Hot Best Seller

100 Years of Solitude: An A+ Audio Study Guide

Availability: Ready to download

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."

*advertisement

Compare

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."

30 review for 100 Years of Solitude: An A+ Audio Study Guide

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Revised 28 March 2012 Huh? Oh. Oh, man. Wow. I just had the weirdest dream. There was this little town, right? And everybody had, like, the same two names. And there was this guy who lived under a tree and a lady who ate dirt and some other guy who just made little gold fishes all the time. And sometimes it rained and sometimes it didn’t, and… and there were fire ants everywhere, and some girl got carried off into the sky by her laundry… Wow. That was messed up. I need some coffee. The was roughly ho Revised 28 March 2012 Huh? Oh. Oh, man. Wow. I just had the weirdest dream. There was this little town, right? And everybody had, like, the same two names. And there was this guy who lived under a tree and a lady who ate dirt and some other guy who just made little gold fishes all the time. And sometimes it rained and sometimes it didn’t, and… and there were fire ants everywhere, and some girl got carried off into the sky by her laundry… Wow. That was messed up. I need some coffee. The was roughly how I felt after reading this book. This is really the only time I’ve ever read a book and thought, “You know, this book would be awesome if I were stoned.” And I don’t even know if being stoned works on books that way. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (which is such a fun name to say) is one of those Writers You Should Read. You know the type – they’re the ones that everyone claims to have read, but no one really has. The ones you put in your online dating profile so that people will think you’re smarter than you really are. You get some kind of intellectual bonus points or something, the kind of highbrow cachet that you just don’t get from reading someone like Stephen King or Clive Barker. Marquez was one of the first writers to use “magical realism,” a style of fantasy wherein the fantastic and the unbelievable are treated as everyday occurrences. While I’m sure it contributed to the modern genre of urban fantasy – which also mixes the fantastic with the real – magical realism doesn’t really go out of its way to point out the weirdness and the bizarrity. These things just happen. A girl floats off into the sky, a man lives far longer than he should, and these things are mentioned in passing as though they were perfectly normal. In this case, Colonel Aureliano Buendia has seventeen illegitimate sons, all named Aureliano, by seventeen different women, and they all come to his house on the same day. Remedios the Beauty is a girl so beautiful that men just waste away in front of her, but she doesn’t even notice. The twins Aureliano Segundo and Jose Arcadio Segundo may have, in fact, switched identities when they were children, but no one knows for sure – not even them. In the small town of Macondo, weird things happen all the time, and nobody really notices. Or if they do notice that, for example, the town’s patriarch has been living for the last twenty years tied to a chestnut tree, nobody thinks anything is at all unusual about it. This, of course, is a great example of Dream Logic – the weird seems normal to a dreamer, and you have no reason to question anything that’s happening around you. Or if you do notice that something is wrong, but no one else seems to be worried about it, then you try to pretend like coming to work dressed only in a pair of spangly stripper briefs and a cowboy hat is perfectly normal. Another element of dreaminess that pervades this book is that there’s really no story here, at least not in the way that we have come to expect. Reading this book is kind of like a really weird game of The Sims - it’s about a family that keeps getting bigger and bigger, and something happens to everybody. So, the narrator moves around from one character to another, giving them their moment for a little while, and then it moves on to someone else, very smoothly and without much fanfare. There’s very little dialogue, so the story can shift very easily, and it often does. Each character has their story to tell, but you’re not allowed to linger for very long on any one of them before Garcia shows you what’s happening to someone else. The result is one long, continuous narrative about this large and ultimately doomed family, wherein the Buendia family itself is the main character, and the actual family members are secondary to that. It was certainly an interesting reading experience, but it took a while to get through. I actually kept falling asleep as I read it, which is unusual for me. But perhaps that’s what Garcia would have wanted to happen. By reading his book, I slipped off into that non-world of dreams and illusions, where the fantastic is commonplace and ice is something your father takes you to discover. ------ “[Arcadio] imposed obligatory military service for men over eighteen, declared to be public property any animals walking the streets after six in the evening, and made men who were overage wear red armbands. He sequestered Father Nicanor in the parish house under pain of execution and prohibited him from saying mass or ringing the bells unless it was for a Liberal victory. In order that no one would doubt the severity of his aims, he ordered a firing squad organized in the square and had it shoot a scarecrow. At first no one took him seriously.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I guarantee that 95% of you will hate this book, and at least 70% of you will hate it enough to not finish it, but I loved it. Guess I was just in the mood for it. Here's how it breaks down: AMAZING THINGS: I can literally feel new wrinkles spreading across the surface of my brain when I read this guy. He's so wicked smart that there's no chance he's completely sane. His adjectives and descriptions are 100% PERFECT, and yet entirely nonsensical. After reading three chapters, it starts making sens I guarantee that 95% of you will hate this book, and at least 70% of you will hate it enough to not finish it, but I loved it. Guess I was just in the mood for it. Here's how it breaks down: AMAZING THINGS: I can literally feel new wrinkles spreading across the surface of my brain when I read this guy. He's so wicked smart that there's no chance he's completely sane. His adjectives and descriptions are 100% PERFECT, and yet entirely nonsensical. After reading three chapters, it starts making sense... and that's when you realize you're probably crazy, too. And you are. We all are. The magical realism style of the book is DELICIOUS. Sure, it's an epic tragedy following a long line of familial insanity, but that doesn't stop the people from eating dirt, coming back from the dead, spreading a plague of contagious insomnia, or enjoying a nice thunderstorm of yellow flowers. It's all presented in such a natural light that you think, "Of course. Of course he grows aquatic plants in his false teeth. Now why wouldn't he?" This guy is the epitome of unique. Give me a single sentence, ANY SENTENCE the man has ever written, and I will recognize it. Nobody writes like him. (Also, his sentences average about 1,438 words each, so pretty much it's either him or Faulkner) REASONS WHY MOST OF YOU WILL HATE THIS BOOK: I have to engage every ounce of my mental ability just to understand what the *@ is going on! Most people who read for relaxation and entertainment will want to send Marquez hate mail. Also, there are approximately 20 main characters and about 4 names that they all share. I realize that's probably realistic in Hispanic cultures of the era, but SERIOUSLY, by the time you get to the sixth character named Aureliano, you'll have to draw yourself a diagram. Not even the classic Russians suffer from as much name-confusion as this guy. On an uber-disturbing note, Marquez has once again (as he did in Love in the Time of Cholera) written a grown man having sex with a girl as young as 9... which is pretty much #1 on my list of "Things That Make You Go EWW!!!" He makes Lolita look like Polyanna on the virtue chart! (Note to authors: You give ONE of your characters a unique, but disgusting characteristic and it's good writing. Give it to more than one, and we start thinking we're reading your psychological profile, ya creep!) If you feel like pushing your brain to its max, read it. The man did win the Nobel after all, it's amazing. But get ready to work harder to understand something than you ever have before in your life. And may God be with you. FAVORITE QUOTES: (coincidentally also the shortest ones in the book) She had the rare virtue of never existing completely except at the opportune moment. He soon acquired the forlorn look that one sees in vegetarians. Children inherit their parents' madness. He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude. The air was so damp that fish could have come in through the doors and swum out the windows. He was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past. It's enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment. A person doesn't die when he should but when he can.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    So I know that I'm supposed to like this book because it is a classic and by the same author who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera. Unfortunately, I just think it is unbelievably boring with a jagged plot that seems interminable. Sure, the language is interesting and the first line is the stuff of University English courses. Sometimes I think books get tagged with the "classic" label because some academics read them and didn't understand and so they hailed these books as genius. These same acade So I know that I'm supposed to like this book because it is a classic and by the same author who wrote Love in the Time of Cholera. Unfortunately, I just think it is unbelievably boring with a jagged plot that seems interminable. Sure, the language is interesting and the first line is the stuff of University English courses. Sometimes I think books get tagged with the "classic" label because some academics read them and didn't understand and so they hailed these books as genius. These same academics then make a sport of looking down their noses at readers who don't like these books for the very same reasons. (If this all sounds too specific, yes I had this conversation with a professor of mine). I know that other people love this book and more power to them, I've tried to read it all the way through three different times and never made it past 250 pages before I get so bored keeping up with all the births, deaths, magical events and mythical legends. I'll put it this way, I don't like this book for the same reason that I never took up smoking. If I have to force myself to like it, what's the point. When I start coughing and hacking on the first cigarette, that is my body telling me this isn't good for me and I should quit right there. When I start nodding off on the second page of One Hundred Years of Solitude that is my mind trying to tell me I should find a better way to pass my time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    More like A Hundred Years of Torture. I read this partly in a misguided attempt to expand my literary horizons and partly because my uncle was a big fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then again, he also used to re-read Ulysses for fun, which just goes to show that you should never take book advice from someone whose IQ is more than 30 points higher than your own. I have patience for a lot of excesses, like verbiage and chocolate, but not for 5000 pages featuring three generations of people with the More like A Hundred Years of Torture. I read this partly in a misguided attempt to expand my literary horizons and partly because my uncle was a big fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then again, he also used to re-read Ulysses for fun, which just goes to show that you should never take book advice from someone whose IQ is more than 30 points higher than your own. I have patience for a lot of excesses, like verbiage and chocolate, but not for 5000 pages featuring three generations of people with the same names. I finally tore out the family tree at the beginning of the book and used it as a bookmark! To be fair, the book isn’t actually 5000 pages, but also to be fair, the endlessly interwoven stories of bizarre exploits and fantastical phenomena make it seem like it is. The whole time I read it I thought, “This must be what it’s like to be stoned.” Well, actually most of the time I was just trying to keep the characters straight. The rest of the time I was wondering if I was the victim of odorless paint fumes. However, I think I was simply the victim of Marquez’s brand of magical realism, which I can take in short stories but find a bit much to swallow in a long novel. Again, to be fair, this novel is lauded and loved by many, and I can sort of see why. A shimmering panoramic of a village’s history would appeal to those who enjoy tragicomedy laced heavily with fantasy. It’s just way too heavily laced for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "What is your favourite book, mum?" How many times have my children asked me that, growing up with a mother who spends most of her time reading - to them, alone, for work, for pleasure - or looking for new books in bookstores wherever we happen to be. "I can't answer that, there are so many books I love, and in different ways!" "Just name one that comes to mind!" And I said, without really knowing why, and without thinking: "One Hundred Years Of Solitude!" "Why?" "Because..." This novel taught me that "What is your favourite book, mum?" How many times have my children asked me that, growing up with a mother who spends most of her time reading - to them, alone, for work, for pleasure - or looking for new books in bookstores wherever we happen to be. "I can't answer that, there are so many books I love, and in different ways!" "Just name one that comes to mind!" And I said, without really knowing why, and without thinking: "One Hundred Years Of Solitude!" "Why?" "Because..." This novel taught me that chaos and order are two sides of the same medal - called family life. It taught me that sadness and love go hand in hand, and that life is easy and complicated at the same time. It taught me that many wishes actually come true, but never in the way we expect, and most often with a catch. It taught me that sun and rain follow each other, even though we might have to wait for four years, eleven months and two days for rain to stop falling sometimes. It taught me that there are as many recipes for love as there are lovers in the world, and that human beings are lazy and energetic, good and bad, young and old, ugly and beautiful, honest and dishonest, happy and sad, all at the same time, - together and lonely. It taught me that we are forever longing for what we do not have, until we get what we long for. Then we start longing for what we lost when our dreams came true. This novel opened up the world of absurdities to me, and dragged me in like no other. In each member of the Buendía family, I recognise some relation, or myself, or both. Macondo is the world in miniature, and wherever I go, it follows me like a shadow. It is not rich, peaceful, or beautiful. It is just Macondo. No more, no less. My favourite book? I don't know. There are so many. But I don't think any other could claim to be more loved than this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    brian

