Thursday, 18 April 2019

One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
First published in Spanish as Cien años de soledad in Argentina in 1967. English language translation by Gregory Rabassa published by Jonathan Cape in 1970.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the world's most famous novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, blends the natural with the supernatural in on one of the most magical reading experiences on earth.

'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'

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and its miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book, and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy and comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in 2015.

I had One Hundred Years Of Solitude on my kindle for nearly a year, since I enjoyed losing myself in my first Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, Love In The Time Of Cholera. One Hundred Years is equally as immersive a novel which tells the story of a remote South American village from its inception to its happy years, on through a nationwide civil war, to its near destruction by greedy white industralists, and through years of constant monsoon-like deluge. I love the huge scale of the story, especially as it is contained within a single small village and, a lot of the time, in one large house.

The extended Buendia family are the central pivot and their matriarch, Ursula, is a great character. She sees several generations live and die, stay near or travel away, and all named for the generation before which leads to incredible potential confusion for the reader. It seemed at times as though all the many male characters were named either Jose Arcadio or Aureliano! Initially I tried to remember the familial relationships of each as they were mentioned, but this became far too baffling so I instead just kept reading and found that discreet indications in the text allowed me to know about whom I was reading as I got to know the family better.

Marquez' knack for language and description is fabulous. I loved imagining the invasion of the schoolgirls, Aureliano playing the accordion at his parties, the Colonel becoming wearied of endless war, Melquiades continuing despite death, the old Jose tied to the tree, the candied animals and the little gold fishes, the gringos locked behind wire fencing in their chicken coop houses, the people becoming moss-covered in the endless rain. One Hundred Years Of Solitude is worth reading for its imagery alone, but when so many human stories are threaded through as well, the novel transforms into a superb experience.

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  1. I have a best friend from Ecuador and she LOVES this book like crazy and has been telling me to read it for over an year now. And now you have written this glowing review of the book and it seems like I really need to get around to reading this one. So happy you loved it, the story and the writing style combined ^.^

    1. It's one I think you might appreciate aspects of, but be aware that there's a lot of magical realism in it so I wonder if that would put you off?