One Hundred Years Solitude Hardcover – Feb 25 1970
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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 the Paperback edition.
“More lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from 100 years of novelists, let alone one man.” (Washington Post Book World)
“The first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” (William Kennedy, New York Times Book Review) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes 100 years such a compelling read is its incredible blending of the fantastical with realism. Marquez blends detailed accounts of absolutely impossible events with equally detailed accounts of completely plausible or historically known events with such equanimity of importance as to make them indistinguishable to the plot. And it works. Works better than anything written before or since that has had the label Magic Realism attached to it.
The reason that this novel is so successful is threefold. First, his characters are completely charismatic, as is his writing, you will find yourself with an undeniable affection for the story from the end of the first chapter on, I guarantee it. Second, the aspects of the story brushed with magic, fully half of the novel, are perfectly done, magical happenings emerging out of everyday circumstances and being reabsorbed into everyday life fluidly and seamlessly. Third, the cutting realism of the story, accurate down to the detail balances the whimsical.
A novel not to be missed, with a great ending and a wealth of well crafted circumstances written in prose that makes the heart wrenching as compelling as the beautiful, and makes the hundred year history of the Buendia family of Macondo one of the most rewarding reads available.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Magic realism rules! One of the 20th Century's greatest novels.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize, and I'm rating his book a 3 out of 5?!? I got some explaining to do. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Book Cupid
long and confusing, but apparently a 'must read'. i bought it when I was going to Colombia to engulf myself in Colombian culture by reading from it's most famous writers but found... Read morePublished 11 months ago by LF
Excellent Nobel Prize author, my daughter is enjoying a bit of Latin literature. She wants to widen her knowledge.