    i remember the day i stopped watching cartoons: an episode of thundercats in which a few of the cats were trapped in some kind of superbubble thing and it hit me that, being cartoons, the characters could just be erased and re-drawn outside the bubble. or could just fly away. or tunnel their way out. or teleport. or do whatever, really, they wanted... afterall they were line and color in a world of line and color. now this applies to any work of fiction -- i mean, Cervantes could've just written i remember the day i stopped watching cartoons: an episode of thundercats in which a few of the cats were trapped in some kind of superbubble thing and it hit me that, being cartoons, the characters could just be erased and re-drawn outside the bubble. or could just fly away. or tunnel their way out. or teleport. or do whatever, really, they wanted... afterall they were line and color in a world of line and color. now this applies to any work of fiction -- i mean, Cervantes could've just written Don Quixote out of any perilous situation, but it just felt different with a lowest-common-denominator cartoon. it felt that adherence to reality (reality as defined within the world of the cartoon) wasn’t a top priority. this ended my cartoon watching days and i’ve pored over it in the years that followed: was it a severe lack or an overabundence of imagination that made it so that while all my friends were digging saturday morning cartoons i alternated between tormenting my parents and attempting to use logic to disprove the fact that everyone i knew and everyone i ever would know was gonna die? i had a similar experience with One Hundred Years of Solitude. the first chapter is just brilliant: gypsies bring items to Macondo, a village hidden away from mass civilization by miles of swamp and mountains… these everyday items (magnets, ice, etc.) are interpreted as ‘magic’ by people who have never seen them and it forces the reader to reconfigure his/her perception of much of what s/he formerly found ordinary. amazing. and then the gypsies bring a magic carpet. a real one. one that works. and there is no distinction b/t magnets and the magic carpet. this, i guess, is magical realism. and i had a Thundercats moment. lemme explain: the magic carpet immediately renders all that preceded it as irrelevant. are ice and magnets the same as magic carpets? what is the relation between magic and science? how can i trust and believe in a character who takes such pains to understand ice and magnets and who, using the most primitive scientific means, works day and night to discover that the earth is round -- but then will just accept that carpets can fly? or that people can instantaneously increase their body weight sevenfold by pure will? or that human blood can twist and turn through streets to find a specific person? fuck the characters, how can i trust the writer if the world is totally undefined? if people can refuse to die (and it’s not explained who or how or why): where are the stakes? if someone can make themselves weigh 1000 pounds, what can’t they do? how can i care about any situation if Garcia Marquez can simply make the persons involved sprout wings and fly away? should the book be read as fairy-tale? as myth? as allegory? no. i don’t think it’s meant to be read solely as any of those. and i’d label anyone a fraud who tried to explain away a 500 page book as mere allegory. moreover, i don’t believe Garcia Marquez has as fertile an imagination as Borges or Cervantes or Mutis –- three chaps who, perhaps, could pull something like this off on storytelling power alone; but three chaps who, though they may dabble in this stuff, clearly define the world their characters inhabit. so i’m at page 200. and i’m gonna try and push on. but it’s tough. do i care when someone dies when death isn’t permanent? and do i care about characters who have seen death reversed but don’t freak the fuck out (which is inconsistent with what does make them freak the fuck out) and who also continue to cry when someone dies? yes, there are some gems along the way, but i think had Solitude been structured as a large collection of interconnected short stories (kinda like a magical realism Winesberg, Ohio) it would've worked much better. this is one of the most beloved books of all time and i’m not so arrogant (damn close) to discount the word of all these people (although I do have gothboy, DFJ, and Borges on my side -- a strong argument for or against anything), and not so blind to see the joy this brings to so many people… i fully understand it's a powerful piece of work. but i really don’t get it. and i aggressively recommend The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll to any and all who find Solitude to be the end all and be all.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Mystical and captivating. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, first published in 1967 in his native Colombia and then first published in English in 1970, is a unique literary experience, overwhelming in its virtuosity and magnificent in scope. I recall my review of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, trying to describe a book like it and realizing there are no other books like it; it is practically a genre unto itself. That said, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpi Mystical and captivating. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, first published in 1967 in his native Colombia and then first published in English in 1970, is a unique literary experience, overwhelming in its virtuosity and magnificent in scope. I recall my review of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, trying to describe a book like it and realizing there are no other books like it; it is practically a genre unto itself. That said, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpiece of narrative ability, and is itself unique as a statement, but reminiscent of many other great books: Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, Lowry’s Under the Volcano, Buck’s The Good Earth, and Joyce’s Ulysses were the works that I thought of while reading, but no doubt this is a one of a kind. Using all of the literary devices I have ever learned and making up many more as he went along, García Márquez established a new epoch of descriptive resonance. Magic realism and hyperbole abound in his fantastic history of the mythical town of Macondo separated by mountains and a swamp road from everything else and of the Buendía family, whose lifeblood was the dramatic heart of the village from inception until the fateful end. García Márquez employs incestuous and repetitive family situations to emphasize his chronicle and a dynamic characterization that is labyrinthine in its complexity. Dark humor walks the ancient halls of the ancestral mansion home along with the ghosts of those who have come before. Incredibly García Márquez ties it all together into a complete and prophetically sound ending that breathes like poetry to the finish. Finally I must concede that this review is wholly inadequate. This is a book that must be read. **** 2018 - I had a conversation about this book recently and I was asked "what was the big deal?why was this so special?" It had been a while since I had read but my response was that after turning the last page I was struck dumb, had to walk the earth metaphorically for a few days to gather my thoughts on what I had read - really more than that, what I had experienced. I read alot of books and a book that smacks me like that deserves some reflection. Another indicator to me, and this is also subjective - is that I have thought about this book frequently since. I read a book and enjoy it, was entertained and escaped for a while into the writer's world, and then I finish and write a review, slap a 3 star on it and go to the next book. There are some books, years later that I have to refresh my memory: who wrote that? what was it about? Not so with 100 years. Like so many other five star ratings, this one has stayed with me and I think about Macondo sometimes and can see the weeds and vines growing up through the hardwood floors. This is a special book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a tremendous piece of literature. It's not an easy read. You're not going to turn its pages like you would the latest John Grisham novel, or The DaVinci Code. You have to read each page, soaking up every word, immersing yourself in the imagery. Mr. Marquez says that he tells the story as his grandmother used to tell stories to him: with a brick face. That's useful to remember while reading, because that is certainly the tone the book tak One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a tremendous piece of literature. It's not an easy read. You're not going to turn its pages like you would the latest John Grisham novel, or The DaVinci Code. You have to read each page, soaking up every word, immersing yourself in the imagery. Mr. Marquez says that he tells the story as his grandmother used to tell stories to him: with a brick face. That's useful to remember while reading, because that is certainly the tone the book takes. If you can get through the first 50 pages, you will enjoy it. But those 50 are a doozy. It's hard to keep track of the characters, at times (mainly because they are all named Jose Arcadio or Aureliano), but a family tree at the beginning of my edition was helpful. The book follows the Buendia family, from the founding of fictional Macondo to a fitting and fulfilling conclusion. The family goes through wars, marriages, many births and deaths, as well as several technological advances and invasions by gypsies and banana companies (trust me, the banana company is important). You begin to realize, as matriarch Ursula does, that as time passes, time does not really pass for this family, but turns in a circle. And as the circle closes on Macondo and the Buendias, you realize that Mr. Marquez has taken you on a remarkable journey in his literature. Recommended, but be prepared for a hard read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brina

