- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; 1REV edition (Feb. 21 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060883286
- ISBN-13: 978-0060883287
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 594 g
- Average Customer Review: 519 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
One Hundred Years of Solitude Paperback – Feb 21 2006
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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.
“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)
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On another note, I especially visited Baracoa, the place that Macondo is claimed to be modelled on. Dont know if that claim is true, or whether it was my imagination, but it did feel a wee bit eerie being there.
Solitude is a metaphor, for melancholy, seclusion, mental illness, and many more similar feelings. Everybody goes through some dose of solitude through life, and it's nice to be able to reflect through Marquez's characters. What is interesting for me though is that most of the characters would be committed into instructions or jailed in our modern societies. However, with all their idiosyncrasies, obsessive-compulsiveness, and plain madness, they all managed to go through their existences long before the advent of mind-numbing medications.
Life was sure simpler, and far more entertaining back in this era. I would recommend this book, to anybody who wants to expand their literary horizons, and their understanding of some dark corners of human nature.
I can only hope that Marquez is spending the last days of his life at peace with his solitude...
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