One Hundred Years of Solitude
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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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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...
I read this in Spanish, to be certain to enjoy his colloquial language and expressions. To be honest, I didn't even mind the fact that there was so little dialogue. His words were just -- perfect -- sometimes harsh and profane to fit the characters. Above all, his preference for couples with a large age difference was obvious throughout the book.
But in a hundred years, a lot of characters died and newborns were given the same name. It became challenging to know who was who in terms of decades. The war ravaged the whole town for twenty years, coming and going. And very, very few characters were actually happy (this is realistic though, just not a good place to escape from my own unhappy days.)
Not a book you can read in a few sittings, but special nonetheless.
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
This product was received in good quality from supplier within the expected time, so I am very happy with it.Published 4 months ago by Victor
The book I received is very small in size, like a pocket size, Picador edition. Not shown on the advertized book, not the cover page picture you see on here. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Magic realism rules! One of the 20th Century's greatest novels.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer