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One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.) (Modern Classics) Paperback – February 21, 2006
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"Regretting You" by Colleen Hoover
From New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters. | Learn more
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“More lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from 100 years of novelists, let alone one man.” (Washington Post Book World)
“At 50 years old, García Márquez's masterpiece is as important as ever. . . To experience a towering work like One Hundred Years of Solitude is to be reminded of the humility we should all feel when trying to assert what is true and what is false.” (LitHub)
"An irresistible work of storytelling, mixing the magic of the fairy tale, the realistic detail of the domestic novel and the breadth of the family saga.” (New York Times)
“One Hundred Years of Solitude is substantive and substantial, and its prose precise for the simple reason that its sentences are too exquisite to be inessential. It is a novel on which is bestowed the laurels usually awarded to great works of frugal prose. Yet its genius is in the operatic telling.” (The Independent)
“One Hundred Years of Solitude offers plenty of reflections on loneliness and the passing of time. It can also be seen as a caustic commentary on the evils of war, or a warm appreciation of familial bonds. García Márquez has urgent things to say that still feel close to home, 50 years after the book was first published.” (The Guardian)
“One of the seminal works of 20th century Latin American fiction, it is a classic.” (Variety)
“Fecund, savage, irresistible. . . . In all their loves, madness, and wars, their alliances, compromises, dreams and deaths...the characters rear up large and rippling with life against the green pressure of nature itself.” (Paul West, Book World)
From the Back Cover
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.
- Lexile Measure : 1410L
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Paperback : 417 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060883286
- Product Dimensions : 8.05 x 5.35 x 1.09 inches
- Publisher : Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint Edition (February 21, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Throughout the book you discover your favorite characters with their quirky personalities. The Buendia family is full of weird adventures and mystical encounters. From the gypsies to the invention of ice, the book jumps around from sentence to sentence illustrating the personality of this family simply in syntax. There is love, civil war, death, magic, and redemption in it’s many pages.
Many reviews had issues with the numerous similar names and found the book simply confusing. But if you were reading the book with a close eye, you realize that it was all for a reason. It was written almost “as if the world were repeating itself.” And as you struggle to read, “time put things in their place.” Yes, these are quotes from the book itself and are so direct to the theme and overall meaning that they seem to be overlooked. The book’s confusing almost repetitive nature was to illustrate a grand motif. The circular motif. How everything comes around in time. That fate is such a huge force in everything that happens.
Overall, I would give this book 4 stars. That seems low for all the good things I had to say about it, but in the end I rate it lower than 5 stars simply because I struggled to relate with it. It was so different from the books I normally read that it became hard to really be drawn into it. I did love however the circle motif and how everything wraps up just as it should. Sure, all of the crazy adventures and writing style was interesting and unique, but it didn’t capture me personally as well as it may have captured someone else. If I were to read this again (or another book by Marquez), however, I believe that I would feel more comfortable with the writing style and mystic side of the culture and I would relate to it better. I would suggest this book to someone who wants to try and read something different from a lot of other “mainstream” books out there.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
It was definitely like dreaming about a distant town called ‘Macondo’, with weird characters, all of them having similar names, making the read a bit difficult. I had to keep referring the family hierarchy given in the beginning to comprehend what’s going on and with whom!
So this was my first novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I picked it up because someone told me that he’s way too good, even much better than Murakami, when it comes to magical realism (I doubt this one though). Anyway, not getting into any comparisons. The tale is about a remote village called Macondo, and the family of Jose Arcadio Buendia, and his wife Ursula. The storyteller takes you through multiple generations of this family, with distinct and weird characters. Peculiar thing is, everyone is having similar two names, so half the time you’re confused what’s going on and with whom exactly. After a while, you get used to it though. So there’s some who makes gold fishes, some girl who eats dirt, gypsies with flying carpets, a man with super human strength, butterflies accompanying a guy, a blind woman who can see way too much, a woman who makes prophecies through cards and what not!
This is a book, that would take you through a dream world, where logic and realism would be defied, and you would witness something magical, something supernatural. I would put Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the league of Haruki Murakami. This kind of literature is definitely different.
