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One Hundred Years of Solitude

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One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

429 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1967

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About the author

Gabriel García Márquez

854 books34.5k followers
Gabriel José de la Concordia Garcí­a Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Garcí­a Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York. He wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best-known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magical realism, which uses magical elements and events in order to explain real experiences. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo, and most of them express the theme of solitude.

Having previously written shorter fiction and screenplays, García Márquez sequestered himself away in his Mexico City home for an extended period of time to complete his novel Cien años de soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude, published in 1967. The author drew international acclaim for the work, which ultimately sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. García Márquez is credited with helping introduce an array of readers to magical realism, a genre that combines more conventional storytelling forms with vivid, layers of fantasy.

Another one of his novels, El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985), or Love in the Time of Cholera, drew a large global audience as well. The work was partially based on his parents' courtship and was adapted into a 2007 film starring Javier Bardem. García Márquez wrote seven novels during his life, with additional titles that include El general en su laberinto (1989), or The General in His Labyrinth, and Del amor y otros demonios (1994), or Of Love and Other Demons.

(Arabic: جابرييل جارسيا ماركيز) (Hebrew: גבריאל גארסיה מרקס)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 41,463 reviews
Profile Image for Chris.
341 reviews958 followers
December 4, 2013
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.”
Profile Image for Meg Sherman.
169 reviews426 followers
May 29, 2011
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.

Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
March 17, 2020
"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!"



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.
Profile Image for Adam.
37 reviews142 followers
March 28, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Laura.
132 reviews566 followers
June 11, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Emma.
106 reviews50.5k followers
September 5, 2022
"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."
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.6k followers
August 30, 2022

while logically i know that is far from my best month / title pun, and is also actually among the worst, and in point of fact that's even worse than it sounds because my puns have never been good...

i like it. and that's that.

we are back for another exciting round of Project Long Classics, in which elle and i find it within our cowardly hearts to brave long books from old times only by dividing them up into teeny-tiny chunks for four entire weeks.

if it works, it works.

i have been putting off reading this for a long time, and i am still very scared, but i do have this joke to get off: one hundred years of solitude? sounds like quarantine, am i right?

buh dum ch!

okay. i'm ready to get started.

we're also reading this for our book club -
join the discussion here
follow on instagram here

let's go.

DAY 1: PAGES 1-15
it's august 3, i won't lie to you. i could never. my nose would grow. pinocchio was based on a true story from the future about a human woman who writes book reviews.

okay, i'm procrastinating. i'm scared and i have to read 50 pages today!!! sue me!

all right. couple of things: this is beautiful; i have a used copy, acquired at an unknown time but probably 5+ years ago, and it smells good as hell; i'm not catching up today.

DAY 2: PAGES 16-30
okay. honesty hour: it's day 7, and i'm 15 pages into this book. folks...i am SLUMPED. (also i've been busy and i have trouble prioritizing these projects NOTORIOUSLY when i'm busy, but who cares about that part.)

anyway, i've decided i'm ignoring it in order to indulge in my favorite way to spend a sunday: bringing 5-10 books in bed with me and alternating chapters all day, absolutely refusing to so much as make eye contact with another human being. so hopefully we catch up!

DAY 3: PAGES 31-45
okay...dare i say...i'm starting to have fun with this.

i'm definitely liking it more than a good number of the collected stories, i'll say that much.

DAY 4: PAGES 46-60
so far this is giving very much no plot just vibes, and i can't say i'm not into it. and it's a collected stories crossover episode!

DAY 5: PAGES 61-75
the drama!!! sheesh. although you have to respect a classic that just comes right out and admits that nothing in life is more interesting or important than love and sex.

most old books are always pretending it's something boring, like politics, or accounting, or blood feuds.

DAY 6: PAGES 76-90
maybe it's just me, but personally if i were selecting a wife out of everybody i knew, i'd probably pick someone who wasn't still literally wetting the bed. genuinely. not metaphorically.

but that's just my pref.

DAY 7: PAGES 91-105
caught up!!! in our third consecutive hour of reading!!! alternating with 6 other books!!! is there nothing a project cannot do!!!

there is just...so much going on here.

DAY 8: PAGES 106-120
pretty badass behavior happening here...i love it when women

DAY 9: PAGES 121-135 i took major advantage of the included family tree today, i'll say that. hoo boy.

DAY 10: PAGES 136-150
this is like. Intense to read. it never gets natural or easy in the way that most books do, even really old timey ones of major significance.

but it is so damn good.

DAY 11: PAGES 151-165
a lot of these fellas up to no damn good...

DAY 12: PAGES 166-180
did anyone else notice that i accidentally started numbering the days in decreasing order. (now fixed.)

how did that happen?! am i being pranked?? if someone hacked my account, please go to my messages and see how funny it is when men send desperate DMs to faceless book reviewers. i don't wanna be alone in the humor anymore.

anyway. amaranta pulls.

DAY 13: PAGES 181-195
another weekend, another two days i accidentally took off from reading in their entirety.

this is the first time that my 15 page intervals have actually lined up with a chapter. this is the height of luxury!!

DAY 14: PAGES 196-210
this is such a fever-dream way to read a fever-dream book - cut up into senseless little chunks like this. it's already such a discombobulated and nonlinear read, and absolutely refusing to acknowledge chapters or page breaks of any kind is insane!

but fun.

DAY 15: PAGES 211-225
all the women in this book slay...they are very sexualized but also very badass. it's very fun to read about.

caught up!

DAY 16: PAGES 226-240
HOW is ursula still alive. we're on, like, our 8th aureliano.

DAY 17: PAGES 241-255
imagine being so hot it kills literally any man who doesn't leave you alone...


DAY 18: PAGES 256-270
make that like. 25 aurelianos.

back to 8 again.

