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Showing 1-10 of 544 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,525 reviews
on May 5, 2014
One Hundred Years of Solitude really isn't as difficult or confusing as some reviews make it seem. People make it seem like it's impossible to get through so many repeating names, but even when the characters share a name, almost every single character (until the last generation--and by that point the first characters are long gone so that it wasn't really confusing) has a unique name. How is that confusing? And anyway, it doesn't take too many chapters or a genius to figure out they all share the same names for a reason. Also, I must say, if you don't like the first 50-100 pages, you probably aren't going to like the rest of the book. It stays like that... Plus, the first Jose Arcadio Buendia is one of the more entertaining characters in the book, in my opinion. But, I think Aureliano Segundo and Remedios The Beauty were the highlights in this book. I was cracking up throughout their scenes.

Although I feel I missed a lot about what was going on symbolically whilst reading (mostly a lot of the religious stuff), I still found this book to be extremely enjoyable. It's inspiring and surreal, whimsical, funny and sad--and it all causes a person to feel very introspective, because it blends so many aspects of what makes up a person's life. I looked up some of the themes and motifs after reading to make sure I caught everything, and I prefer many of my own interpretations. And I think Gabriel Garcia Marquez meant to write it in a way that was a more personal experience. At the end notes, he mentions in an interview how he wanted to capture the way an abuela tells stories to her grandchildren-- and I got that vibe the whole time. And a lot of times, the surreal in crazy old latin american stories is what makes you remember the life lessons behind the story. And I feel like that's what happened here.

But again, I feel like most people I know wouldn't like this book, and I can see where they're coming from. It definitely isn't for everyone. And I must stress that that's not coming from a pretentious place. His writing style will be frustrating to many readers I'd presume, because it's really just incredibly unique. But, if you can get past the style (long paragraphs, little fluctuation in narration, mentioning things that haven't really happened yet, or no main protagonist... etc) and the repetition of names, it really isn't super complicated or anything.

It isn't perfect, but It's great. And even though I started this review planning to give it four stars, after writing it--I think it's an important enough, and intricately weaved enough, and a unique enough a piece to warrant a 5-star from this fella.
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on February 23, 2016
This, in my opinion, is one of the world's best books. I can't imagine anyone not liking it. I have to buy a new copy, every now and then. This one was for my daughter. My parents used to keep a big stack of them handy, to give away to friends.
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on September 11, 2012
I first read this book in a college English class. Then, as a teacher, I chose this for a class I was teaching. I would recommend reading this book every couple of years as, depending on where you are in life, you will get something new out of it. This is my favorite book by Marquez.

Garcia Marquez masterfully tells this tale, set in Latin America, about the birth and death of a family as revealed to the world by the finest of Latin American writers in the genre of magical realism. It is an essential book to anyone who wants to look at Latin American literature. Each time I read this book, I have found it to be funnier and sadder than the last.

I am a serious reader, a lover of life, and a happy person except when I am not, and I usually have something good to say about every book I read if nothing other than I note a graceful turn of phrase or a creative use of some word but to say a book is one of my favorites and that I actually can recall the book title and author (I have read far more than one book a week since I was about 10 years old) is not to be taken lightly. This book is right up there in possibly my top 5 all-time favorites. Magnificent might be the best way to describe this book. Perhaps in my list of books to recommend, besides Irving who is my all-time favorite, would be Cuelho and Marquez as do-not-misses.

The story itself can be a bit confusing but you cannot help but be sucked into the story about the town of Macondo and the lives of the Buendias, each with their own very unique life: some adventurous, some like hermits. The viewpoint is seen through thr eyes of the people as they see themselves growing toward modernization with the discoveries of Melquiades and Jose Arcadio Buendia, and the Banana Company (and its later massacre which haunts the town). The lives of the residents are a metaphor, in fact, for the reaches of our imagination and it requires us, the reader, to think perceptively about life.

Read it if you have not already. I promise you will not be bored.
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on May 26, 2016
This is a famously fabulous book, in many senses of the adjective. I've tried to wade through it several times, but this is the first time I've made it all the way through. Unlike some other wonderful books, this is one is easy to pick up and put down, for there's no danger of losing the thread of the narrative. There is no single thread, but a tangle of them. Trying to separate them is to lose the point, if any. It's hard to follow the main character, for he has the same name as about a dozen of them. The solitude of the title is enjoyed/endured by many people with the same name - and by other people in their peculiar universe, together but apart. Disturbing and oddly humorous at times.
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on May 24, 2017
I haven't got through much yet, but you should know, the Oprah Book Club paperback edition is poorly printed. It has halftoning and jagged letterforms and edges, which makes it less easy to read. Not impossible, but just not great. If you can, find another printing.
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on July 4, 2015
The book was in great condition, and good as new.