‘Magical Realism’ is a fantasy style of writing where magical stuff, unbelievable things, - they happen as part of the daily routine. And such things are so seamlessly mixed with other occurrences, that it is not even pointed out, it just kind of mixes in. Some instances of Magical Realism in the book –
- Gypsies – they have flying carpets
- A woman, so beautiful, that men just get wasted in front of her
- A man has super human strength, and an appetite of multiple men
- A man has 17 sons, from different women, who arrive at his home at the same day
- A man living tied to a chestnut tree for 20 years
- A blind woman, who can see much better than others through her sense
- A woman making accurate prophecies about others
- A woman making her own shroud
- There are many many more examples of course
At a point, you feel there’s no real story. It’s just a family, and you’re just reading about them generation after generation, new children keep getting born or are brought to the house, and they get added to the family. They grow up, and you start reading about them. This continues through multiple generations. However, each character has a distinct story to tell, but the story itself is short lived and you move on to some other character. Hence, you get a long narrative style story where you keep touching different characters, and where the ‘Buendia’ family becomes the main character, and everyone else becomes secondary. This was my first reading experience of ‘Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ and I would say I enjoyed it. I won’t say it’s the best book or story I’ve ever read, but it definitely had its own charm. If you like magical realism or want to read such literature, I would recommend this book to you.
For others, I would also tell why you should NOT pick this book. If you’re looking for light entertaining reads, this one is not for you. The characters (And so many of them) are complex, with similar names. Half the time, you’ll be scratching your head and returning to the hierarchy tree, to figure what’s going on.
My second reason for wanting to dislike this book is the nominative confusion. It is primarily the story of the Buendia family in which nearly all of the sons, grandsons and great grandsons (&c) are called Arcadio or Aureliano, and most of the girl children are called Remedios. To go off on a tangent, I took a strong aversion to the confusion inherent in Hilary Mantel's first Thomas Cromwell book, and found the petulant correction in the second rather childish. Here,the confusion is initially solved by frequent reference to the family tree provided at the start. My second reaction was to go with the flow, and not worry precisely which generation was in the spotlight. Finally, the confused net of names simply becomes part of the fabric of the novel in which time and identity are fluid, twisting concepts.
My third initial difficulty came with the concept of time. I have a prediliction for good old fashioned linear story telling. Make your plot as complex as you like, but include in it a strong narrative drive, and I am happy. That is not the case with One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is better looked at as a patchwork tapestry, a series of small vignettes stitched together to make a rich, coherent whole. It can be appreciated from a distance, taking in the complete picture, or in close up detail.
The setting of the book is the village of Macondo, founded by Jose Arcadio Buendia and his wife Ursula on the banks of a river of clear water, somewhere in South America, one might guess at Columbia simply on the basis of the author's nationality. The time is also indeterminate, the hundred years seem to settle somewhere across the 19th and early 20th centuries, but some early chapters hint at being only a couple of generations removed from Francis Drake visiting South Amercia. The village, and in particular the Buendia family, are home to a wide array of quixotic visionaries, rock-like matriarchs, revolutionary fighters, tragic lovers, obsessive hermits and extravagant gourmands. It is the characters who are the jewels at the centre of the novel. Ursula, holds the family together despite the idiotic obsessions of her husband (which bring a great deal of humour to the early chapters), and the sexual excesses and military adventures of her offspring. Colonel Aureliano Buendia, fought thirty two armed uprisings and lost them all, survived fourteen attempts on his life, seventy three ambushes and a firing squad and eventually in old age supported himself by making jewelled golden fishes. Aureliano Segundo married a beauty from the city, Fernanda, but lives half with her, half in bacchanalian excess with his concubine. Fernanda herself who tries to bring order and gentility to the anarchy of the Buendia clan.
As well as writing a family history, Marquez also mirrors political history. Colonel Aureliano Buendia is a catalyst for endless revolutionary civil war, even if his fervour seems to be fuelled by raging testosterone rather than ideological passion. The coming of the railway brings American settlers and unprincipled capitalism. That capitalism leads to civil unrest, military atrocity and state suppression of the truth.
The military, political and familial turbulence is mirrored by a rampaging sexuality. Generation after generation of young Buendias slip the parental bonds to indulge in affairs with older lovers, prostitutes, mechanics and dance teachers. Incest is forever lurking in the background, together with the fear of genetic mutation and a child being born with the tail of a pig. Reading with a liberal European eye in 2018, some of the sexual politics is troubling. A young girl is married as soon as she reaches puberty. Marital rape is features strongly. The concept of the happy hooker is very much to the fore.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a long book, but there is so much in it that one feels its covers should be bulging. Strangely, however, if I was asked to distil a book so full of life down to a single theme it would be the rather bleak thought that we all die alone. In contrast to boil it down to a single word, that word would be "fecund".
As a final summary, stick with it, it's worth it.
The novel contains barely enough lines of dialogue to fill a couple of pages, and recites its century of history in a haphazard fashion that seems determined to frustrate the reader. This is justified at the conclusion in a manner which can easily be read as an author's excuse to avoid editing and revising his manuscript.
I have the feeling that this is one of those unfinished reads that adorns the bookshelves of those who would be considered educated, alongside Ulysses and A Brief History of Time.
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.