DAY 19: PAGES 271-285
URSULA!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU DON'T GO!!!!!!!

i know you're like 200 years old and i just took you for granted like 3 days ago. but still.

DAY 20: PAGES 286-300
since my mourning cry for ursula, multiple people have died but she is not among them?? what a rollercoaster of emotions.

there is a girl whose name is truly Meme in this and she is just as wonderful as her name would indicate. anyway generally the women in this remain discernible and one of a kind and interesting through this whole crazy book, while the men continue to bore me and be absolutely impossible to keep straight.

DAY 21: PAGES 301-315
folks, we're behind again.

because even when my weekends are extremely lazy (read: indoors and conducted in solitude, as is my wont), and even when my weeks consist of little to no reading, something in my soul says that i should take at LEAST one saturday or sunday off entirely.

i can't help it.

DAY 22: PAGES 316-330
there are like 200 characters in this book and 196 of them have been publicly executed.

DAY 23: PAGES 331-345
ursula somehow still alive and kicking. i love when magical realism is just like..."it rained for four years straight and this woman is like 180 years old."

DAY 24: PAGES 346-360
under 100 pages to go and i feel confident stating there will never be a plot! and for that reason i have to stan.

i cannot keep these men straight for even one second and yet i could summarize each female character in a paragraph by first name alone. it's the misandrist in me. also the fact that every man has one of two names. but still.

DAY 25: PAGES 361-375
aaaand it's an almost-no-paragraph-breaks day. of course. on a morning when my entire operating system feels like it's been replaced by a rube goldberg machine, which i just almost called a lou gehrig's machine.

did i say morning? it's 12:48 p.m.

onward and upward. anyway. intense chapter!

DAY 26: PAGES 376-390
how does a book with no plot conclude? not sure. seems like a lot of death but that's also par for the course for the most part.

DAY 27: PAGES 391-405
goddamn this is one cursed family.

DAY 28: PAGES 406-420
seems pretty late to be introducing new major characters but what do i know! this book plays by its own rules.

DAY 29: PAGES 421-435
the penultimate day! and we've reached the Sweeping Statements About Love And Decline And Meaning section. i'll miss reading this book but i'm so excited to see how it concludes.

DAY 30: PAGES 436-448

this book is wild, lovely, and weird, conveying in a completely unique way themes about family and time and suffering and love. i can't decide whether reading it in arbitrary doses over a month is the best or worst way to do so, but i had a good time!
rating: 3.5
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 8 books16k followers
February 19, 2022

شعـــــورك بالعجـــــز

هذه هي مشكلة الرواية الكبرى

أنت في حال من الافتنان والنشوة لا يوصف
وانعقاد لسانك يسبق أفكارك
ويبقى بداخلك صراع دائم
يتجسد في محاولات مضحكة للتعبير عن هذه المتعة

لذا كنت احاول مراراً خلق التعبيرات المناسبة فأجدها تخرج لسانها في سخرية تاركة إياي في حيرة وقلة حيلة

عندما أمسكت بهذه الرواية لأول مرّة شعرت بانفصال تام عن الواقع من حولي
وجدتني بداخل ماكوندو حيّة أتنفس وأرى الشخصيات من حولي تتصارع مع حيواتها كما أراد لها خالقها العبقري

أنا كنتُ هناك ولا أبالغ بحرف

حلّقتُ بخفة بين موجات الحر العنيفة
أحسستُ بكل شهقة وبكل قطرة عرق
ذبتُ بين شقوق الجدران و داعبتُ الفراشات الصفراء

وهكذا نالت الرواية مني ثلاث قراءات في أوقات مختلفة
وكل مرة كان يلتصق بي بعض من هذا العالم

وهذه المرة
شعرتُ بكل ما هو حي وحقيقي بداخلي ينفصل عني ليحلق وحده بعيداً
بعيداً عن كل ما تحطم بداخلي ‏،وكل ما مزقته السنون في ماكوندو

مزجت العالمين معاً في مخيلتي وتمازجت الأوجاع ببعضها

من يستطيع التناغم مع العزلة أكثر من فرد معزول عن العالم في بقعة صغيرة من السكون؟

عشتُ العزلة أغلب سنوات عمري
أقلّب فتافيت عالمي بملعقة
تطاردني كل أفكار الدنيا ،وأنا معزولة بين جدران لا أريد مفارقتها

كانت خلاياي تناضل لتبقى وحيدة في عالم أراني لا أنتمي إليه
بداخلي أقمت مدناً لا يسكنها سواي
حدائق أزهارها لا تنتمي لتراب هذه الأرض
عانقتُ كل ما هو ذي معنى وتركتُ اللامعنى خارجاً يداعب ألوف من البشر يومياً

كيف يمكن لعائلة أن تناسبني أكثر من عائلة بويندياالضاربة بجذورها ف ي عزلة الروح ‏والجسد؟

لأنه مقدراً لمدينة السراب أن تذورها الرياح وتُنفى من ذاكرة البشر
في اللحظة التي ينتهي فيها أورليانو بوينديا من حلّ رموز الرقاق
وأن كل ما هو مكتوب فيها لا يمكن أن يتكرر منذ الأزل إلى الأبد
لأن السلالات المحكومة بمئة عام من العزلة ، ليست لها فرصة أخرى على الأرض

ما الذي فعله ماركيز بي؟
كيف أنتج عالماً كاملاً بين دفتي كتاب ،وأتقن صنيعته إلى هذا الحد؟
و استطاع ببضع أسماء أن يخلق تجانساً في الشكل والملامح
في الخواطر والأحلام
في قرارات الحياة
وفي المصير المؤلم
وفي نفس الوقت خلق الاختلاف يداعب التجانس خطوة بخطوة ويتمرد عليه