    Magical realism has been one of my favorite genres of reading ever since I discovered Isabel Allende and the Latina amiga writers when I was in high school. Taking events from ordinary life and inserting elements of fantasy, Hispanic written magical realism books are something extraordinary. Many people compare Allende to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is considered the founder of magical realism. Until now, however, I had not read any of Marquez' full length novels so I had nothing to compare. On Magical realism has been one of my favorite genres of reading ever since I discovered Isabel Allende and the Latina amiga writers when I was in high school. Taking events from ordinary life and inserting elements of fantasy, Hispanic written magical realism books are something extraordinary. Many people compare Allende to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is considered the founder of magical realism. Until now, however, I had not read any of Marquez' full length novels so I had nothing to compare. On this 50th anniversary of its first printing, One Hundred Years of Solitude is the revisit the shelf selection for the group catching up on classics for January 2017. An epic following the Buendia family for 100 years, Solitude is truly a great novel of the Americas that put magical realism on the map. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca, Columbia in 1927. Influenced by his grandmother's vivid story telling, Marquez decided at an early age that he wanted to be a writer. Upon completion of la Universidad de Cartagena, Marquez began his career as a reporter and soon began to write short stories. His earliest stories were published as early as the 1950s, yet in 1964 while living in Mexico City with his young family, he completed Solitude in a mere eighteen months. Finally published for the first time in 1967, Solitude sold millions of copies, establishing Marquez as a world renown writer, leading to his receiving the Nobel Prize in 1982. Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran lived in an isolated Colombian village where branches of the same family intermarried for centuries, resulting in children born with pigs tails or looking like lizards. Determined to end this cycle of incest, Buendia and a group of pioneers crossed the mountains and founded the village of Macondo. In the mid 1800s, Macondo was a fledging community, with Buendia, an alchemist, its most respected member. Jose Arcadio and Ursula went on to have three children: Aureliano, Jose Arcadio, and Amaranta. These names and the personality traits that distinguished the original bearers of these names repeated themselves over the course of a century. Throughout the novel and the century of change to Macondo, all the Jose Arcadios were solitary individuals and inventors. Determined to decipher the gypsies secret to the universe, they holed themselves up in an alchemist's lab, rarely seen by the outside world. The Aurelianos, on the other hand, were leaders of revolution. Colonel Aureliano Buendia started thirty two civil wars yet lost all of them. A relic who fathered seventeen sons of the same name and grew to become Macondo's most respected citizen, his spirit of adventure and discovery repeated itself in the descendants who bore his name. Women held the family together. First Ursula who lived to be 122 years old and then her daughter Amaranta, the women expanded the family home and raised successive generations so that new Jose Arcadios and Aurelianos would not repeat the mistakes of their namesakes. Yet the same mistakes and characteristics occur: rejected love, spirit of adventure, lone soles willing to live for one hundred years in solitary confinement. Additionally, the two characters who predicted all the events of the novel were not even members of the Buendia family: Pilar Ternera, a card reader who specialized in fates and could look at a Buendia to know his future; and Melquiades, a gypsy who befriended the original Jose Arcadio, leading all the successive generations to a life of solitude. At first Marquez equates solitude with death. Later on he includes individuals happy to live out their days alone. In order to make a point of his examples of solitude, he interjects countless examples of magical realism: a man bleeding to death down a street, yellow butterflies announcing a man's presence, a rain of epic proportions that would not end. With these and other countless examples throughout the text, Marquez created a magical realism genre that is still widely in use by Latino writers and others around the world today. While used to the magical realism genre, Marquez usage and prose were a treat for me to read. His writing is so captivating, I read the entire novel over the course of a day because I desired to know how the Buendias cyclical existence would either repeat itself or change once and for all. Between the prose and magical realism and a memorable story for the ages, One Hundred Years of Solitude is an epic, genre changing, extraordinary novel. Authors of the last fifty years can credit Marquez' influence in their own work. I feel privileged to have finally read this saga deserving of its numerous awards and top ratings that eventually lead Marquez to earn a Nobel Prize. One Hundred Years of Solitude, a novel for the ages, meriting 5 wonderful stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    One Hundred Years of Solitude is an absolute ground-breaking book; it is intelligent, creative and full of powerful anecdotal wisdom. It deservedly won the noble prize for literature. But how enjoyable is it? How readable is it? Gabriel García Márquez, plays around with reality itself; he plays around with the limitations of fiction; he uses elements of magic, of the fantastic, to give voice to things that could never be said quite as effectively in normal terms: he breaks through realism and est One Hundred Years of Solitude is an absolute ground-breaking book; it is intelligent, creative and full of powerful anecdotal wisdom. It deservedly won the noble prize for literature. But how enjoyable is it? How readable is it? Gabriel García Márquez, plays around with reality itself; he plays around with the limitations of fiction; he uses elements of magic, of the fantastic, to give voice to things that could never be said quite as effectively in normal terms: he breaks through realism and establishes his own original style. He did nothing short of launching a new mode of literary address: magical realism. He wasn’t the first writer to do such a thing, though his writing was the first to attract criticism which, in effect, allowed for it to be defined and recognised. For me, the strongest element of the book resides in its inherent pessimism, with its unfortunate understanding that history can (and will) repeat itself. All good intentions go awry, indeed, One Hundred Years of Solitude challenges the progress (or lack thereof) of society. It creates a self-contained history in its isolated framework, which, arguably, reflects the nature of mankind or, at least, it echoes Columbian history with its liberal history in the face of imperialism. No matter how much we want to change the world (or how much we believe in a revolution or a new political ideal) these good intentions often become warped when faced with the horrors of war and bloodshed. Nothing really changes. There’s no denying the success of Márquez’s epic; there’s no denying its ingenuity. I really enjoyed parts of the novel but it was awfully difficult to read, uncomfortably so. The prose is extremely loose and free flowing to the point where it feels like thought; it’s like a torrent of verbal diarrhoea that feels like it will never end. Characters die, eerily similar characters take their place within the story and the narrative continues until the well has completely run dry of any actual life. It is pushed so terribly far, one hundred years to be precise. And that’s my biggest problem. I’m a sentimentalist. I like to feel when I read. I like to be moved either to anger or excitement. I want to invest in the characters. I want to care about their lives and I want to be provoked by their actions. Márquez’s approach meant that this was impossible to do so. It’s a huge story, told in just a few hundred pages. It’s sweeps across the lives of the characters, some exceedingly important characters in the story are introduced and die a very short time after to establish the sheer futility of human existence and effort Márquez tried to demonstrate. Márquez writes against European tradition and the legacy of colonialism; he creates something totally new, which is becoming increasingly hard to do. Although I do appreciate this novel, I did not enjoy reading it as much as I could have done. Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Martine

    I must have missed something. Either that, or some wicked hypnotist has tricked the world (and quite a few of my friends, it would seem) into believing that One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great novel. How did this happen? One Hundred Years of Solitude is not a great novel. In fact, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a novel at all. Rather it reads like a 450-page outline for a novel which accidentally got published instead of the finished product. Oops. Don't get me wrong. I'm not disputing th I must have missed something. Either that, or some wicked hypnotist has tricked the world (and quite a few of my friends, it would seem) into believing that One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great novel. How did this happen? One Hundred Years of Solitude is not a great novel. In fact, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a novel at all. Rather it reads like a 450-page outline for a novel which accidentally got published instead of the finished product. Oops. Don't get me wrong. I'm not disputing that Marquez has an imaginative mind. He does, unquestionably. Nor am I disputing that he knows how to come up with an interesting story. He obviously does, or this wouldn't be the hugely popular book it is. As far as I'm concerned, though, he forgot to put the finishing touches to his story. In his rush to get the bare bones on paper, he forgot to add the things which bring a story alive. Such as, you know, dialogue. Emotions. Motivations. Character arcs. Pretty basic things, really. By focusing on the external side of things, and by never allowing his characters to speak for themselves (the dialogue in the book amounts to about five pages, if that), Marquez keeps his reader from getting to know his characters, and from understanding why they do the things they do. The lack of characterisation is such that the story basically reads like an unchronological chronicle of deeds and events that go on for ever without any attempt at an explanation or psychological depth. And yes, they're interesting events, I'll grant you that, but they're told with such emotional detachment that I honestly didn't care for any of the characters who experienced them. I kept waiting for Marquez to focus on one character long enough to make me care about what happened to him or her, but he never did, choosing instead to introduce new characters (more Aurelianos... sigh) and move on. I wish to all the gods of fiction he had left out some twenty Aurelianos and focused on the remaining four instead. With three-dimensional characters rather than two-dimensional ones, this could have been a fabulous book. As it is, it's just a shell. What a waste of a perfectly good story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Jose Arcadio Buendia, decides one day in his small, rather impoverished town, set in South America (Colombia, in the early 1800's ), that he wants to leave, say goodbye forever to the relatives, a killing makes him feel uncomfortable there, taking his pregnant wife Ursula, his first cousin, explore the mysterious lands , beyond the unknown horizon, with his followers and friends, over the treacherous mountains, through the dense, noisy, jungles, full of wild animals, and sickness...months pass, Jose Arcadio Buendia, decides one day in his small, rather impoverished town, set in South America (Colombia, in the early 1800's ), that he wants to leave, say goodbye forever to the relatives, a killing makes him feel uncomfortable there, taking his pregnant wife Ursula, his first cousin, explore the mysterious lands , beyond the unknown horizon, with his followers and friends, over the treacherous mountains, through the dense, noisy, jungles, full of wild animals, and sickness...months pass, they have not yet seen the sea, their ultimate goal. Lost with little food left, surrounded by a vast uncrossable, repugnant swamp the tired leader finds a suitable place by a calm river, after dreaming about a city of mirrors. Buendia builds a little village, in this hot tropical region, he believes is encircled by water, of only twenty adobe homes, though all are happy to stop and rest. So remote that no one knows they exist, no map shows Macondo, the strange name Jose calls it. This will be a better life for all, a utopia, his people will prosper, the first born will appropriately be a Buendia, the son of Jose and Ursula, named after the founder of the town Jose Arcadio himself, soon another son Aureliano and daughter Amaranta, seven generations will live here, the last six, to be their birthplace . Macondo slowly grows, ragged gypsies somehow discover this most isolated town, led by the bright Melquiades, bringing modern inventions from the outside world, and some that never were of this Earth...flying carpets, right out of an Arabian Nights fable, more magic , turning things, into different shapes and objects, in their annual welcomed visit, the local children become unfazed by such weird events. Still the gypsy Melquiades, is not or does not seem quite human, more of a ghost from who knows where. Time passes , the unconventional Buendia family thrives, ( they have a propensity to fall in love, with their own kin) nevertheless trouble breaks out between the Conservative and Liberal Parties in the nation. Resulting in many years of savage civil wars, the endless conflicts , destroy the land, eventually the army is headed by Col. Aureliano Buendia, on the liberal side, son of the unstable Jose, a ruthless soldier who kills his conservative enemies , as well as liberals, who get in his way, yet will not name himself a general. The numerous Buendia family continues to get richer, Ursula, is the rock, so Macondo flourishes, many villagers live over a hundred years, trains come, electricity, phonograph records, radio, movies, even baffling automobiles are spotted. The banana plantations too, established nearby, with their bloody workers strikes , the foreign owners arrive , importing odd fashions and customs. The old decrepit Buendia house, the largest in town becomes haunted by dead relatives . Still children are always being born, (including Remedios Buendia, the most beautiful woman on Earth, she causes four men to die, unable to get her love) , most are " illegitimate" though, the kids, not knowing who their real parents are. And slowly the outside begins to discover this town, for better or worse. But will it last? A tremendous novel, a one of a kind book that maybe doesn't show reality, but does tell us people are complicated and unpredictable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jibran

