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One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.) by…

One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.) (original 1967; edition 2006)

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gregory Rabassa (Translator)

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34,37851033 (4.2)1 / 819
Title:One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.)
Authors:Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Other authors:Gregory Rabassa (Translator)
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 417 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Latin America

Work details

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)

  1. 322
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (chrisharpe, roby72, krizia_lazaro, browner56)
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    philosojerk: I found Martinez's style in Purgatory very reminiscent of Marquez's in One Hundred Years. If you enjoyed one of them, you would probably enjoy the other.
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English (413)  Spanish (57)  Dutch (9)  Italian (8)  French (6)  Catalan (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Portuguese (2)  Hungarian (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (509)
Showing 1-5 of 413 (next | show all)
(Original Review, 1981-02-27)

I love One Hundred Years of Solitude, in my top three books. When I first read it, it was quite confusing, with all the names the same - and so sad and funny. Not to skip ahead, but I still remember that none of it really made sense until I read the very last page - and then I understood everything in a kind of revelation - I'd never had that feeling before nor since with any other book, and that is why I think it has stuck with me all these years. Sometimes, if I see it in a book store, I just read the last page - but it's never the same.

The characters are trapped in their family history. Marquez frequently uses animal imagery or comparisons to characterise the humans as they are consumed by passion or vice of some kind - similar to a 14th Century view of the world that man is below the angels and above animals unless they give way to sin or vice of some kind. There is a kind of hell on earth feel to the book the more I think of this. The wheel of fortune is always turning and people will always fall from hope into despair. Progress often leads to ruin and the search for knowledge consumes. There's very little human contact other than the obvious! When Fernanda and Aureliano Segundo put Amaranta Ursula on the the train, they briefly touch which is unbearably poignant. People are lonely and wall themselves up away from others metaphorically and literally. There are lots of echoes of literature generally.

The lessons-to-be-learnt-by us-all were there all the way through the book and the magical element and humour kept the reader slightly apart and somewhat protected from the horrors of human behaviour. I loved the ending where it all came full circle and they weren't even looking out for the poor baby!

Here is an alternative view behind Garcia Marquez use of magic and surreal in his stories. His fiction is full of humour and warmth without skimming over the more unattractive aspects of human behaviour. He used humour AND fantasy as a tool or a means of looking at those aspects of life which are difficult to absorb or understand. Make no mistake, they are savage commentary on politics and human nature but without the humour and fantasy to lighten the touch they are almost impossible to absorb. To him fantasy and magic are simply a way of trying to explain the unexplainable, not everything in life has logic and solution or clarity. This is his message and he was brilliant at doing so as it also captures our imagination. He was deeply embedded in the Latin American culture where the unexplainable was often attributed to fanciful gods of nature. Much like the Greek classical myths with Hydras and Minatours and so on. If you read the texts in Spanish and understand the Latin American humour, amongst the horror they have comic moments which are very funny. A sort of "suicide bunny" black humour is very much there in the background. This is very typical Latin American. Just because it is magical and funny doesn't make it not serious in intent.

I accept that this is a world apart and from a different era and I think Marquez uses a different kind of language to report the unsettling which makes this startling. Although it's a grim book, it has a huge amount of humour in it. It's a roller coaster of a ride that is always startling and powerful. Perhaps, one needs to understand that the point of good literature is not to portray society as "what it assumes itself to be", but rather "what it actually is". So if some readers or reviewers are discomforted by reading a portrayal of the true nature of human societies, and on the basis of that discomfort, judge the author as "strange and magical"; they need to reserve their judgments till they attain full maturity. ( )
  antao | Dec 2, 2018 |
This book is a great example of magical realism. Magical realism according to Matthew Strecher is "what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something to strange to believe."* This is a very odd book and to be honest, not in a good way. It opens with Jose Arcadio Buendia marrying his cousin Ursula. The families had a habit of intermarrying and they begged the couple not to marry but they did anyway. Ursula refused to have sex with Jose Arcadia Buendia and wore a chastity belt. Word got around that she was still a virgin and that he was impotent. Ursula told him to ignore the rumors, but one night after his prize-winning cock beat Prudencio Aguilar's cock, Prudencio made the comment that maybe Jose's cock could please Ursula. Jose challenged him and went and got his spear and sent it flying into his throat and killed him. Then he was haunted everywhere by his ghost.