فصاغ أبطاله بحرفية صياغة الكولونيل أورليانو لأسماكه الذهبية
كنتُ أتخيل ماركيز يجلس منعزلا في غرفة
يمسك بشخصياته كما يمسك الكولونيل بسمكاته‏
يعجنها بيديه ويشكل أوهامها وحقيقتها بمهارة ‏
يضيف لماسته المموهة ببصمته
كما يلصق أورليانو عيون السمك الياقوتية فتتوهج الملامح في روحك
وعندما يكتمل عددها يصهرها من جديد كي ينتج جيلاً جديداً يحمل نفس الإسم والملامح بطعم ‏ومصير مؤلم جديدين


بين تعسّف آمارانتا وحزنها المذعور، وصلف فرنادنا وأطباءها المتخيلين
وبراءة ريميديوس الطفلة ودماها ، و قسوة أركاديو التي طاردته منذ اللحظة التي رأى فيها عملية إعدام
وصلابة أورسولا وعزيمتها المثيرة للإعجاب
تعيش لحظات سحرية لا معقولة
لاشيء فيها بلونٍ واحد ولا يعرف حدة الأبيض أو الأسود
فقد يأتي العذاب من الجمال الباهر والسذاجة بطريقة لا تتوقعها إلا مع وحشية القتال ودمويته

فريميديوس الجميلة تأتي في وسط الرواية مثل كائنٍ بلوري شفاف
تقترب منه مبهوراً بلئلائه
فتعانق جبلاً جليدياً تتجمد معه حتى الموت
أو كتلة زجاجية صافية بريئة تمزق لحمك وتتشرب دمك حتى الموت
مثل الجليد الذي بقى يطارد روح الكولونيل أورليانو
ومثل شبح ذيل الخنزير الذي ظل يحوم حول البيت الكبير حتى تمكن منه
لينبعث منها أنفاس موت ، لا لفحات حب
وتنتهي محلقة مع ملاءات البيت إلى السماء في طبقات الهواء العليا حيث لا تستطيع الوصول إليها أعلى طيور الذاكرة تحليقاً

مين أين يبدأ السحر هنا؟
هل رأى ميلكاديس قدر العائلة أم خطه هو بيديه؟
هل تشوف الحوادث العجيبة في بللورته السحرية أم كانت لعنة تلك التي أطلقتها تعاويذه عبر رموزها السنسكريتية؟

كيف فعلها ميلكاديس بين مواقد المخبر وفقاعات التجارب في القوارير وأزيز غليان الزئبق؟
وكيف نشأت ماكوندو حقاً؟
أهي صُممت بعرق خوسيه الأكبر وكفاح أورسولا أم نشأت بين أبخرة مخبر بدائي قدّر له أن يكون المبتدى منه وإليه المنتهى؟

من أين جاءت هذه العائلة التي يولد طفلها الأول بين المستنقعات
بدون ذيل خنزير وبرغبة أبدية في الجنون
ليشهد بداية ماكوندو
ويولد طفلها الأخير بين أنقاض البيت وسط الحشرات ولفحات الحر الأخيرة
بذيل خنزير من حبٍّ حرام
كي تتحقق النبؤة
وكي يموت الجنون فيه قبل أن يبدأ
ليشهد نهاية ماكوندو

وفي جو يشبه المستنقعات تسقط أوراق ماركيز الحاملة الرواية المنقحة في الوحل كي تعود لتجففها زوجته ورقة ورقة
تراها أكانت لعنة ميلكاديس لحقت بها؟

خاض الكولونيل أوريليانو بوينديا 32 حرباً أهلية خسرها جميعاً
ومن خلال ك��احه المكلل بخيبة الأمل
وإدراكه في النهاية أنه خاض تلك الحروب لينتهي منعزلاً أكثر مما كان ساخطاً على العالم وعلى نفسه
وعلى كل فكرة بدأت نبيلة وانتهت محطمة بوحشية الدم وشهوة السلطة

و ماركيز كان دوما مناهضاً لجميع الممارسات القمعية لدكتاتوريات العالم ودكتاتورية أميركا اللاتينية بشكل خاص ، ومؤيداً لثورات التحرر
وقد خاض جده حروباً في أمريكا اللاتينية ، وكان ميلاد ماركيز يوافق سنة مذبحة إضراب مزارع الموز والتي أنكرتها الحكومة فأعاد إحياءها في الرواية


"يقول ماركيز "الخيال هو تهيئة الواقع ليصبح فناً

تنتمي هذه الرواية لنوع أدبي يسمّى
magical realism
وفي هذا النوع يسري الخيال محلقاً في بيئة واقعية بحيث يشكل جزءاً طبيعياً منها
حيث يقوم حدث شديد الغرابة بغزو حياة منطقية واقعية
وإن كان المؤلف قد وصف روايته بأنها تنتمي لأدب الهروب من الواقع

كثيرة كانت الرموز الممزوجة بالخيال في الرواية
فبين السفينة الغارقة ، ووحل المستنقعات ، وشجرة كستناء صبور
وبيانولا ترقد في الظلام تصاحبها ملاءة بيضاء
عاش الأبطال حيواتهم العجيبة في عزلة أبدية تحتضن برفق هذه الصور في دواخلهم إلى الأبد

أكثر ثلاث مشاهد تغلغلوا إلى روحي ألماً

آمارنتا تضع يدها في في جمر الموقد إلى أن تألمت إلى حد لم تعد تشعر معه بالألم
ليبقى لحمها المحروق وضمادة الشاش السوداء في ذهني طوال الرواية يطاردني
لحظة إطلاق النار على ماوريسيو بابيلونيا وكأنني أنا التي أنهار في غرفة نوم ميمي
ولحظة اكتشاف آخر أورليانو من السلالة الوليد يتحول لجلد منفوخ بعد التهام النمل الأحمر إياه‏