    For a long time I could not find words to write anything on One Hundred Years of Solitude, for Marquez mesmerised me into a silence I didn't know how to break. But I have been commenting here and there on Goodreads and now it is good time, finally, to gather my thoughts in one piece. But this somewhat longer review is more a labour of love than a coherent attempt to review his opus. Marquez resets the history of universe such that the old reality ceases to exist and a new parallel world is born i For a long time I could not find words to write anything on One Hundred Years of Solitude, for Marquez mesmerised me into a silence I didn't know how to break. But I have been commenting here and there on Goodreads and now it is good time, finally, to gather my thoughts in one piece. But this somewhat longer review is more a labour of love than a coherent attempt to review his opus. Marquez resets the history of universe such that the old reality ceases to exist and a new parallel world is born in which things do not conform to obsolete, worn-out laws. Everything in this world is to be discovered anew, even the most primary building block of life: water. Macondo is the first human settlement of Time Immemorial set up by the founding fathers of the Buendia family. It is a place where white and polished stones are like ‘prehistoric eggs’; an infant world, clean and pure, where ‘many things lack names.’ And it is natural that here, in the farther reaches of marshland prone to cataclysmic events, the mythscape of One Hundred Years of Solitude should come into existence. The tone of this epic and picaresque story is set ab initio. Take a gander at this: Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. It is not long before fateful human activity mars the innocent beauty of creation. The more they discover the more they are sucked into the inescapable cycle of life. The primordial myth that moulds and shapes their destinies does not let them advance in their efforts to defeat the infernal solitude of existence, whatever they might do, however they might try. History gets back at them again and again and every generation is but a repeat of the past. It is to emphasise the cyclical nature of time, in my opinion, that names of principal characters are repeated in every generation, sometimes to the confusion of the reader, easily rectified by going back to the family tree provided in the start of the book. An external, portentous, disastrous, evil-like power guides and transforms the lives of people in the hamlet of Macondo. The sense of foreboding pervades the whole story: the rain continuing for many days and inundating the streets, the unceasing storm before the arrival in town of a heraldic character, and the fearful episode when townspeople begin to suffer a terrible memory loss, so that to remember the names and functions of things they write it down on labels and tie those labels to objects like chairs and tables. It tells us that we cannot hope for a future if our past is erased from the slates of our collective consciousness. Past may be a burden but it is also a great guiding force without which there's no future. The only way to retain your sanity is to remember your history and cling to it, or prepare to go insane. When one Jose Arcadio Buendia loses the memory of things, he goes mad: Jose Arcadio Buendia conversed with Prudencio Aguilar until the dawn. A few hours later, worn out by the vigil, he went into Aureliano’s workshop and asked him: “What day is today?” Aureliano told him that it was Tuesday. “I was thinking the same thing,” Jose Arcadio Buendia said, “but suddenly I realized that it’s still Monday, like yesterday. Look at the sky, look at the walls, look at the begonias. Today is Monday too.” On the next day, Wednesday, Jose Arcadio Buendia went back to the workshop. “This is a disaster,” he said. “Look at the air, listen to the buzzing of the sun, the same as yesterday and the day before. Today is Monday too.” That night Pietro Crespi found him on the porch, weeping for…his mother and father. On Thursday he appeared in the workshop again with the painful look of plowed ground. “The time machine has broken,” he almost sobbed,…he spent six months examining things, trying to find a difference from their appearance on the previous day in the hope of discovering in them some change that would reveal the passage of time. The town is threatened when the change taking place in the outside world begins to spill over into Macondo. Here we have a metaphor for the struggle of Maruqez’s native country and continent which is passing through internecine wars on its way toward externally imposed modernity. Divisions that hitherto did not exist come to define the inhabitants of Macondo and of towns farther afield. One of the Buendias, Colonel Aureliano, takes up a piece of metalwork as new and strange as a gun to mount a revolt and bring the promised glory to his land. New lines are drawn. New alliances are made. Old friends become enemies and enemies, partners. Colonel Aureliano Buendia, when he is about to kill him, tells General Moncada: Remember, old friend, I'm not shooting you. It's the revolution that's shooting you. The scene above captures the mechanistic element of their revolutionary war; the one below bares the meaninglessness of the conflict, so pertinent to the 20th century militarisation of the whole continent and its endless armed strife led by colonels and generals of all hues and shades. Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?" What other reason could there be?" Colonel Gerineldo Marquez answered. "For the great Liberal party." You're lucky because you know why," he answered. "As far as I'm concerned, I've come to realize only just now that I'm fighting because of pride." That's bad," Colonel Gerineldo Marquez said. Colonel Aureliano Buendia was amused at his alarm. "Naturally," he said. "But in any case, it's better than not knowing why you're fighting." He looked him in the eyes and added with a smile: Or fighting, like you, for something that doesn't have any meaning for anyone.” Although I tried to avoid getting into this discussion, but a review of this work is not possible without throwing in the inevitable buzzword – magical realism. Although the book gets high praise from most readers, it is to be expected that some readers would take a disliking to the basic ingredients from which Marquez draws his style and narrative devices. I want to address in particular one argument from the naysayer camp that pops up again and again: it is not realistic; it can’t happen; this is not how things work. So I ask (and try to answer): what is it with our obsession with “realism” that makes some of us reject the conceptual framework of this novel? Aristotle in Poetics argues that a convincing impossibility in mimesis is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility. The stress is not on what can physically happen but on mimetic persuasion. This is why some novels that follow every bit of convention, every bit of realistic element in them turn out to be unbelievable stories with unbelievable characters. You want to forget them as soon as you finish the book – and toss it aside. But on the other hand Greek tragedies populated with cosmic characters pulling suprahuman feats continue to enthrall generations of readers. How realistic are those stories? It is the writer’s task to convince us that this could have happened in a world he has created and set the rules for. In that Marquez is more than successful, and this is the basis of the enduring appeal of this work. The distinction fell into place for me when I replaced ‘realism’ with ‘truth.’ Kafka’s haunting stories are so far from the 19th century convention of realism we have come to accept as the basis of novel-writing. His The Metamorphosis is not a representation of likely human activity (how could a human transform overnight into a large insect?) but it is nonetheless a harrowingly truthful story that advances existential dilemmas and makes a statement on human relationships, familial in particular. We say this is how it would feel like to be an outcast from one’s family. Or consider Hamsun’s Hunger in which a starving man puts his finger in his mouth and starts eating himself. In the ‘real’ world Kafka’s, Hamsun’s and Marquez’s characters cannot exist but the effect of their existence on us is as truthful and real as the dilemmas of any great realistic character ever created. Marquez, like a god, has written the First Testament of Latin America, synthesising myth and magic to reveal the truth of the human condition, and called it One Hundred Years of Solitude. February 2015

  14. 4 out of 5

    V. PARENTAL GUIDANCE: A Court of Wings and Ruin is NEW ADULT/EROTICA but Goodreads editors won't tell you

    WARNINGS WARNINGS I don't recommend this book if you feel uncomfortable with books that depict graphically * Pedophilia/rape (view spoiler)[ A 9 year old girl forced to marry and later bear a child to a grown man (hide spoiler)] * Incest/child abuse (view spoiler)[ The Buendia family members are constantly falling in love with close cousins, half brothers, nephews. An older woman Amarantha makes out with her underage nephew (hide spoiler)] * Non sensical Violence (view spoiler)[ including the crue WARNINGS WARNINGS I don't recommend this book if you feel uncomfortable with books that depict graphically * Pedophilia/rape (view spoiler)[ A 9 year old girl forced to marry and later bear a child to a grown man (hide spoiler)] * Incest/child abuse (view spoiler)[ The Buendia family members are constantly falling in love with close cousins, half brothers, nephews. An older woman Amarantha makes out with her underage nephew (hide spoiler)] * Non sensical Violence (view spoiler)[ including the cruel death of a newborn, and that's the ending scene. This book leaves you feeling disturbed (hide spoiler)] *Prostitution * Cheating * Bestiality * Women treated as objects sometimes by their own parents If you like me grew up reading marvelous books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, The Hunger games, which are all extremely strong in terms of characterization and character development and which are at times trashed by the same critics that praised this piece of cr%p, I doubt you'll enjoy this book because: * No plot, everything is a messy mix of twisted, and I mean TWISTED, disturbing, cringe-inducing family anecdotes *No character development. * Poor character presentation. Other than I know that Amarantha is somehow fierce it's difficult to describe the rest of the characters personalities. What are their goals? What do they want? What do they fear? Who are they? What are their motivations? * Poor worldbuilding. Am I supposed to know how Macondo, the setting of this book looks like? All I know is that Macondo founders were trying to reach the sea and they couldn't and were tired of travelling so I know there's no sea close to this town. The rules of this world don't seem to follow a logic, either. It's like Garcia Marques just smoke weed and added whatever he saw when he was under the effects of the weed to add magical elements here and there. I rarely notice worldbuilding issues in my reads because I have a strong imagination. Even books that don't describe the rules of their worlds or the setting properly don't turn me off, but since this book is universally praised as a "master piece" I was expecting more. * No coherent timeline, Little to No dialogue * Author breaking the rule of show don't tell 98% of the book I should have tried to convince my professor to change this assigment. I should've told him that this kind of topics are potential PTSD triggers for me (which is 100% true, although usually books don't activate triggers for me, certain kind of music and smells are triggering for me) or that they are against my religious beliefs (that'd been a lie, but I wish I had lied) Maybe it wouldn't have worked and still I'd been stuck to read this horrible book, but these professors should be more responsible when assigining this kind of disturbing readings and forcing people to read them taking away our sacred right of DNF a book we don't enjoy . I'm aware that the author won a Nobel Prize, but it seems to me that it was more like the academy thought it'd be rebellious and edgy to give an award to this author leaving other more talented authors out, therefore steering controversy. Sort of like they did when they gaveBob Dylan the Nobel Prize even if he's a songwriter and poet more than a book writer. I don't even know who is supposed to enjoy this book. I think that some Hispanic readers might find something good in this book because it seems to me that the author at times was talking about Colombian/Hispanic political issues in a metaphoric way, but honestly there wasn't enough of that. Also, the opening line of this book is supposedly matter of study in English literature courses around the world '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.' I can see why some readers might find that intriguing and get hooked from there, but I read a lot of books with great opening lines/paragraphs in commercial literature. Angefall by Susan EE, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Maze Runner by James Dashner have strong opening lines that get you hooked. I think every reader gets hooked by different opening lines, so why critics and scholars think this opening line is better than any is beyond me. However, I'll say that the ending scene was strong and extremely disturbing. It's a scene that will make you feel haunted and in search of a happy reading because (view spoiler)[ A newborn is eaten by ants. You're supposed to imagine the ants carrying only the carcass of what was moments before a lovely baby ... who was born with a pigtail O_O (hide spoiler)] I'm only writing this because I need to organize my ideas for my essay. I doubt that writing my honest opinion about this trash will earn me a good mark, so I'm trying to find an angle to write about. Maybe I can write about the role of women in Garcia's books. The other Garcia's book I read was Chronicle of a foretold death which was thankfully short and somehow realistic, but still 100% misogynist. An oudated view of women is common in this author's writings. My recommendations if you are forced to read this author: * Write notes for each time a new Buendia appears. There are at least a dozen characters sharing almost the exact name and that is confusing * Don't expect character development, don't expect world building * Don't expect brilliant dialogue, although you can expect beautiful monologues * Expect a lot of info-dumping and exposition * Expect a lot of magical elements, but not the kind of magic that makes you want to live in this world. * Expect a lot of misogynism It's like the author comes from ancient times or the Taliban and his views on women are very outdated. As a demi-feminist some scenes were hard to stomach. * Keep an enjoyable read at hand because sometimes you're tired of this world and you want to get out of it by reading something good. Long story short, this book is way Overrated. Overrated doesn't cover it. I think the author, may he rest in peace, might have written it under the effects of the weed. Best reviews I found on GR: Martine's Adam's

