005
One Hundred Years of Solitude attempts to define the human element by telling the story of a family in a fictional Latin American town, Macondo. The book recounts the rise to and fall from prominence for both the town and the family. The story begins with the romantic dreams of the town's founder, Jose Arcadio Buendia, and ends with the ruin of his family line , his house in disrepair and hurricanes ravaging the city he endeavored to make great. Mr. Marquez admirably tells the story of Buendia and all his descendents without losing the individuality of any of the characters. Though the Buendias tend to name sons and daughters after their grandparents, creating a confusing family tree, each member of the Buendia family has a distinct personality. Solitude undoubtedly prompts the reader to think about his or her own family tree and roots, and eventually what it is to be human.
Marquez's Nobel-prize winning talent shines best in two specific areas. First, it shows in the style Marquez crafted from the influences of everyone from Cervantes to Faulkner, magical-realism. Marquez credits his grandmother for the storytelling style. Magical realism affords him the luxury to describe a block of ice as a glittering wonder and the appearance of ghosts in the in a nonchalant manner. Though disconcerting at first, the style is both clear and exudes the charm of a child experiencing everything for the first time.
Marquez also dazzles in his ability to probe at the heart of the human element. Colonel Aureliano Buendia, the patriarch of Macondo's son, is seen as a cyclic person, who begins his life sequestered in a workshop making golden fish to sell at market, and after losing 32 consecutive wars, dies in the same shop making the same fish, which he eventually melts down to make more fish.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I hated it. I did not even finish it
I hated it. I did not even finish it.
Published 11 hours ago by Liz Malicote
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this book so much! GOTTA READ!
Published 22 days ago by Xuesong Li
5.0 out of 5 stars Begins with one of the most well-known sentences in modern ...
Begins with one of the most well-known sentences in modern fiction, and proceeds to astonish with word play of rare elegance, a consistent pleasure.
Published 2 months ago by Michael Chiasson
1.0 out of 5 stars The condition of the book was terrible!!!
For this reason I will not read this copy. I hope Amaxon will send me a better copy. Otherwise , it was purchase for nothing.
Published 8 months ago by Zoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Being from Venezuela originally, this novel was a compulsory read in High School. Back then I hated it and never even got to read half of it. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Cape Bretoner
5.0 out of 5 stars A Whole Lot of Solitude
I really enjoyed the book. Whether it is 100 years of Buenida family history spread over 500 pages, it flows very nicely. Read more
Published 18 months ago by ITS
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
I just finished this book for the second time, and for the second time, I was blown away by this book.
Published 18 months ago by Chantale
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.
Amazing story, great book. is the most amazing book I have ever read. I now know why Gabriel García Marquez deserved the nobel.
Published 19 months ago by Ursula-Buendía
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I enjoyed reading it! It is a bit long but very well written! One of the best by Gabriel Garcia Marquez!
Published 21 months ago by Moondrops
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible to read
I like books to have a point but couldn't find it in this one in spite of sincere searching. Maybe fantasy realism just isn't for me but how did this book ever get on "must read"... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2012 by tjw
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