بين صفحات الرواية قضيتُ وقتاً لا يضاهى
أقرأ ملحمة من أعظم ما كُتب على مر العصور
عن مدينة نبتت في الوحل وغاصت فيه مجدداً
لتتركني مع آخر صفحة أود العودة إليها من جديد
كي أتمتع بهذا العالم الخرافي حتى الثمالة
لتذروه الرياح مجددا ،ويختفي من ذاكرة البشر
ثم يعود نابضاً في صفحات ماركيز
فتتشربه ذاكرة القراء إلى الأبد

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ما الذي كنت تنتظره؟- تنهدت أورسولا، وأضافت :- إن الــزمـــن يـمـضـي

الـزمـن وقسوة مروره، هو بالنسبة لي التيمة الأساسية بهذه الرواية
دورة حياة زوجين واطفالهم، تحولهم لشباب ثم للكبر والعجز. وتوالي الأجيال مع الكثير من الحب والشغف..السحر والعجب
وهذا السطر من الأم هو أول ما بث فيّ قشعريرة غير متوقعة بعد ربع الرواية، وأخترته لأبدأ به حكايتي مع تلك المدينة التي ابتدعها جابريل جارسيا ماركيز -رحمه الله- في عزلة من الزمن

أولا: أزاي تستمتع بهذه الرواية

**ابعد تماما عن اي افكار مسبقة عنها، الفصل حوالي 25 صفحة، تحتاج لما لايقل عن 45 دقيقة إلي ساعة لقراءته، فالرواية لا تصلح مطـلقـا للقراءة السريعة
-"ملحوظة: النسخة التي قرأتها للمترجم المبدع صالح علماني "505 صفحة
-ولا تقرأ أساسا الرواية سوي بترجمته-

**لا تعتمد علي "تحدي" أو أيام معينة لأنهاء الرواية، بدأتها ..أذن اعتبر نفسك في ماكوندو لمدة مائة عام مع الأولين الذين حضروا إليها مع خوسيه اركاديو بوينديا وزوجته أورسولا

**هل تريد ان تتعرف أكثر علي الزوجين الذين ستصطحبهم وذريتهم لمائة عام وعن تاريخهم واسباب نشأتهم لتلك المدينة؟..الفصل الثاني سيمنحك هذا التاريخ

اذا ما فعلت كل هذا، ستجد نفسك تعيش بالأحداث وتتعرف علي أجيال خوسية من الـ-'أوريليانو'-ات و ال-'خوسيهـ'-ات دون الحاجة لتكرار العودة الي شجرة العائلة، والتي ستجدها في أخر صفحة بالرواية، حيث ستجد أنك تتعرف علي الأجيال كأنهم أفراد من عائلة تعيش معها

ففي اكبر بيوت مدينة ماكوندو الصغيرة ستعيش اياما وشهور واعوام مع تلك العائلة

ستعيش معهم منذ بداية ولادة ،خوسيه أركاديو الابن البكري لخوسيه اركاديو بوينديا وخوف أمه أورسولا من أن يكون بذيل خنزير لتخوفها من حقيقة انها وزوجها ابناء عمومة, وستفرح لأن الله استجاب دعائها ورزقها بخوسيه طفلا كامل الصحة

وابنهما الثاني ،أوريليانو المولود بعيون مفتوحة علي العالم يريد ان يتعرف علي كل مابه ويعيشه
يندهش كوالده بالأختراعات التي يجلبها الغجر معهم من كل ارجاء العالم , بالاخص الغجري ميلكليادس الساحر الذي يذكرني بـجاندلف من ملك الخواتم

ستعيش شغف الأب بتجاربه الخيميائية مع ميلكليادس، وانبهار بلدة ماكوندو الصغيرة بالبساط السحري وستتذوق حلوي سكاكر الحيوانات التي تعدها اورسولا وستتعرف علي الضحكة المجلجلة لـبيلار تيرنيرا والتي ستلهب شباب عائلة خوسيه كأمرأة كاملة النضج وتكون اسهاماتها الغير شرعية سببا في زيادة افراد العائلة

وستأتي ريبيكا بكرسيها الهزاز واصبعها في فمها منذ صغرها وحتي وفاتها، معها جوال من القماش به عظام مقرقعة هي كل ماتبقي من والديها، ليتبناها خوسيه أركاديو بوينديا ، ولتشعل غيرة لا تنطفئ بقلب أمارانتا بعدها بسنوات لتصارعهما علي الفوز بقلب رجل واحد

غجر ، سحر ، انبهار ، استكشافات واختراعات ، سفينة علي مبعدة كبيرة عن البحر ، بساط سحري ، سكاكر علي شكل حيوانات ، ذهب محروق ، حجر الفيلسوف ، جليد ، شهوة ، حب ، غيرة ، موسيقي البيانولا ، وأفراح ستعيشها في ماكوندو مع تلك العائلة

ولكن كل شئ بدأ في التغير عندما قررت أورسولا دهان واجهة بيتها بعد التوسعات إلي الابيض

فبالرغم من وباء الأرق -الذي هربت منه أميرة هندية وأخيها من بلدهم ليعملوا كخدم ببيت خوسيه أركاديو بوينديا- بل وأي أمراض بالدنيا أصابت ماكندو لا تقارن أبدا بأقذر الأمراض والتي تسببت في موت الكثيرين من اهل القرية
والتي بمجرد أن دخلت بواقعيتها وقذارتها، ظهر الموت والدماء في ماكوندو
النظاميون الذي يقتلون من اجل حفظ النظام بالقمع ، والليبراليون الذين يقتلون -ايضا- من اجل الحرية ونبذ القمع
وبمجرد الأعلان عن تمثيل في البرلمان ، تنصل الليبراليون الثوار عن كولونيلهم و ثوارهم وثورتهم..وبدأت حملات الأعدام للثوار..وبدأت تظهر معالم الزمن والشيخوخة علي ماكوندو ، بمجرد دخولها نطاق السياسة القذرة

