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One Hundred Years of Solitude [Paperback]

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,004 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1998 0060929790 978-0060929794 Reprint
Probably García Márquez finest and most famous work. One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, alive with unforgettable 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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Editorial Reviews Review

"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

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 the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Classics
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; Reprint edition (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929794
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,004 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
365 of 383 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing and Marvelous November 10, 2000
There are relatively few books that I've had to read for my college classes and truly enjoyed. This was one of them.

Now, be warned: this is not a clear-cut story; the prose can be confusing, and the repetition of names makes it more difficult by far to keep track of who is who. The novel does indeed cover one hundred years, so expect to see favorite characters die if they first appear early on. There is no one protagonist. The family is the protagonist--the family, and the town.

Perhaps despite these potential confusions and perhaps because of them, Marquez has woven in this book a shroud of mysteriousness and magical realism that make reading it something like stepping into a dream; his Macondo is like nowhere else on Earth (or at least nowhere I have ever heard of), and things at once comic, tragic, and unreal can happen there. You will find dreamers and would-be scientists, layabouts and soldiers, matriarchs and wantons in this enchanted household. Enchantment of a murky sort hovers over the land like a haze, touching everything and separating the descendants of Jose Arcadio from the world as we know it.

You may not want to read it in one sitting; you may find yourself putting it down for awhile, confused or exasperated by the latest turn of events, but it is quite likely that you will pick it up again in due course with curiosity drawing you back into the realm Marquez has created. As classics go, this is one worthy of the title, and it is a story to be savored.
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219 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragi-Comic Masterpiece of Epic Proportions July 6, 2000
By A Customer
One Hundred Years of Solitude, the greatest of all Latin American novels is the magic and multi-layered epic of the Buendia family and the story of their jungle settlement, Macondo.
Like many other epics, this book has deeply-rooted connections with historical reality, i.e., the development of Colombia since its independence from Spain in the early 19th century. The story of the Buendia family is obviously a metaphor for Colombia in the neocolonial period as well as a narrative concerning the myths in Latin American history.
The finest example of magic realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a wonderfully comic novel, yet the book also exudes a pervading sense of irony; a strong undercurrent of sadness, solitude and tragic futility. The intermingling of the fantastic with the ordinary keeps readers in a state of constant anticipation, especially where the generations of Buendia men are concerned.
Some of this extraordinary novel's most important effects are achieved through the interplay of time as both linear and circular. The founding of Macondo and its narrative, for the most part, follow time in a linear sense, as does the history of the Buendia family, who form a series of figures symbolizing the particular historical period of which they are a part.
The book, however is almost obsessively circular in its outlook, as characters repeat, time and again, the experience of earlier generations. The book's fatalism is underscored by this circular sense of time. Even a name a person is given at birth predetermines his or her life and manner of death, e.g., the Aurelianos were all lucid, solitary figures, while the Jose Arcadios were energetic and enterprising, albeit tragic.
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184 of 198 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece. Classic May 25, 2000
The beginning of the book contains a family tree of the Buendia family, and if you're like me you'll surely mangle and dog-ear this page as you work your way though the book, trying to keep track of the Aurelianos, Remedios, and Ursulas.
But the struggle is worth it. This was truly the great novel that Garcia Marquez was meant to write; to me everything of Marquez that followed seems like recycled material. I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude years ago before moving to Latin America. Now that I here and have read it again, many of the messages that before were inaccessible now reveal themselves. The Story of Macondo is the story of Colombia and, to a larger extent, of Latin America. The reviewers tell us this, but it is amazing to see it with my own eyes.
The literal and the fantastic are interwoven with a seamlessness that amazes. One compares his style with Kafka before and Kundera after, literary voice established in this novel has withstood the test of time. It remains unique.
The book is at once funny, sad, tragic; it's history and fantasy. But overall it is a marvelous read. Clearly one of my all time favorites. There are very few books that I recommend as highly as this one. A true classic.
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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, difficult to follow January 2, 2006
By Q
I agree with others that this is a difficult read. I was honestly enjoying the book after the first couple of chapters, however. The writing is excellent, the story and its many twists intriguing. It all fell apart for me about halfway through when I realized I was no longer able to distinguish the characters and keep up with who was child of whom and who had died and how, etc. -- all critical to the continuing understanding of the story line. The author's choice to give the vast cast of characters very similar names was mind boggling. After a point, I simply could not -- without a fair amount of note-taking and diagramming I was not willing to do --keep up with all of the Aurelianos and Arcadios. Hats off to those who could finish it. I, unfortunately, could not.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Nobel Prize Really??
This may be the most overrated piece of fiction in Western literature. It is definitely not a page turner and halfway through it I wanted all of them dead.
Published 12 hours ago by Daniel J. Dupre
2.0 out of 5 stars No thanks
Tedious, and self-impoortant. Like others have said, it seems to start off promising, with the family plot unfolding and the magical writing style, but then it just keeps going on... Read more
Published 15 hours ago by C. Mazur
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic wonderful not to be missed one of THE most important ...
A classic wonderful not to be missed one of THE most important books this past 100 years. In particular Latin America. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Eric the bee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art
This is a work of art. If you read this book and cannot understand the reason it is a great classic, then do your research. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Picky Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
Few books contain as much story, tragedy, literary brilliance, character variety and life as this epic. Read more
Published 4 days ago by NJ
5.0 out of 5 stars I hear this is a really good book.
I've never read this book, although I have picked it up and read the first few pages. It's very difficult to follow, but I imagine if Marquez's brand of magic realism has the type... Read more
Published 6 days ago by pokemon mom
4.0 out of 5 stars one hundred years of solitude
Great book by a brilliant writer,kind of hard to follow. I really enjoyed reading this book. I learned of his recent death today. Recommend it to all
Published 6 days ago by jorge garcia
5.0 out of 5 stars Love you Gabo
A true Giant. Don't let the chapters of 50 pages overwhelm you. Its an amazing work and we celebrate his power and life today. Read more
Published 7 days ago by S Olson
5.0 out of 5 stars ~~Mysterious but Magical~~
I read this several years ago and just heard about the passing of this wonderful author. I found this book to be filled with realism and also a lot of mystery.. Read more
Published 7 days ago by A Navy Vet...VT town
5.0 out of 5 stars this is one of my favorite books of all time
I tried to read another of this guy's books but this is the one you want to read. one of the best
Published 11 days ago by C. Folger
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