As far as the book goes, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favorite books of all time. I've revered it for it's writing style, the plot, and the way in which Marquez encapsulates and engulfs the reader into his theme of magical realism. Reading requires a certain level of patience, and such is demonstrated with Marquez. The book culminates so beautifully that I can't help but be dumbfounded. It's a book that you can read and think about for the rest of your life. It highlights the themes of solitude that we so comfortably forget.
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on January 3, 2017
I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude in my Latin American Literature course and I've been hooked on Gabriel Garcia Marquez ever since. The plot and timeline move quickly and fold in on themselves, making each page interesting, but a little tough to chew on. This is not a light read. If you blink you'll miss something. It's definitely one of my favorite books and I'll read it time and time again. This book is the pinnacle of magical realism.
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I first read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" not long after it was first published in English, almost 40 years ago. It was a wonderful, and magically, if you will, introduction to Latin American literature. Subsequently, I've read several other works by Marquez, notably, Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International) some 20 years later, but none have quite cast the spell of my first "love," this one, so I figured a re-read was in order. The "magic" of magic realism has lost none of its charm.

The story involves six generations of one family, established by Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran, who also helped found the town of Macondo, in the lowlands of Columbia, though the country is never specifically identified. The in-breeding (and also out-breeding) in this one family is simply astonishing. I can't remember if the original edition had a genealogical chart at the beginning, but this one does, and it provides an invaluable reference in keeping the philanderings, and the subsequent progeny, straight, particularly since numerous individuals over the generations have the same name. What is the "Scarlet Letter" that is prophesized for a family with such a high degree of consanguinity? That a child will be born with a pig's tail.

Marquez dazzles the reader with the intensity of his writing; it's as though he had a 1600 page book in him, but is given a 400 page limit. It is the furious sketching of a street artist, making every line count in a portrait. The strengths, follies, and interactions of the men and women are depicted in memorable events. And there seems to be a realistic balance and development of his characters. Marquez is also the master of segue, from one event to the other, and from one generation to another, with his characters moving from swaddling clothes, on to adulthood, and then into their decrepitude.

From my first reading, I had remembered Rebeca, with her "shameful" addiction to eating dirt. First time around, I chalked it up to Marquez's "magical realism," since no one really ate dirt. Several years later I learned that it is a wide-spread medical problem, often driven by a mineral deficiency that the person is trying to remediate. The author also describes the disease of insomnia which was spread to Macondo, with an accompanying plague of forgetfulness. Magical realism, or the forgetfulness of the "now" generation that has lost the stories of the past?

Establishing the time period comes slowly. Marquez mentions Sir Frances Drake, but he is in the unspecified past. It is only when a family portrait is taken, as a daguerreotype photo, that one realizes it must be in the 1840's-50's, with six generations to go. There are a multitude of themes: since this IS Latin America, Marquez has the obligatory gringos and their banana plantations (alas, all too true); there is endless, senseless war, with the two sides eventually unable to state what they are fighting for, except, of course, the war itself; there are the women who drive men crazy with their beauty, and there is the spitefulness of women to each other (alas, again, the "sisterhood'); there is economic development, and a worker's revolt, and the use of other members of the same class, but in uniform, who repress it; there is the role of the Catholic Church in Latin America, and even a family member who would be Pope and there are unflinching portrayals of the aging process, alas, to the third power.

On the re-read, I noticed a portion of the novel that was much further developed in Innocent Erendira: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics). Also nestled in the book was an important reference: "Taken among them were Jose Arcadio Segundo and Lorenzo Gavilan, a colonel in the Mexican revolution, exiled in Macondo, who said that he had been witness to the heroism of his comrade Artemio Cruz." Checking Marquez bio, he has been a long-time friend of Carlos Fuentes, slipped this reference in 100 years, which is an omen for me, since I was considering re-reading Fuentes marvelous The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel (FSG Classics) And in terms of omens, redux even, do future travel plans include meeting another character in the book, the Queen of Madagascar?

I recently had dinner with a woman who had been Ambassador to one of the Latin American countries. Spanish is her native language, and she still reads some of the Latin American writers in Spanish to "keep her language skills up." As for "100 years," she had read it four times, each time in English. It's a record I am unlikely to repeat, but this novel, which honors the Nobel Prize with its name, could use a third read, if I am granted enough time. It ages well, sans decrepitude, and provided much more meaning the second time around. 6-stars.
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on February 6, 2016
This book made me realize so many things about what it is to be a writer - this author expanded my Universe of the constructs of what a novel is, he is breathtaking in his intellect and approach to the development of a powerful theme and levels of message; one of my top ten books ever read. m
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on November 30, 2015
I bought this book not really knowing what I was getting into. I was ambushed by tremendous storytelling and characters and a world that I inhabited for a month, and will gladly inhabit again. This book truly moved me, and it surprised me after reading it how polarizing the reviews are for this book. The translation is beautiful. I also originally wanted to get a digital copy for my kindle, but glad I got a paperback instead as it reminded me what a great experience reading a physical book is.
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