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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

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28,94339131 (4.22)1 / 585
Title:One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.)
Authors:Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Info:Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library, Recommended
Tags:Fiction, Family, Life, Death, Meaning, Love, War, Magic, Solitude

Work details

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

1960s (197)
  1. 292
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (chrisharpe, roby72, krizia_lazaro, browner56)
    browner56: Superb multi-generational sagas of two South American families, told in the magic realism style
  2. 101
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Mouseear)
  3. 61
    The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies (Gayle_C._Bull)
  4. 50
    The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (mcenroeucsb)
  5. 52
    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (Nickelini)
  6. 41
    The Famished Road by Ben Okri (Medellia)
  7. 42
    Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Aturuxo)
  8. 31
    Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo (hippietrail)
  9. 10
    The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa (roby72)
  10. 65
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (caflores)
  11. 10
    Purgatory by Tomás Eloy Martínez (philosojerk)
    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.
  12. 76
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (derelicious)
  13. 10
    Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (SilentInAWay)
  14. 21
    The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll by Alvaro Mutis (chrisharpe)
  15. 00
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (eromsted)
  16. 11
    La saga/fuga de J.B. by Gonzalo Torrente Ballester (Aturuxo)
  17. 11
    Little, Big by John Crowley (britchey)
    britchey: By interweaving magic and the real, both stories tell a multi-generational family epic about birth, death, and destiny.
  18. 22
    Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado (hubertguillaud)
  19. 11
    Lovesick by Angeles Mastretta (chrisharpe)
  20. 11
    The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (ajgreep)

(see all 29 recommendations)


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English (316)  Spanish (49)  Dutch (6)  French (5)  Italian (4)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Portuguese (2)  Hungarian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (389)
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
I read this book many years ago, and loved the meandering style filled with unlikely events. Coming back to it recently I found it a little too meandering and endless, but still enjoyed it. There are so many memorable incidents and characters, but it does become a bit of a blur as history repeats itself again and again in the Buendia family. The repeated names also make it confusing and the family tree is very useful. But then again the details are rarely important, it's more about the poetic style, the dense storytelling and the atmosphere it creates. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Aug 8, 2014 |
Second-favorite book (after Gravity's Rainbow) ( )
  KRoan | Jul 25, 2014 |
A very unusual book with magical realism intertwined with the fate of one family, the Buendias, in the new village of Macondo. I enjoyed this but at times it's a bit of a slog due to the way it's written (heavy on the continuous prose and very little dialogue). It's poetic but I wouldn't be in a hurry to re-read this one. ( )
  Tilda.Tilds | Jul 23, 2014 |
When asked recently by some colleagues what I was reading I said, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez – a novel that’s been on my bucket list of books to read for several years. Immediately, not one but two people in the group said it was their favorite book of all time. One said she re-reads it every few years just for fun. I had to confess I didn’t get it – either what the book was about or why many people seem to feel this way about it.

William Kennedy, writing for the New York Times Book Review, is quoted as having said, “‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” Nobel Laureate Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has called it “the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote of Cervantes.” García Márquez also won the Nobel Prize for his writing, so, undoubtedly it is a masterpiece and a great example of Latin American magical realism.

Some works of art astound me with their greatness even if I understand them only dimly or even not at all. For example, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by Picasso’s 11 ½ by 25 ½ foot grey scale masterpiece “Guenerica” in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid even though I know nothing about the bombing of that Basque town during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Bob Dylan’s songs from the mid-1960’s have a similar effect on me. Take, for example, “Visions of Johanna,” an enigmatic song awash in New York City images and a narrator who observes one woman (Louise) while obsessing about another (the absent Johanna). For some reason this does not work for me with novels. If I can’t get emotionally involved with at least one character in a novel, I can’t sustain my interest in it for hundreds of pages.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” is the story of the Buendías, founding family of the fictional town of Macondo, and a metaphor for the history of Colombia itself. It was impossible for me to keep all 7 generations of the family straight even though I kept turning back to the family tree at the beginning of the book. Part of the problem was that most of the men in the family were named either Arcadio or Aureliano and (even with the family tree) it was often hard to tell who was being described.