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    I cannot tell you how much I love this book, and how much I adore the writing of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. His style, el realismo mágico (magical realism), elevates frugal prose to another level. Salman Rushdie was, and still is, heavily influenced by Márquez. He described him as "The greatest of us all." Louis de Bernières was similarly inspired by the great man. I first read this book more than twenty years ago, and it has remained part of my authorial psyche ever since. As with Rush I cannot tell you how much I love this book, and how much I adore the writing of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. His style, el realismo mágico (magical realism), elevates frugal prose to another level. Salman Rushdie was, and still is, heavily influenced by Márquez. He described him as "The greatest of us all." Louis de Bernières was similarly inspired by the great man. I first read this book more than twenty years ago, and it has remained part of my authorial psyche ever since. As with Rushdie's work, you can literally point a pin at any sentence in this book to reveal an imaginative genius that most of us could never aspire to. A newcomer to Márquez's work might be alarmed to see barely a paragraph break to each page. Don't worry, deep breath, you'll get used to it. I reread this fantastically demented, wonderfully brilliant book last week, only for my wife to shoot me quizzical looks as I had a Harry Met Salvatora bookgasm, while pouting at his dazzling prose, purring at his human imagery and ohhhh, licking my lips at his sumptuous outlandishness. There is one line on the book's back cover, penned by The Times newspaper, that sums this masterpiece up perfectly: "Sweeping, chaotic brilliance, often more poetry than prose ... one vast and musical saga." So there you have it, a book so momentous that I will revisit it a few more times before I eventually pop my clogs.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    I imagine these people looking and saying, "Yes, but what does it mean?" As literary critics everywhere cringe or roll over in their clichéd graves I approach this text and review the same way. One Hundred Years of Solitude... beautiful, intriguing... but what does it mean? And does it have to mean anything? Oscar Wilde: "All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril." And what about those who skip acro I imagine these people looking and saying, "Yes, but what does it mean?" As literary critics everywhere cringe or roll over in their clichéd graves I approach this text and review the same way. One Hundred Years of Solitude... beautiful, intriguing... but what does it mean? And does it have to mean anything? Oscar Wilde: "All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril." And what about those who skip across the surface, like a stone? Able only to make so many hops before sinking, blinded by the mud, disoriented by the current to the bottom? What are we? This was (is) a beautiful book. Like Guernica. Like Dali. It's religious, and political, and sexual. ... and confusing. And as long as I haven't over-used it already - beautiful. It's the literary Big Fish and I'm sure people will and have debated what it means, and authorial intent and it won the Nobel Prize for crying out loud, but maybe it's to display on a prominent house wall and be debated. It's easy to get a handle on the broad and general themes - history is cyclical - not progressive, progress is a myth (and "progress" is evil), go after love, be careful not to let memories or nostalgia bow you down, seek knowledge, the world is mysterious and doesn't always make sense, don't be intimidated of anybody - especially of your past self or selves. Beyond that it's just conjecture. The story begins with Jose Arcadio Buendia -the patriarch - and the founding of Macondo. It follows the lineage of his descendants - many living mythically long lives and bringing in enchanted aspects. The dead live, return from the future, invent and disappear - but not in a machine of the gods way - it's more dream-like. The lineage frustrated me. In order to illustrate his point on the circular view of history, there were 4 Joses, 22 Aurelianos, 5 Arcadios, a couple Ursulas and Remedioses to boot. And Pilar Ternera found herself grandmother or great grandmother to far too many kids. Even with the family tree in the front of the book, it was difficult to tell which Arcadio or Jose or Aureliano was which - especially given the fact that so many of the characters lived past 100. (Or even past 145.) The book was intriguing. I loved the tidbits that came back into play throughout the book - the ash on the heads of the Aurelianos, Melquiades stopping by for a chat - that's what made it for me. Like I said, I don't think this was a book to "get." But if you do "get it," don't cliff note it to me. I like it the way it is in my mind.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav

    Ah! Has it really happened? Is it really a novel? It's one of those books which leave you with somewhat these kind of thoughts; it's a book which moves with every word. The novel deals with so many themes that it really hard to associate it with a few. However, one thing is for sure that the novel leaves you spellbound with an 'almost out of the world experience'; and you want to experience it just one more time every time you experience it !!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Many years ago I was told this is one of those books you have to read before you die. I didn't get far on that occasion, but returned recently with steely determination to have a second bite at the cherry (or should that be banana), to see if it really lives up to all the hype. Well, I certainly don't think I would take this as one of my few novels after being dumped on a desert island, nor would I have a special place on my bookshelf, and take it out every now and then to scrape moss from the c Many years ago I was told this is one of those books you have to read before you die. I didn't get far on that occasion, but returned recently with steely determination to have a second bite at the cherry (or should that be banana), to see if it really lives up to all the hype. Well, I certainly don't think I would take this as one of my few novels after being dumped on a desert island, nor would I have a special place on my bookshelf, and take it out every now and then to scrape moss from the cover and shoo away any unwanted lizards from within the pages, but yes, I am glad to have read it. My fifth Marquez book had what I would come to expect in terms of magical realism, but through all the death, violence, and weird happenings, I found many of the characters still attached to real life situations, dealing with love, loss and war that had real consequences. I also found it darker in places than what I expected, but then again, what did I expect?. This is Marquez after all, and he sprung many a surprise on me. Mostly all good. The names though, Ggggrrrrr!!!!! where was my copy of the family tree?, I bloody well could have done with one. Took much wrangling with the old grey matter to figure out just who is who's son/daughter etc...but just about got there. The narrative is a magician's trick in which memory and prophecy, illusion and reality are mixed and often made to look the same. How does one describe the techniques and themes of the book without making it sound absurdly complicated, labored and almost impossible to read. Though concocted of quirks, ancient mysteries, family secrets and peculiar contradictions, it makes sense that it doesn't always make sense but that's what gives the pleasure in dozens of little and immediate ways. The book is a prognostic history, not of governments or of formal institutions of the sort which keeps public records, but of a people who, like the earliest descendants of mankind are best understood in terms of their relationship to a single family. In a sense, José and Ursula are the only two characters in the story, and all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are variations on their strengths and weaknesses. José, forever fascinated by the unknown, takes up project after project, invention after invention, in order among other things, to make gold, discover the ocean and photograph God. He eventually goes mad, smashes things, refuses to speak except in Latin and is tied to a giant chestnut tree in the middle of the family garden. A mixture of obsessive idealism and durable practicality informs the lives of the Buendía descendants. The males, all named Arcadio or Aureliano, go off to sea, lead revolutions, follow gypsies, fall disastrously in love with their sisters and aunts (except one who develops a passion for a 12-year-old-girl) but most of them add to the family's stature and wealth and all contribute generously to its number. The women are not overshadowed by the men, one feature I found most welcome, and the bizarre events including eating dirt through depression, burning hands in the wake of suicide, and sending an innocent beauty to heaven with the family sheets left for never a dull moment. 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. It is a South American Genesis, an earthy piece of enchantment and so much more. It might have been just another phase in the incestuous life of Macondo, like the 32 revolutions or the insomnia plague, but enchantment and solitude cannot survive the gringos any more than they can avoid the 20th century. The novel is packed full of political commentary on real-life events and there are several reminders of the tangible material world, we can say that the misogyny and violence don’t matter because none of it is real? depends how you interpret Márquez, the one thing I found to be the novels strongest assets were that he offers plenty of reflections on loneliness and the passing of time, the caustic commentary on the evils of war, and a warm appreciation for familial bonds. Through all the magical and strange tidings García Márquez has urgent things to say, about the world, about us. It didn't all work for me structurally, and I still prefer the shorter writings of 'Innocent Erendira and Other Stories' as my favourite Márquez to date, but it's easy to see why for so many this remains such a cherished novel throughout the world.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    "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." And so begins our journey into Macondo, as García Márquez's words walk us through seven generations of the Buendia family, where time has come to a standstill, and the fate of every character seems to be written with an ink of tragedy. Gabriel García Márquez is a truly gifted storyteller, and his ability to find metaphors, to make fables out o "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." And so begins our journey into Macondo, as García Márquez's words walk us through seven generations of the Buendia family, where time has come to a standstill, and the fate of every character seems to be written with an ink of tragedy. Gabriel García Márquez is a truly gifted storyteller, and his ability to find metaphors, to make fables out of the most mundane events in life with the charm of Scheherazade allows him a rare distinction of being one of the pioneers of magical realism. Themes and Symbolism The book has a plot sewn together with metaphors and rhetoric representing the story of Latin America as a whole. Insomnia plague Rebeca brings a mysterious insomnia plague to Macondo, causing loss of memory and sleep. The people of Macondo entertained themselves by telling each other the same nonsensical stories in repetition and everything in households having to be labeled, representing a metaphor for the story of Latin America being a repetition of its past and its cure at the hands of the sage represented its return to history, moving out of isolation. Incest The Buendias are shown to have a tendency towards incest, while their family always suffers from the fear of punishment in the form of the birth of a monstrous child with a pig's tail. Gender roles Throughout the novel, the men instigate chaos while the women strive to maintain order, sometimes in vain. García Márquez calls this a representation of the Latin American machismo. The Glass City The glass city is an image that comes to José Arcadio Buendía in a dream. It is the reason for the location of the founding of Macondo, but it is also a symbol of the fate of Macondo. Colors Yellow and gold are two significant colors in Macondo's history. In Macondo, gold represents solitude and bad luck. When José Arcadio Buendía discovers the formula for turning metals into gold and shows his son the result of his experiment, he says it looks like dog shit. "Yellow is lucky but gold isn’t, nor the color gold. I identify gold with shit. I’ve been rejecting shit since I was a child, so a psychoanalyst told me." - Gabriel García Márquez in The Fragrance of the Guava by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza The Banana Massacre The Banana massacre was a massacre of workers for the United Fruit Company that occurred between December 5 and 6, 1928 in the town of Ciénaga near Santa Marta, Colombia. The strike began on November 12, 1928, when the workers ceased to perform labor if the company did not reach an agreement with them to grant them dignified working conditions. A fictional version of the massacre is depicted in the novel. The Flood The story has a biblical period of rain and flood, quite similar to the tale of Noah. Borges Some of the themes in the novel are obviously inspired by the works of Jorge Luis Borges. The Garden of Forking Paths, The Library of Babel and many more Borges stories have similar themes of inevitable and inescapable repetition in fictitious realms.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kenghis Khan