وهنا فعلا شعرت بقسوة الزمن بهذا المشهد العبقري عندما تزور أورسولا ابنها الثوري الذي تنصل عنه الجميع
والحقيقة أنه ظل مستغرقا في أفكاره، مذهولا من الطريقة التي شاخت بها القرية خلال سنوات قليلة، كانت أوراق أشجار اللوز بالية. والبيوت المطلية باللون الأزرق، ثم بالأحمر، والتي أعيد طلاؤها بالأزرق ثانية، فقد انتهت إلي لون غير محدود
ما الذي كنت تنتظره؟- تنهدت أورسولا، وأضافت :- إن الــزمـــن يـمـضـي
-وهو كذلك -وافقها أوريليانو -، ولكن ليس إلي هذا الحد
وهكذا، فإن المقابلة المنتظرة منذ وقت طويل، والتي أعد لها كل منهما الأسئلة، بل وتوقع الأجوبة عنها، تحولت إلي حديث يومي عادي

وهنا شعرت وكأنها ليست أورسولا من يقول هذا، بل سمعته من جدتي، من أمي... كلما ترك الزمان آثار مروره القاسية علينا وكل ماحولنا.. هنا شعرت فعلا بقسوة الزمان متجسدا في آثاره علي المدينة التي شهدت أنشاءها وحتي نهايتها

بل ولاحظ مدي حنق -الطبيعي الواقعي والذي أتفق معاه تماما- الماركيز من لعبة السياسة القذرة


وتتوالي الأجيال والأحداث بصورة أسرع، المزيد من الجنون والعزلة، المزيد من سكاكر الحيوانات، حفلات و رقص و رخاء، عزلة و أنغلاق و تماثيل قديسين ومخطوطات ميلكليادس الغجري التي لم يصل أحد لتفسيرها بعد

قلب عذراء أحترق بالحب يمنعه خوفه من الأعتراف به و تقبله ، ضحكات قارئة أوراق الطالع العجوز مازالت تثير الشباب ، روح الجميلة البريئة تصعد لبارئها ، سمكات ذهبية و أكفان تصنع و تغزل مرة تلو أخري
و تتوالي اﻷجيال في ماكوندو و بيت عائلة الفقيد جوسيه آركاديو بوينديا الذي قاوم الأنغلاق رغم تقلبات الحياة

ستشهد دخول الأستثمار اﻷجنبي وشركة الموز مدينتك الصغيرة و ستدرك من خلال الأحداث كيف صور قبح واقع الاستغلال الأجنبي ... ولن تملك سوي التعجب من تشابهه بواقعنا كما صوره هذا المشهد
خرج خوسيه آركاديو الثاني من الغفلة وتخلي عن موقعه كرئيس فريق عمل في شركة الموز ووقف إلي جانب العمال. وسرعان ما اتهم بأنه عميل لإحدي المؤامرات العالمية ضد النظام

وتتوالي مرة أخري الأجيال .. والضحايا
ضحايا وشهداء الأستعمار الأجنبي يتم التغطية عليهم بتعتيم اعلامي ، قطار محمل بالموتي ، حلم بالبابويه ، ورغبات مكبوتة وابناء حرام أخري ، ومحاولات أخري لتفسير مخطوطات ميلكليادس

ويدور الزمن في دائرته المغلقة كما ستلاحظ مع أورسولا في ذلك المشهد المؤثر العبقري

حرك رأسه بإتجاه الباب، وحاول الأبتسام، وكرر دون معرفه مسبقة، جملة قديمة لأورسولا، إذ قال مدمدما
-ماذا تريدين، فالزمن يمضي
-صحيح -
قالت أورسولا- ولكن ليس إلي هذا الحد
وما أن قالت ذلك حتي أنتبهت إلي أنها تقدم الجواب نفسه الذي تلقته من الكولونيل أوريليانو بوينديا في زنزانته، وأحست بالقشعريرة وهي تتأكد مجددا من أن الزمن لا يمضي وإنما يلتف دائريا

فراشات صفراء ، وفيات غير مفاجأة وشجن متوقع ، مطر غزير يستمر لأربع سنوات ، خراب ونمل ابيض وأحمر... والــزمن يمضي ، وإن كان بشكل أسرع كما ستلاحظ مع أورسولا ايضا بهذا المشهد

"السنون الآن لا تأتي مثل السنوات من قبل"

اعتادت ان تقول ذلك، شاعرة بأن الواقع اليومي يفلت من بين يديها. فمن قبل -فكرت- كان الأطفال يتأخرون طويلا في النمو. وليس عليها إلا أن تتذكر كل الزمن الذي أنقضي قبل أن يذهب أبنها البكر خوسيه أركاديو مع الغجر، وكل ماجري قبل أن يعود ملونا كحية، ومتحدثا مثل فلكي ; والأشياء التي حدثت في البيت قبل أن ينسي آركاديو وآمارانتا لغة الهنود، ويتعلما القشتالية. ولا بد من رؤية أيام الشمس والصحو التي تحملها خوسيه أركاديو المسكين، تحت شجرة الكستناء، وكم كان عليها أن تبكي موته، قبل أن يحملوا إليها كولونيلا يحتضر اسمه آوريليانو بوينديا لتجد أنه بعد كثير من الحروب، وبعد كل ما عانته من أجله، لم يبلغ الخمسين من عمره ��ع��

ففي زمن آخر، وبعد أن تمضي النهار بطوله في صنع حيوانات من السكر، كانت تجد فائضا من الوقت للعناية بالأطفال. أما الآن بالمقابل، عندما لم يعد لديها شئ تفعله، تضطرها نوعية الزمن الردئ إلي ترك الأمور غير ناجزة بالكامل

