- Series: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
- Paperback: 417 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (February 21, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060883286
- ISBN-13: 978-0060883287
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,524 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Hundred Years of Solitude (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Paperback – February 21, 2006
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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)
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
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.