    "The book picks up not too far after Genesis left off." And this fictitious chronicle of the Buendia household in the etherial town of Macondo somewhere in Latin America does just that. Rightly hailed as a masterpiece of the 20th century, Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" will remain on the reading list of every pretentious college kid, every under-employed author, every field-worker in Latin America, and indeed should be "required reading for the entire human race," as one review "The book picks up not too far after Genesis left off." And this fictitious chronicle of the Buendia household in the etherial town of Macondo somewhere in Latin America does just that. Rightly hailed as a masterpiece of the 20th century, Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" will remain on the reading list of every pretentious college kid, every under-employed author, every field-worker in Latin America, and indeed should be "required reading for the entire human race," as one reviewer put it a few decades back. No review, however laconic or ponderous, can do justice to this true piece of art. Perhaps I can only hint at a few of the striking features of the work that are so novel, so insightful, and which make it such a success in my opinion. By far and away the most inspiring element of the work is the author's tone. He reportedly self-conscioulsy wrote in the style that his grandmother back in Columbia used to tell him stories. Thus there is a conversational, meandering, but indeed succinct and perfect narrative voice to whisk the reader through the years of Macondo's fantastical history. Not unrelatedly, the tone has ample visual imagery, with superb attention to detail (and just the right quantity and nature of the detail that surrounds everyday life) to help prod the story along. The dolls of the child-bride treasured by the mother-in-law and heroine Ursula. The paranormal and mundane contrivences of the gypsies that are celebrated in the opening pages and which close the book. The tree to which the mad genius who founded the town and Buendia line is tied and dies in. The pretentious suitcases of the returning emigre. The goldfishes that are the relicts of a disillusioned but celebrated warrior. And the ubiquitous ants. All these objects have their proper place among the daily going abouts of the Buendia family, and serve to weave into the story a sense of BOTH the ordinary and the surreal. There is ample space in this world of Macondo and the Buendias for a sad commentary on that world South of the Rio Grande. Incessant, pointless civil wars. A rigid political and ecclesiastical hierarchy shoved down the throats of decent folk. The rampant exploitation of the tropics by outsiders, both foreign and domesitc. And perhaps most significantly, the strangely marginal and uncomfortable space occupied by technology in daily life in the Latino world. I am surely not alone in uncovering some facet of the work that speaks so boldly and loudly to me. This rich yet surprisingly elegant novel has, it seems, on every page the germinating seeds of an exciting conversation that speaks directly to an observation and experience everybody, and especially those coming to or from Latin America (or any underdeveloped nation), has had. And of course there are the brilliant characters, and the sense one gets of how they are affected by, and in turn affect, their setting. The story is aided by a pedigree one keeps referring to in the beginning of the book, as its immense scope (yes, 100 years) and maddening array of characters demand of the reader to conjure up visualizations of what exactly is going on. It is no wonder that this work is celebrated for being almost biblical in scope. Yes, my review can be condensed into three words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gaurav

    The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we're not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence. -Paul Auster Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water th The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we're not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence. -Paul Auster Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The World was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Life starts again after every stroke of death. ‘Nihilo ex Nihilo’, the philosophical expression comes to my mind as soon as finished the book; the expression translates into ‘nothing out of nothing’ which means that there is no break in-between a world that did not exist and one that did, since it could not be created ex nihilo in the first place. Macondo recreates the history of universe/ s in such a way that when existence of one universe reduces to nill, the other universe takes shape out of nothing however the rules in the new universe may not conform to the laws of the first one. Eventually, we come across the solitude of existence, though we may develop myths- which become tradition/ culture over the years- but we may not be able to overcome it. Solitude and Freedom are two such themes which have been very close to human heart after being ‘civilized’. Human beings may have indefinite degrees of freedom which allow them to act or define their life in infinite ways but eventually solitude of existence curbs their degrees of freedom. Or we may say that existence is solitude- since we crawl in nothingness. Every act of life is like a fast revolving axis on which all the possibilities or probabilities- including imaginations- throw themselves and some of those strike sometimes and others some other times, and those probabilities manifest themselves in the form of hope, myths, dreams, fears, madness and imaginations. There is perhaps one thing which is common between different universes- the endurance of life, the endurance to keep moving no matter what and that’s what underlines One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is the second time I read this epic jewel of literature. One Hundred of Solitude, surely one of the most entertaining books ever written in Latin America, does not reveal what it conceals beyond simple text in first reading which may provide entertainment and recognition; rather it demands a second reading which is in effect the ‘real’ reading. And this demand is the essential secret of this great mythic and ‘simultaneist’ novel. It demands multiple readings probably because it supposes multiple authorships. The first reading may be straight forward, having facts of founding family of Mocando, sequentially, chronologically, with a biblical and Rabelaisian hyberbole: Aureliano son of Jose Aureliano son of Aureliano son of Jose Aureliano- which also underlines the tradition of Latin America. The second reading begins the moment the first ends: the reader feels that the miracle-working gypsy Melquiades has already written the events of Mocando and he is revealed as the narrator of the book one hundred years later. The second reading did something unimaginable – it combines in a peculiar form, the order of the actual events with the order of the probable events so that the former destiny is liberated by latter wish. At that instant, you may realize that two things occur simultaneously: the book begins again, but this time the chronological history runs simultaneously as a mythic historicity, and perhaps that’s where the world famous- but least understood- genre of Magic Realism took its steps of adulthood and the whole world marvel at this ingenious literary achievement. She finally mixed up the past with the present in such a way that in the two or three waves of lucidity that she had before she died, no one knew for certain whether she was speaking about what she felt or what she remembered. Little by little she was shrinking, turning into a foetus, becoming mummified in life to the point that in her last months she was a cherry raisin lost inside of her nightgown, and the arm that she always kept raised looked like the paw of a marimonda monkey. The profusion and meticulous vagueness of the information seemed to Aureliano Segundo so similar to the tales of spiritualists that he kept on with his enterprise in spite of the fact that they were in August and they would have to wait at least three years in order to satisfy the conditions of the prediction. The book is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America. Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility - the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel García Márquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master. The survivors of the epic saga of Macondo- Aureliano and Amaranta Ursula, ‘secluded by solitude and love and by the solitude of love in a house where then begins to unfold the mythic, whose simultaneous and renewable character will not be made clear until the final pages, when the reader realizes that whole story has been written already by the gypsy Melquiades, the seer who was present at the foundation of Macondo and who, to keep it in existence, had to resort to the same trick as Jose Arcadio Buendia: writing. There lies the profound paradox of the second reading of One Hundred Years of Solitude: everything was known, before it happened, by the sacred, utopian, mythic, founding prophecies of Melquiades, but nothing will be known if Melquiades does not record it in writing. Like Cervantes, Garcia Marquez establishes the frontiers of reality within a book and the frontiers of a book within a reality. The final protection, which Aureliano had begun to glimpse when he let himself be confused by the love of Amaranta Ursula, was based on the fact that Melquiades had not put events in the order of man's conventional time, but had concentrated a century of daily episodes, in such a way that they coexisted in one instant. Ursula's lucidity, her ability to be sufficient unto herself made one think that she was naturally conquered by the weight of her hundred years, but even though it was obvious that she was having trouble seeing, no one suspected that she was totally blind. She had so much time at her disposal then and so much interior silence to watch over the life of the house that she was the first to notice Meme's silent tribulation. The legends, stories which have been told us over generations through ancestors, society and other pillars of civilized society, become myths over long period of time, time plays important role in amalgamation of reality and myth. Memory also plays important role in creation and re creation of Macondo. Memory repeats the models, the matrixes of the beginning, in the same way as Colonel Buendia, again and again, makes gold fishes which he remelts to make them again….to be continually reborn, to ensure with strict, ritual, heartfelt acts the permanence of the cosmos. Macondo itself tell all its ‘real’ history and all its ‘fictional’ history, all the notary’s evidence and all the rumors, legends, slanders, pious lies, exaggerations and inventions that no one written down, that the old have told to the children, that the village women have whispered to the priest, that the sorcerers have invoked in the middle of the night and the street vendors cried out in the square. What are we up to now? Myth or reality. Myth denies reality or where there is reality, no scope for myth. Perhaps myth deny history but the dead, oppressive, factual history which Marquez sheds off in order to bring about, in this very book, a dream like mix of different Latin Americas set in different times. A meeting with the living past, the matrix, which is tradition of severance and risk: each generation of Buendia will know the death of one son in a revolution- a movement- that will never end. After which, we have meeting with imaginative- Utopian world: ice reaches the torrid jungle of Macondo for the first time casing the surprise of the supernatural: the magic will be inextricably linked to usefulness. And eventually, a meeting with the absolute present in which we remember and want: a vivid novel like the long chronicle of a century of solitude in Columbia, but read as an invention committed, precariously, to the peripatetic papers of Melaquiades. Macondo- A place that will hold everyone, that will hold all of us: the seat of time, the enshrinement of all times, the meeting ground of memory and a desire, a common place where everything can begin again: a book. Marquez transforms the evil in his work into beauty and humour- dark humour. Marquez realizes that our history is not only destined: in an obscure way, we have also wanted it. Garcia Marquez weaves a universe wherein a right to the imagination is able to distinguish between mystifications in which a dead past wants to pass for the living present and mystifications in which a living present reclaims the life of the past. Upset by two nostalgias facing each other like two mirrors, he lost his marvellous sense of unreality and he ended up recommending to all of them that they leave Macondo, 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 an ephemeral truth in the end . It was then that she understood the vicious circle of Colonel Aureliano Buendia's little gold fishes. The world was reduced to the surface of her skin and her inner self was safe from all bitterness. It pained her not to have had that revelation many years before when it would have still been possible to purify memories and reconstruct the universe under a new light and evoke without trembling Pietro Crespi's smell of lavender at dusk and rescue Rebecca from her slough of misery, not out of hatred or out of love but because of the measureless understanding of solitude. The books leaves you with a hollowness in your heart- the kind of hollowness you feel when you happens to encounter end of life- even in some other forms, a sense of exhaustion surrounds your mind and you find it hard to gather your thoughts and put them into words. I am feeling the same right now as I am writing this review, but life takes birth again and time moves on, that is also theme of the book. The book is must for everyone who wants to leave mundane and experience magic of life. 5/5 *edited on 29.05.18