لقد قام العبقري بتلخيص كثير من الأحداث منذ بداية الرواية في تلك السطور القليلة بربعها الأخير من وجهه نظر أقوي بطلاته أورسولا
كم مرة شعرت بأن هذا الكلام سمعته في الحقيقة من احد الكبار؟ بل كم مرة انت نفسك شعرت بصحته فعلا؟
الزمن الغادر

وتتوالي الأحداث أسرع بتسارع حركة الزمان القاسية.. ستزداد عزلتك وتعايشك حتي تلمس شيخوختك مع شيخوخة المدينة بالرغم من صغر سن أخر اجيالها.. والذي سيفك رموز رقائق ميلكيادس الغجري التي كتبت من مائة عام من تاريخ ماكوندو
حتي تصل للنهاية

مائه عام من السحر ، الحب ، الجو الأسري ، حب الاستكشاف ، الخوف ، العشق ، الخطيئة ، القداسة ، السياسة ، كرم الضيافة ، الأنغلاق ، قراءة الطالع والنبوءات
مائه عام من قسوة الزمان ، من الخلود ومن الفناء،, من السياسة ومن البراءة ، مائه عام من العزلة


نقطة هامة أخيرة

أعتقد أن من سلبيات الرواية هي بعض أحداث الجنس بين اﻷقارب بطريقة شاذة أحيانا وإن كانت اللغة هنا ليست ببذاءة البعض وليست حتي كشطحات زيدان أو الأسواني أو حتي أسلوب مراد المستفز
ولكن قد لا تنتبه لمخاوف أورسولا حول ذيل الخنزير التي ذكرت بالبداية، ولكنك بالتأكيد عند إنتهائك من الرواية ستدرك المغزي الراقي للرواية وأنة كان دائما بها منذ البداية... عن اختلاط الأنساب
حدثه الخمار عن نكبة ذراعه, فقد كانت متيبسة وشبه محروقة,لأنه رفعها علي أمه. وحدثه أوريليانو عن نكبة قلبه المتيبس وشبه المحروق, لأنه رفعه علي أخته

وستدرك أن ما ظننته مجرد سلبيات هي حكمة أخري يقدمها جابريل جارسيا ماركيز باسلوبه الراقي -وايضا بالتأكيد المترجم الرائع صالح علماني- وبحرفية غريبة متميزة

فأسلوب سرد جابرييل جارسيا ماركيز الغريب سيغرقك في الأحداث الواقعية الممزوجة بسحر غريب
كأسلوب حكايات الجدات مع بعض حرارة الشباب ليخلق جوا عجيبا من السرد يخلط فيه بين أحداث لاحقة و احداث مضت 'فلاش باك و فلاش فوروارد' بطريقة عجيبة لن تقلل من استماعك و إنما قد تزيد شغفك و أثارتك لمصير تلك العائلة والمدينة

ستصارع مع أورسولا أيجواران زوجة خوسيه أركاديو بويندا الزمن في مائة عام .. تهزم السياسة الفاسدة والاستثمار،بل الاستعمار، الاجنبي المستغل ..ولكن إلا الزمن... فلا هازم للزمن

ستظل متشبثا معها ببيت المجانين، بيت تلك العائلة الغريبة وتفهمه وتتتعاطف معه وتحاول ان تجعله مفتوحا دائما للزوار ليقضي علي العزلة التي يفرضها علينا الزمن

ستشفق علي تلك المهمة الجليلة الحزينة التي ستتحملها أمارانتا قبل وفاتها... وفي نفس الوقت ستجد نفسك ايضا متعاطفا مع اورليانو الثاني الذي جاهد الزمن ليستمتع بالحياة القصيرة
أبتعدي ايتها الابقار ..فالحياة قصيرة

وفي رأيي فعلا أورسولا من أجمل الشخصيات النسائية التي قرأتها ، رأيت فيها شيئا ألفته جدا ، شعرت معها بأحساس الأمومة وربة الدار ، من أكثر الشخصيات التي أثرت في فعلا

بصراحه من الاشياء التي دائما تجعلني اعيش بالرواية هو اني دائما ما اقوم بتوزيع الشخصيات والادوار علي فنانين في بالي كي اري تعبيراتهم وهم يمثلونها اثناء قرائتي في خيالي.. وهذا يفيد كثيرا
وبالرغم الاختيار العشوائي الي حد ما لـ"إيفا لونجوريا" بطلة ربات البيوت اليائسات قد تخوفت منه عندما وجدت دور أورسولا ليس بصغير
إلا أن رسم الشخصية فعلا اعجبني واجادت الدور في خيالي وتليق به فعلا
ما الذي كنت تنتظره؟- تنهدت أورسولا, وأضافت :- إن الــزمـــن يـمـضـي

ستظل ماكوندو حلما جميلا مهما غزته الكوابيس في بعض محطاته..وسيظل حنيني اليها كأنها ماض عشته
وبالرغم من أتفاقي شيئا ما مع موقف صاحب المكتبة بماكوندو عندما قال في الاحداث
أن الماضي ما هو إلا كذبة، وأنه ليس للذاكرة من دروب للعودة، وأن كل ربيع قديم لا يستعاد، وأن أشد الغراميات جموحا، وأكثرها رسوخا، ليست في نهاية المطاف إلا حقيقة زائلة

إلا أن كما قال جابريل جارسيا ماركيز نفسه انه لا يهم ما حدث في الماضي، وانما كيف نتذكره هذا هو المهم
كما في تلك المقولة التي وضعتها في الريفيو المبدئي
وأقل مايمكن ان نحول ذكري هذا الرجل بآحياء الواقعية السحرية ، حكايات الجدات الجذابة الغريبة التي تعود بنا لذكريات ايام الصبا... الواقعية السحرية التي إن ظلت وعاشت بقلوبنا فلن ينجح اي ركاكة أو بذاءة أو قتامة ينسب لها الواقع الحالي في إظلام قلوبنا.. لنقرأ واقعيته السحرية..الحالمة