To avoid his ghost Jose Arcadio Buendia and a group of people set out to find a new place to live. For a little over two years, they searched for the sea but didn't find it. They settled on some land next to a small river and a swamp and he called it Mocando. Everyone got the same amount of land for a plot. And no one died. When the gypsies would visit one of them, Melquiades would sell him things like a telescope or an alchemy set that he would lose himself in and avoid his family. By now he had two sons, Jose Arcadio who was huge and would run off with the gypsies, but not before siring a son, Arcadio with the card reader Pilar Ternera and Aureliano who had the sight and also sired a son off of Pilar called Aureliano Jose. He also had a daughter named Amaranta who had a bizarre love life.

Aureliano started off making silver objects especially these silver fishes. He married Remedios Moscote, a child, who died while pregnant with twins. Aureliano would become a Colonel in the rebel army in the first Columbian civil war in 1860 which technically lasted two years, but he continued to fight. He would also fight up and down the coast of Central America and Cuba. In 1885 the fighting would begin again until he forced them to a peaceful resolution that was fair for the people. He fathered seventeen sons named Aureliano by seventeen women during this time, mostly women whose faces he never saw in the night. They would all die before reaching the age of thirty-five. He escaped many attempts on his life and even a firing squad.

Rebecca would arrive from nowhere a young woman who was a relative of Ursula and Jose Arcadia Buendia. When Ursula has a pianola brought to the house by an Italian Pietro Crespi who is a music teacher both Rebecca and Amaranta fall in love with him. Rebecca takes to eating earth and paint chips she is so obsessed with her love of him. She devises a way of sending and receiving letters from him and Ursula finds out. She and Jose decide that Rebecca can marry him, but then Remedios dies and the wedding is postponed due to the mourning period. Amaranta vows to prevent the two from marrying. and one thing and then another happens and it begins to look as though they will never marry as the years pass. Then Jose Arcadia returns from traveling the world and Rebecca is quite taken with him and they run off and get married. Now Amaranta has the chance to marry Pietro Crespi but she chooses not to. She also has the opportunity to marry a Colonel Gerineldo Marquez but she chooses not to marry him either.

During this time period, Melquiades the gypsy who had disappeared and was believed dead appears in the town and moves in with Jose and Ursula. For a while, he and Jose work on projects together but then Meliquides goes downhill and spends all his time in his room or in Aurlilano's silversmith room muttering to himself or writing stuff down on paper. The only one who pays any attention to him is Aureliano Jose who no one in the house seems to notice and grows up to be a harsh, unfeeling man.

The next generation consisting of the children of Jose Arcadio (whose mother is Pilar) is Remedios the Beauty who is dimwitted, and twins Aureliano Segundo who acts more like a wild Jose Arcadio, and Jose Arcadio Segundo who acts more like a solitary Aureliano with magical abilities. Ursula believes the twins changed places as kids and never changed back. The same can be said of future generations, which is what I think is the point Garcia is trying to make. That we can't escape the fate of the history of our family history. This was a very dense book to read. I really plodded my way through it. The leaps of fancy you have to make with magical realism are hard to swallow but I managed to go along with it pretty okay. I did get sick of each generation being the same as the one before, though I know that was something he was doing with a purpose. I will say this, I never once got anyone confused with anyone else, which takes some talent to pull off considering how many people are named the same thing, but people in my book club did not have my luck with this and often did get confused. The book has long flowing descriptive sentences that almost never end making this a difficult read. It's just too much. I give this book a three out of five stars.

*Matthew C. Strecher, Magical Realism and the Search for Identity in the Fiction of Murakami Haruki, Journal of Japanese Studies, Volume 25, Number 2 (Summer 1999), pp. 263-298, at 267.