The novel is full of crazy fantastic events that, for me at least, did not result in a cohesive satisfying reading experience. Family patriarch José Arcadio Buendía is endlessly curious. He embarks on several impractical scientific projects but ends up crazy, speaking only Latin and tied to a giant chestnut tree in the family yard. His wife Úrsula lives to be 130 years old, which is helpful because she seems to be the glue that holds the family together through the first 6 generations. One of their sons (Colonel Aureliano Buendía) goes off to war and fathers 17 sons by different women. They end up with oddly indelible Ash Wednesday crosses on their foreheads that serve as an easy means of identification so that each of them can be hunted down and methodically assassinated. Remedios the Beauty (in the 4th generation) manages to ascend into the sky one day while folding laundry from the line. Aureliano Segundo (Remedios’ brother) has a lover named Petra Cotes, and their amorous interludes cause the livestock to propagate wildly. Renata Remedios (Meme) in the 5th generation falls in love with a mechanic named Mauricio Babilonia who is constantly pursued by yellow butterflies. Amaranta Úrsula (also in the 5th generation) ends up having a steamy affair (that at one point involves them “daubing each other head to toe with peach jam and licking each other like dogs”) with another Aureliano (a member of the 6th generation who, unbeknownst to Amaranta, is her nephew and the illegitimate son of Meme and the mechanic). The 7th generation product of Amaranta and Aureliano’s union is (you guessed it) another Aureliano, born with a pig’s tail, a feared outcome of Úrsula, the matriarch of the family, because she had married her cousin, the original José Buendía. These are just a few of the fantastic shenanigans that go on in this wildly imaginative but inscrutable novel. Although entertaining at times, it definitely was a challenge to read and when I finally put it down my head was spinning. I don’t think I’ll be reading it every few years just for fun. ( )
1 vote sdibartola | Jul 13, 2014 |
Gosh. This is a mammoth book. It only has 448 pages, but gosh, gosh, did it take long time to read. This book in parts reminded me of Middlesex--with the incestual relationships.

For all of the acclaim that this book has received, I'm just not sure I 'get' it. There were so many characters, who were all named the same thing which made it difficult for me to distinguish between them.

Time is a fluid thing in this book--some parts of time are glossed over with less than a sentence of mention, others are explained in such odd detail...you wish it had been glossed over.

Basically put, not a big fan. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
... I’m not doing it because I want to create an escapist novel. I’m doing it because I want to describe life more accurately.

Fantasy stories convey truth without needing to be grounded in the reality of this world. They have holistic, logical systems and realities that affect every aspect of their separate universes. They can describe things that never were and never will be on the earth, without direct attachments to the readers’ everyday existence, while human and universal truths come through. On the other hand, magical realism by definition remains tethered to the “real” workings of this universe. I believe sometimes just a touch of the magical can make a story more applicable to a reader’s everyday existence than it would be otherwise.

One classic example is in my favorite novel of all time, One Hundred Years of Solitude, where Gabriel Garcia Marquez describes a village stricken by “the insomnia plague.” This mass sleeplessness eventually affects the peoples’ memories. One man realizes he will soon no longer be able to function without help. He puts signs on everything to remind him what they are. Others do it too, and soon the signs are everywhere.

After a while the people realize knowing what to call a thing does not mean one knows what to do with it. They begin to add instructions to the signs. A cow is for milking, and milk is for putting into coffee, and etcetera. At one end of their town, they even erect a sign which says, GOD EXISTS.

Finally into this “quicksand of forgetfulness” comes a gypsy with “a drink of a gentle color.” When that cure takes hold, one healed man’s “eyes became moist from weeping even before he noticed himself in an absurd living room where objects were labeled and before he was ashamed of the solemn nonsense written on the walls . . .”

None of this is technically impossible of course, therefore it is not “fantasy” in the literary sense. It is only highly, extremely, vastly improbable; so completely unlikely to happen that we must at least call it “magical.” Yet Garcia Marquez wrings so much common sense from it, one cannot help but wonder if this “insomnia plague” might be something he has actually witnessed in the world—something not merely magical, but somehow also real.

Perhaps Garcia Marquez (the world’s best known author of “magical realism”) has simply written about life as it really is for the millions who are driven to mass insanity by labor on the treadmill of materialism, exhausted to the point of forgetting why they started running in the first place, yet goaded to keep at it by the omnipresent advertisements which remind them they need this thing and that thing in order to continue to forget who they really are.

I write magical realism because some fires do burn in the midst of floods (think of hope when all seems lost), and all cures are essentially mysterious (I can’t explain aspirin), and angels do occasionally intervene (according to the beggars in Mother Theresa’s Calcutta), and there are moments in the midst of work when artists sometimes fly (just ask one if you don’t believe).

In other words, I write magical realism because most of us need to get a little distance from our lives to see them as they really are.

[García Márquez] creates a continuum, a web of connections and relationships. However bizarre or grotesque some particulars may be, the larger effect is one of great gusto and good humor and, even more, of sanity and compassion. The author seems to be letting his people half-dream and half-remember their own story and what is best, he is wise enough not to offer excuses for the way they do it. No excuse is really necessary. For Macondo is no never-never land. Its inhabitants do suffer, grow old and die, but in their own way.

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
García Márquez, Gabrielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Broek, C.A.G. van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cicogna, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabassa, GregoryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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."
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Haiku summary
Melquiades warns,
a message recieved late,
beware of the ants. (leahdawn)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:14 -0400)

(see all 10 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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Four editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014118499X, 014103243X, 0141045639, 0141194944

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