ويعيش السحر في قلوبنا ، لنتذكره للأبد


R I P Gabriel Marcus
Your Magical Realism will always enchanting and illuminating our hearts , will defeat the dirty realism that we unfortunately stuck in..
Your magical words and novels will be read....forever
you're enchanted

محمد العربي
من 24 ابريل 2014
الي 2 مايو 2014

اشكر جدا كل من رشح الرواية لي من الأصدقاء ، وأشكر أيضا دعم الأصدقاء في انتظار رايي في الرواية بتعليقاتكم واتمني أن تعجبكم كما اعجبتني ، واتمني ان يكون رايي -الذي حاولت اختصاره والله- أن يكون واضحا وملائما
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
February 28, 2019
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.

Profile Image for s.penkevich.
857 reviews5,911 followers
May 17, 2023
It's enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.

Few memories of reading a book can match the sweetness of the warm spring day while at university when I sat in the grass down by a river and began Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterful One Hundred Years of Solitude. The novel gripped me immediately and I followed the myth-like tales of the Buendía family and the fictional town of Macondo across multiple generations until the sunlight had vanished, the sound of the river adding an idyllic rhythm to my reading that made me keenly aware of the passage of time the idea of one thing flowing into the next. This novel truly is a tour de force earning its canonization not only as a crucial work of Latin American literature but as an internationally renowned novel of great beauty and insight. The amalgamation of stories all colliding within the novel form a complex web of critical analysis of history that functions as commentary on colonialism, political struggles of war and life under dictatorship, as well as interpersonal issues of family, legacy and love or the lack of it, making this a dense yet delightful novel that will forever reside within the hearts and minds of its readers.

One Hundred Years of Solitude was written in the span of just 18 months but will linger on in immortality as an important work of 20th century literature. It has sold over 50 million copies in over 25 languages (translated into english by the incredible Gregory Rabassa, the former WWII cryptologist was handpicked by Marquez for the task and reportedly said that Rabassa’s translation was better than his original in Spanish) and continues to charm readers everywhere. It is a cornerstone of modern Latin American Literature that has made Marquez a household name along with Jorge Luis Borges, from whom Marquez drew much inspiration (particularly from the story The Garden of Forking Paths which you can read here and inspired the cyclical ending of the novel).

Harold Bloom wrote of One Hundred Years of Solitude that ‘It is all story, where everything conceivable and inconceivable is happening at once.’ And indeed it does feel as if the whole of life is bursting forth from the book, which is a family epic that spans from the 1820’s through the 1920’s. Marquez combines his mythmaking with historical events, using magical realism as a political action of uncovering the meaning hiding in plain sight of historical reality. Carlos Fuentes writes in The Great Latin American Novel that Marquez’s storytelling serves ‘as an act of knowledge, as a negation of the false documents of the civil state which, until very recently papered over our reality.’ While Marquez says in a 1988 interviewthere's not a single line in my novels which is not based on reality,’ it seems to affirm Fuente’s analysis and point to the reality in storytelling being a method to unlock a reality in life previously unobservable.

In this manner of magical realism, Marquez can move from tales of extraordinarily large men, women floating away into the sky, or absurdly long rain storms to actual historical events, such as the Banana Massacre when the United Fruit Company (now known as Chiquita) called in the army to massacre striking workers at the request of the US. Through this work and it’s investigations into US military intervention, dictatorships and revolutionaries, Marquez wrests the official narrative of history from the colonialist lenses that would prescribe a narrative to the Latin American countries they sought to exploit and gives history its own mythological life to function more freely. This also opens the novel up to multiple ways of reading it, where any of the numerous themes could be emphasized.

The secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude.

As one would expect, solitude is a major theme working through the novel, with Buendía's own sense of solitude enlarged in the isolation of Macondo, which is falling apart by the end of the book. The weight of feeling ones country collapsing to external forces is strongly imposed as the novel careens towards conclusion, and as new technologies arrive and different societies begin to integrate, those of the old guard feel more and more isolated from the world. None of this moves in a straightforward manner, however, and the ending reveals history to be a cyclical process, one of constant creation and undoing. ‘...time was not passing...it was turning in a circle…

One Hundred Years of Solitude is truly worth the read and holds a very special place in my heart. It is such a fascinating and fantastic blend of magical realism and historical insight that was a major work in world literature. One to read and read again.


Buendía family tree (source)
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
April 16, 2020
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.

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Profile Image for Tasneem.
Author 3 books785 followers
April 18, 2010

أنا أؤمن في الإنسان و في قدراته العقلية و الإبداعية و أن العبقرية ليس لها سقف أو حدود, و لكن ..

أستطيع أن أعقد لكم الأيمان على أحد شيئين..

إما أن "ماركيز" ليس من البشر, بل هو ممسوس . يتلقى المساعدة _في كتاباته_ من ملك الجان شخصيا,, أو ربما كان يتلقاها من الجدات/الجنيات القديمات اللاوتي شهدن خلق الكون و يحفظن عن ظهر قلب ما سيؤول إليه حال الخليقة منذ أن أخرج الله البشر من ظهور آبائهم و أشهدهم على أنفسهم و أطلقهم في الأرض ليستعيدوا ذاكرة فقدوها.