As soon as they took the body out, Rebecca closed the doors of her house an buried herself alive, covered with a thick crust of disdain that no earthly temptation was ever able to break.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 137)

The best friend a person has is one who has just died.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 169)

At first curiosity increased the clientele on the forbidden street and there was even word of respectable ladies who disguised themselves as workers in order to observe the novelty of the phonograph from first hand, but from so much and such close observation they soon reached the conclusion that it was not an enchanted mill as everyone had thought and as matrons has said, but a mechanical trick that could not be compared with something so moving, so human and so full of everyday truth as a band of musicians.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 225-6)

Tell him that a person doesn’t di when he should but when he can.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 243)

Poverty was the servitude of love.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 339)

The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 400)

That they forget everything he had taught them about the world and the human heart, that they shit on Horace, and that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was ephemeral truth in the end.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude p 401-2) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Oct 31, 2018 |
I read this book really quickly and I think it helped me to keep track of all of the characters. It can get confusing because a lot of the characters have the same names. If you take a long time to read it you will probably forget who you are currently reading about. So read it fast! ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Loved this book! But it is no easy read. It goes through the life of the Buendía family starting with two cousins marrying each other and the kids and grand kids and great grand kids that follow. Many of the characters share names, so it was a bit confusing, but you get the hang of it and see a pattern with characters who have the same name, there is also a family tree at the beginning. I had to flip to it so many times, really should of just made a copy and kept it next to me as I read. There are fantasy elements that are well done and don't take up too much of the story. This book is just about life and everything that comes with it, so its funny, sad, and most of all interesting. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
I came away from this book feeling as though I was truly part of Marquez’s experience. Though fictional and full of “magical realism”, the book is personal and truth-telling. Hilarious at times, deeply troubling at others, the book's range astounds and is a celebration of human flaws.

The book reads like a timelapse through Columbia’s genesis and history in the personal accounts of the Buendias. Each family member’s experience is an allegory of some aspect of Columbian life. The characters experience each of the waves of history and are usually important figures in that history. Usually, the characters come away from those events disillusioned and solitary.

The clear moral of this novel is that history repeats itself and it continues to do so with more technological power behind it. The Buendias inability to adapt and integrate with the changes of modernity in spite of the existence of pathways for connection is the cause of their demise. The big question is whether humanity is destined for a similar fate.

The theme that I least expected from this book was how technology brought change to Macondo. From the very first line of the book, there is a fascination with all things novel, like ice, and all technological advancements. Jose Buendia is absurdly fascinated with technology and will spend his wife’s money for any hairbrained idea that uses the latest technology. The demise of the town is in no small way related to the technological inventions that were thrust upon it, especially that of the railroads. The thing that connected this town to the outside world did not fundamentally change the isolation of this family. Jose Arcadio Buendia’s own death is the death of hope in technology to provide progress. (It's interesting the memory machine Jose Arcadio Buendia's wanted to invent during the insomnia plague is realized through our computers and Internet).

The question I still ask myself after reading this book is why solitude is the main word in the title. Solitude usually has a positive connotation, but the family is more isolated and egotistical than living in solitude. This is something I will ponder and be searching for when I revisit the book.

This is a challenging novel, but one that is important to struggle with for its unique South American perspective on the world and for its examination of truth. ( )
  danrk | Jul 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 413 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
García Márquez, Gabrielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Broek, C.A.G. van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cicogna, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Packer, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabassa, GregoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toelke, CathleenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jomí García Ascot
María Luisa Elío
First words
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.
Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.
Много години по-късно, пред взвода за разстрел, полковник Аурелиано Буендия щеше да си спомни онзи далечен подиробед, когато баща му го заведе да види леда.
(Chinese, Taiwan, Traditional script)
Mnogo će se godina kasnije, pred streljačkim vodom, pukovnik Aureliano Buendía sjetiti tog davnog poslijepodneva kada ga je otac poveo da upozna led.
"[Y]ou'd be good in a war," she said. "Where you put your eye, you put your bullet."
Last words
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Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Book description
Da José Arcadio ad Aureliano, dalla scoperta del ghiaccio alla decifrazione delle pergamene di Melquíades: sette generazioni di Buendía inseguono un destino ineluttabile. Con questo romanzo tumultuoso che usa i toni della favola, sorretto da un linguaggio portentoso e da una prodigiosa fantasia, Gabriel García Márquez ha saputo rifondare la realtà e, attraverso Macondo, creare un vero e proprio paradigma dell'esistenza umana. Un universo di solitudini incrociate, impenetrabili ed eterne, in cui galleggia una moltitudine di eroi. Edizione del cinquantenario (1967-2017).
Haiku summary
Melquiades warns,
a message recieved late,
beware of the ants.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060883286, Paperback)

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:14 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

Tells the story of the Buendia family, set against the background of the evolution and eventual decadence of a small South American town.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118499X, 014103243X, 0141045639

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