  22. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    The Point of Myth? I suppose if your taste runs to JRR Tolkien and Carlos Castaneda this would be a book for you. But mine doesn’t and this isn’t. I prefer James Joyce and Carl Jung. I understand Marquez’s metaphorical recapitulation of the history of Latin America, his articulation of the repetitiveness of human folly over generations, his recognition of the dangers of human inquiry and technological progress, his appreciation of the dialectical quality of things like ambition, masculine strengt The Point of Myth? I suppose if your taste runs to JRR Tolkien and Carlos Castaneda this would be a book for you. But mine doesn’t and this isn’t. I prefer James Joyce and Carl Jung. I understand Marquez’s metaphorical recapitulation of the history of Latin America, his articulation of the repetitiveness of human folly over generations, his recognition of the dangers of human inquiry and technological progress, his appreciation of the dialectical quality of things like ambition, masculine strength, sex, and family life. But I am still left unimpressed and unaffected by the result. For me the various Jose Arcadia Buendia’s and their homophonic relatives are like Hobbits. They operate in the world in a permanent state of awed surprise - slack-jawed and glassy-eyed. They lack the ability for introspective reflection and so bumble from one crisis to the next but never confront the inimical content of themselves with any awareness. They'd rather be at home but only when they're away from it. Consequently there is no tension of development, of discovery, but merely the flatness of yet another unnecessary familial trial that leads nowhere except to further obsession and avoidable grief. After all, at least Joyce’s Bloom and Homer’s Ulysses have moments of personal insight or revelation. In contrast, Marquez’s JAB’s seem obstinately obtuse. Like any other parabolic myth, One Hundred Years satisfies many interpretations, even contradictory ones: the world of the inquiring intellect vs. the world of the participative human being; personal ambition vs. communal duty; power and its conceits; the sources of tribal identity, etc. But for me these possibilities don’t lead to anything more meaningful than the opportunity presented by a telephone book to ring up any number of strangers. I find nothing ‘larger’ to which such things point. The various JAB’s are fatally fascinated solely by what presents itself in front of them. I think I would prefer the story of Marquez’s gypsy seer, Melquiades, who had “an Asiatic look that seemed to know what there was on the other side of things.” But Marquez doesn’t say anything else about what that might be.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy

    Mr. Márquez, or may I call you Gabriel?, how you dream and with your dreams carry us with you through an epic world so magical, so delicious that I can forget my old pains. Old realities take over and remind me that the past is here with us, years pass and time stands still, and the perception is of solitude mixed with love. Yes, I found your tale mesmerizingly beautiful – what is more, it is a story of overpowering and eternal love! How could I not be enthralled? 'Intrigued by that enigma, he Mr. Márquez, or may I call you Gabriel?, how you dream and with your dreams carry us with you through an epic world so magical, so delicious that I can forget my old pains. Old realities take over and remind me that the past is here with us, years pass and time stands still, and the perception is of solitude mixed with love. Yes, I found your tale mesmerizingly beautiful – what is more, it is a story of overpowering and eternal love! How could I not be enthralled? 'Intrigued by that enigma, he dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her.' Is that how you conceived this hundred years in your mind? 'Thus they went on living in a reality that was slipping away, momentarily captured by words, but which would escape irremediably when they forgot the values of the written letters.' Is this a fable or simple memories that came back to you? You tell us of a love story, or many as the years go by, and it leaves us spellbound. Is it a myth you remembered? As I read your One Hundred Years of Solitude my brain forgot to breathe and I almost died. 'He really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude.' You might seem sometimes nonsensical, but your feelings permeate through the pages and infect us so deliciously. Do you think we are a little crazy together to love so much this way of dreaming? Familial insanity; endearing love; out of this world moments as when your people eat mud, or your thunderstorms are made up of yellow flowers. For me the idea of mass forgetfulness was particularly unique: 'In all the houses keys to memorizing objects and feelings had been written. But the system demanded so much vigilance and moral strength that many succumbed to the spell of an imaginary reality, one invented by themselves, which was less practical for them but more comforting.' And you present it all in a way so natural and light that we have to believe you believe in it all. 'Of course. Of course he grows aquatic plants in his false teeth. Now why wouldn't he?' If you could imagine the epitome of unique, I would say it was your writing. I know, not all uncommon writings are delightful, amazing like yours. Not all are as beautiful. 'Thinking that it would console him, she took a piece of charcoal and erased the innumerable loves that he still owed her for, and she voluntarily brought up her own most solitary sadnesses so as not to leave him alone in his weeping.' Sure, it's an epic tragedy following a long line of familial insanity. But even you could not stop from creating people suffering a spreading plague of contagious insomnia, but above all of loving eternally. It's all presented in such a natural light that we may think: does Macambo exist somewhere? Do you believe that we could find it if we searched for it? Maybe simply through our imagination, just like you did it. 'He sank into the rocking chair, the same one in which Rebecca had sat during the early days of the house to give embroidery lessons, and in which Amaranta had played Chinese checkers with Colonel Gerineldo Marquez, and in which Amarana Ursula had sewn the tiny clothing for the child, and in that flash of lucidity he became aware that he was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past.' Yes, Gabriel, I loved all the memories of honor, magic, high hopes, love, death, revolution, futility and sadness you created for us. There may not be a happy ending, but there are love and hope despite the sufferings. 'Death really did not matter to him but life did, and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear but of nostalgia.' ____

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mister Jones

    I must be missing something about this one, and whatever it is, I know it's not much. I didn't enjoy it; I wanted it to be a fulfilling and rewarding read; I want it to be everything that everyone else said it was and then some. So, I learned that some works aren't worth it--not worth reading, not worth the time, and not worth putting faith in what others may deem "a beautiful book." Marquez pops characters in and out with different brief activities and events, scattering them into a literary colla I must be missing something about this one, and whatever it is, I know it's not much. I didn't enjoy it; I wanted it to be a fulfilling and rewarding read; I want it to be everything that everyone else said it was and then some. So, I learned that some works aren't worth it--not worth reading, not worth the time, and not worth putting faith in what others may deem "a beautiful book." Marquez pops characters in and out with different brief activities and events, scattering them into a literary collage; humans with tails, and a girl who eats dirt..those things would be interesting if a story was surrounding each one, but there isn't. It's like going to a carnival looking through a peep hole and seeing a freak of nature briefly. To just pop these abnormalities in as being convincing, which it sure as hell isn't, seems to be stretching the point of lucidity and literary, and after that, I stopped reading--because there's a big difference in reading and just wallowing in a collage of intellectual masturbation where events and names are continuously wrapped around the charming misnomer:"magic realism." Ultimately, it's monotonous, confusing, and in the end boring as hell. I've given it no stars because I'm so full of magic realism. I'm real and can perform magic,and I'm far more convincing than this pretentious work ever could be. Watch me: I'm waving my literary wand and sending 100 Days of Boring Crap on a magic carpet ride directly into my "crap that actually got published" bin. BRAVO!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude: "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." This long phrase is so full of life and humor that although I mentioned Márquez yesterday, I couldn't help but mention it again. First off, to start off the novel with a firing squad on the subject of the sentence, time is thrown into a loop which winds and weaves its way through generati Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude: "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." This long phrase is so full of life and humor that although I mentioned Márquez yesterday, I couldn't help but mention it again. First off, to start off the novel with a firing squad on the subject of the sentence, time is thrown into a loop which winds and weaves its way through generations of Buendías throughout the novel. The magic of discovering ice is also one of the fine touches that Márquez is so known for: taking the ordinary and turning into something spectacular. The fact that the character and his father are both mentioned here foreshadows the complex and rambling family tree that the reader will get intimately familiar with (and confused by) throughout the book. I read this one in high school (kind of a jab at the anti-Columbian attitude of Cuban Miami by my forward thinking AP English teacher - the best professor or teacher that I ever had) and have probably re-read it about eight or nine times, each being more enjoyable than the last. I have since read all of Mario Vargas Llosa's work who is probably the most comparable South American writer of the same period and have to say that I was seduced by his writing quite a bit. One Hundred Years still stands out as a monumental piece of literature, and if you enjoy it, I would suggest trying The War at the End of the World by MVL as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Well Mr Marquez may have a Nobel Prize for his mantelpiece and a pretty good imagination for writing what with the levitating women and babies made of ice cream but he has no imagination at all when he is thinking of his characters names which are like to drive you entirely insane in this novel, will you please look at this. There are five people called Arcadio, ,three ladies called Remedios, two ladies called Amaranta and there’s a Pietro and a Petra which look quite similar, and there are 23 p Well Mr Marquez may have a Nobel Prize for his mantelpiece and a pretty good imagination for writing what with the levitating women and babies made of ice cream but he has no imagination at all when he is thinking of his characters names which are like to drive you entirely insane in this novel, will you please look at this. There are five people called Arcadio, ,three ladies called Remedios, two ladies called Amaranta and there’s a Pietro and a Petra which look quite similar, and there are 23 people called Aureliano (17 of them sons of an Aureliano, so this father has as much lack of name imagination as Mr Marquez). It does give a reader brain ache trying to remember who is who and why they are levitating and which one lives to be 530 years old. I think this is a very good novel for people who like to go into trances for hours at a time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mala

    "Sometimes great books have deleterious consequences for other writers, creating footsteps that can’t be walked in, shade the sun can’t penetrate, expectations that have no grounds. Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude crushed the hopes of scores of young Colombian writers, and the spread of magic realism was not exactly beneficent, since it takes a magician to work magic and because rabbits don’t hide in just anybody’s hat." – William H Gass, in the essay 'Influence' from A Tem "Sometimes great books have deleterious consequences for other writers, creating footsteps that can’t be walked in, shade the sun can’t penetrate, expectations that have no grounds. Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude crushed the hopes of scores of young Colombian writers, and the spread of magic realism was not exactly beneficent, since it takes a magician to work magic and because rabbits don’t hide in just anybody’s hat." – William H Gass, in the essay 'Influence' from A Temple of Texts. This is a book of such terrible and heartbreaking beauty that I'm still reeling from the impact! Books like Nightwood & One Hundred Years of Solitude are proof that greatness shdn't be judged by size alone. This tale is perfect cause in it Márquez finally found the "right tone"– ...the tone that I eventually used in One Hundred Years of Solitude. It was based on the way my grandmother used to tell her stories. She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness. When I finally discovered the tone I had to use, I sat down for eighteen months and worked every day.* The mythical Macondo could be any place on earth where mankind was promised paradise but destroyed it as only man could. Although Márquis said that he only wrote this as a book about incest, it's quite clear that it is a metaphor for the political & social history of Colombia rather broadly of Latin America's colonial past & its tentative march towards modernity as most events described herein are based on facts: Márquez’s native town of Aracataca as the inspiration for the fictional Macondo, the long & bloody civil war roiling South America 1850 onwards, the political assasinations, the arrival of the railways & the cinema, the cruel exploitation of Colombia by the American United Fruit Company, & the horrific massacre of the protesting workers by the Colombian military at the behest of the foreign imperialists, are some of the instances. "García Márquez’s masterpiece, however, appeals not just to Latin American experiences, but to larger questions about human nature. It is, in the end, a novel as much about specific social and historical circumstances—disguised by fiction and fantasy—as about the possibility of love and the sadness of alienation and solitude." Just as Rushdie described the waning years of the British Empire & then a free India's tryst with destiny through the Sinai family in Midnight's Children ( a book inspired by this book!), the narrative here is told through the meteoric rise & rise & subsequent decline & fall of the House of Buendias — the first family of Macondo who become a symbol of the culture & the country. Like the famous first families around the world – the Kennedys, the Perons, the Gandhis, the Bhuttos – their charisma carries their curse: The charismatic patriarch José Aureliano Buendia, who starts with such dreams & promise, like so many of his descendants, eventually resigns himself: "We shall never get anywhere. . . . We'll rot our lives away here without the benefits of science". (19) His descendants all inherit the same difficulty, and thus all eventually succumb to the power of nostalgia, to opting out of their historical reality, which they have never really understood clearly. They cope with their failure by an inner withdrawal...Loneliness in Macondo and among the Buendias is not an accidental condition, something that could be alleviated by better communications or more friends, and it is not the metaphysical loneliness of existentialists, a stage shared by all men. It is a particular vocation, a shape of character that is inherited, certainly, but also chosen, a doom that looks inevitable but is freely endorsed. The Buendias seek out their solitude, enclose themselves in it as if it were their shroud. As a result they become yet another emblem of the unreality.** What's in a name? A lot, it seems! The theme of a circular time is emphasised again & again through many devices - The multi-generational Buendia family keep giving the same ancestral names over & over to the children of the family, any attempt to break away from this practice is thwarted. The reduction in names' length means reduction in other ways as well – the boys are less of men - more dissolute, purposeless & solitary. The Buendias put the D back in dysfunctional : incest, adultery, debauchery, self-centeredness & excesses of all sorts abound. By having the same names they are condemned to repeat the mistakes of their earlier namesakes - first as farce then as tragedy; their ineffectual repetitive behaviour symbolised in the futile thirty-two armed uprisings & the little gold fishes of Colonel Aureliano Buendia. The narrative plays out like a Greek tragedy – The characters seem fated to act out their lives as if there were no other way – for example, the seventeen boys of Colonel Aureliano, with the Ash Wednesday cross on their foreheads, are sitting ducks for political vendetta. The Biblical allusions are woven throughout – The Paradise discovered & lost, the deluge & plagues & finally Macondo is so deep in sins that like Sodom & Gomorrah, it has to be destroyed. The ending is heartbreaking but it couldn't have ended any other way. But if you read closely, there is a ray of hope! I can't recommend this book enough - the epic scope of its narrative, the Magical Realism that became a standard for others writing in this genre, the deeply flawed but oh so human & memorable characters & Márquez's exquisite & at times hypnotic prose will keep you glued to this profoundly sad & disturbing tale. A note regarding spoilers Readers who are finicky about their spoiler alerts shd avoid this book – after every few pages the omniscient narrator gleefully announces the gruesome deaths that will befall the various members of the Buendia family, not to mention the back & forth in narrative time, the predictions & foreshadowing galore. Point is, spoiler alerts are for ninnies – Adults just get on with it! (*) Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 69, Gabriel Garcia Marquez http://www.theparisreview.org/intervi... (**) A must read: Lecture on One Hundred Years of Solitude http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/intro... This too: Memory and Prophecy, Illusion and Reality Are Mixed and Made to Look the Same http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/06/15...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    ...The prose can be confusing at the start ...Repetition of names makes it challenging to keep track of who is who. ...Yet, this is a reading experience like no other ...."mysterious & magical realism" ....comic novel yet exudes a strong undercurrent of sadness, sadness and tragic futility. ...The male characters are passionate sexuality and filled with ambition -- ...Most of the female characters have common sense, determination, and passionate eroticism ...Both sexes can't seem to relate to t ...The prose can be confusing at the start ...Repetition of names makes it challenging to keep track of who is who. ...Yet, this is a reading experience like no other ...."mysterious & magical realism" ....comic novel yet exudes a strong undercurrent of sadness, sadness and tragic futility. ...The male characters are passionate sexuality and filled with ambition -- ...Most of the female characters have common sense, determination, and passionate eroticism ...Both sexes can't seem to relate to the outside world of the town they are in ... ...The novel does cover 100 years. ...This is a huge Latin American Historical novel -multi-layered epic of the Buendia family. Its rooted in reality -the development of Colombia since its independent from Spain in the 19th century. Its not only a story about this family itself but of evolution of society from 'nothing' to social and family groups --as the town itself is as much the protagonist as the family is. We see the development of religion from fairy tales and magic moving forward into today's more modern world. ...There is ongoing intermingling of the fantastic and the ordinary throughout the story. Its fascinating to observe the magic evolve with the family and the village of Macondo --which they founded after leaving their home in the mountains --searching for the ocean. They failed to find the ocean--but they built their town on the edge of the great swamp. ...The town changes and is transformed by new inventions. "A heavy Man" sold Jose Arcadio Buendia a magnet -then later a telescope. --It was the gypsies who first brought these 'inventions'. ...Obsessions, solitude, love, and war are themes throughout ... Characters have different ways for masking their pain: ...One girl eats dirt, ...Some characters lock 'themselves' away physically, ...One man loses his mind and is tied to a chestnut tree ...Another man spends years writing on parchments -another man spends years trying to decipher them .... You really read about 'flying carpets' -- ...In 'some' ways this book reminds me of "Midnights Children" by Salmon Rushie. In both books the prose is lyrical that create deep visual imagery --magic -and fantasy. ...The ending of the story --seems to be about 'learning, then moving on'. .... ....A dazzling masterpiece!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'd like to think this book defies description, but I lie. It's pretty much an epic 5 generation story of a mythical Columbian town rife with magical realism. There's a lot of walking dead, dead stored in bags, dead bleeding on the streets, and the not quite dead of a peep that lives for over 500 years. Never mind the magic carpets or the thousands of people with the same damn name. It's a family that will damn well reuse a loved name over and over because they loved the originals so damn much. I'd like to think this book defies description, but I lie. It's pretty much an epic 5 generation story of a mythical Columbian town rife with magical realism. There's a lot of walking dead, dead stored in bags, dead bleeding on the streets, and the not quite dead of a peep that lives for over 500 years. Never mind the magic carpets or the thousands of people with the same damn name. It's a family that will damn well reuse a loved name over and over because they loved the originals so damn much. Huh. Well, as long as I've now given up on tracking them except by their place in time and the events, I rolled with it and listened to the ever-growing complexity of the cyclical tales written simply and passionately, feeling like the town is the MC, from it's founding (birth), it's part in the civil war (troubled teens), and it's modernity (this came out in 1967, so just assume there's lots of passionate free-love sex (in marriage)). Here's the thing about preconceptions. I never looked up what the novel was about, so I based it entirely on the book cover and the freaking title. So what did I think as I read this? Where's the freaking solitude!!!!!???? Sigh. This novel is FULL OF PEOPLE, people. I mean, lordy, they're everywhere and in everyone's faces. I kept looking forward to the science-minded and scholarly peeps because they, at least, wanted a little time alone! It was tiring for me to keep up with so many damn people! (except, of course, in a flowing tapestry of sensation and recurring themes, of course. That part was actually damn pleasing.) Did I study and draw diagrams to keep track of everything in this novel? Hell no. I considered it, but in the end, I didn't care enough to do much other than take it all in with huge gulps, burping every once in a while, but determined to drink every last drop. It was good, dammit. The writing was smooth as silk and managed to accomplish so much so economically, that I see why it's considered a classic. Will I ever try this one again? No. Likely not. I don't like admitting that a novel tired me out. :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    Finally I am trying to write a review for this book after completing it a month ago and still don’t have many words to describe this book, I mean the words that can do justice to the beauty of this book. Basically this is the story of start to end of Buendia family. Buendia family has a tradition to repeat name in the family even if they think it was a bad omen yet they follow the tradition and keep this ritual alive. And that’s why it is hard for me to recount what happens in the book in terms o Finally I am trying to write a review for this book after completing it a month ago and still don’t have many words to describe this book, I mean the words that can do justice to the beauty of this book. Basically this is the story of start to end of Buendia family. Buendia family has a tradition to repeat name in the family even if they think it was a bad omen yet they follow the tradition and keep this ritual alive. And that’s why it is hard for me to recount what happens in the book in terms of story. Even if I end up mixing the names, I still remember the characters by way of their actions. And it is there, for me, lies the beauty of this tale. These characters were so same and yet so different from each other. Marquez has blended old and new so nicely that it was hard for me to point out where one starts and the other ends. His characters embraced new things with open arms but also stayed true to their roots and kept old traditions alive till the very end. I simply can’t stop myself but marvel upon the ability of Marquez at how he kept so many threads alive at the same time. It is so difficult to do, not to mention with the same set of names. It never felt out of place. No matter how far you go, he would bring you back to the core, the Buendia family. This book is like abstract art where you find it hard to get the meaning (don’t know about others but I am one of them) but once you get it, it just hard not to admire and cherish it.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.