أو أنه إنسـان مثلنا, يملك ما نملك و لا يزيد عنا يدا أو قدم بل فقط لديه من طول البال ما يسمح له بكتابة رواية عادية متسلسلة الأحداث غير متشابهة الأسماء أو متشابكة المواقف فيما يقرب من 500 صفحة , ثم يعـود و يحضر دفاتراً جديدة و يبدأ في نقل الأحداث _ التي كتبها سلفاً_ بصورة متداخلة حيث أنه على علمٍ بالنهايات و بتوالي الأحداث و ما ستؤول إليه النهايات.

نعم.. لابد أنه فعل ذلك.. فلا يعقل أن إنساناً مثلنا يستطيع أن يكتب بهذه العبقرية رواية متداخلة كل هذا التداخل و تتكون من 500 صفحة و تقع أحداثها في مئة عام و لا يوجد في شجرة العائلة إلا اسمين اثنين , أورليانو و خوسيه أركاديو

أما "صالح علماني" ,, فلابد أنه هو الآخر ممسوس و إلا فكيف تُفسرون قدرته على ترجمة هذا الجنون؟

اللعنــة على العبقرية التي ستسبب لنا _نحن القراء_ فقد العقول

Profile Image for brian   .
248 reviews2,992 followers
November 24, 2022
i was a kid and watching 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 redrawn outside the bubble or could just fly away or tunnel their way out. or teleport. or do whatever, really, they wanted. i mean, they were line and color in a world of line and color. now this applies to any work of fiction but it just felt different with a lowest-common-denominator cartoon. adherence to reality (reality as defined within the world of the cartoon) wasn’t a top priority. this ended my cartoon watching days. was it a lack of, or too much, imagination? dunno.

i had a similar experience with One Hundred Years of Solitude. gypsies bring items to Macondo, a village hidden away from mass civilization by miles of swamp and mountain. these everyday items (magnets, ice, etc.) are interpreted as ‘magic’ by people who have never seen them and it forces the reader to reconfigure her perception of much of what she 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 in that i found the magic carpet to immediately render 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? myth? 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 this 500 page book as mere allegory. 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 push on. but it’s tough. do i care when someone dies when death isn’t permanent? how do i give a fuk 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? yeah, 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. but i 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.
495 reviews24 followers
February 9, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Martine.
145 reviews669 followers
July 14, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
August 2, 2021
(Book 399 from 1001 books) - Cien Años de Soledad = One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a landmark 1967 novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez that tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founds the town of Macondo, a fictitious town in the country of Colombia.

Characters: Úrsula Iguarán, Remedios Moscote, Remedios, la bella, Fernanda del Carpio, Aureliano Buendía, José Arcadio Buendía, Amaranta Buendía, Amaranta Úrsula Buendía, Aureliano Babilonia, José Arcadio Segundo, Aureliano Segundo, Aureliano José, Pilar Ternera, Rebeca Buendía, Santa Sofía de la Piedad, Arcadio Buendía, José Arcadio Buendía, hijo, Meme Buendía, Petra Cotes, Pietro Crespi, Melquiades.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo.

The founding patriarch of Macondo, José Arcadio Buendía, and Úrsula Iguarán, his wife (and first cousin), leave Riohacha, Colombia, after José Arcadio kills Prudencio Aguilar after a cockfight for suggesting José Arcadio was impotent.

One night of their emigration journey, while camping on a riverbank, José Arcadio dreams of Macondo, a city of mirrors that reflected the world in and about it.

Upon awakening, he decides to establish Macondo at the riverside; after days of wandering the jungle, his founding of Macondo is utopic.

José Arcadio Buendía believes Macondo to be surrounded by water, and from that island, he invents the world according to his perceptions.

Soon after its foundation, Macondo becomes a town frequented by unusual and extraordinary events that involve the generations of the Buendía family, who are unable or unwilling to escape their periodic (mostly self-inflicted) misfortunes.

For years the town is solitary and unconnected to the outside world, with the exception of the annual visit of a band of gypsies, who show the townspeople technology such as magnets, telescopes, and ice.

The leader of the gypsies, a man named Melquíades, maintains a close friendship with José Arcadio, who becomes increasingly withdrawn, obsessed with investigating the mysteries of the universe presented to him by the gypsies.

Ultimately he is driven insane, speaking only in Latin, and is tied to a chestnut tree by his family for many years until his death. ...

صد سال تنهایی - گابریل گارسیا مارکز انتشارات امیرکبیر، ترجمه بهمن فرزانه؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آوریل سال 1978میلادی

عنوان یک: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: بهمن فرزانه؛ انتشارات امیرکبیر در سال 1353، در 363ص، اما همین ترجمه بهمن فرزانه بارها توسط انتشاراتیهای متفاوت چاپ شده؛ انتشاراتی دادار، 1380 در 360ص، شابک 9647294352؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان کلمبیایی - سده 20م

عنوان دو: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: محمدرضا راهور، نشر تهران، آبگون، چاپ نخست 1379، در 496ص، شابک 9649166831؛ همین ترجمه را انتشارات شیرین در سال 1382، با شابک 9645564937؛ و انتشارات آربابان در سال 1380، با شابک 9647196040؛ منتشر کرده اند

عنوان سه: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: محسن محیط، نشر تهران، محیط، چاپ نخست 1374، در 479ص، شابک 9646246125؛ چاپ پنجم 1378؛

عنوان چهار: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: کیومرث پارسای، نشر تهران، آربابان، چاپ نخست 1382، در 560ص، شابک 9647196229؛ چاپ بیست و سوم 1393؛

عنوان پنج: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: حبیب گوهری راد، نشر تهران، رادمهر، چاپ نخست 1388، در 420ص، شابک 9789648673678؛ و انتشارات جمهوری در سال 1388 در 420ص و شابک 9789646974961؛

عنوان شش: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: مژگان فامیلی، نشر تهران، لیدا، چاپ نخست 1391، در 552ص، شابک 9786006538549؛

عنوان هفت: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: رضا دادویی، نشر تهران، آدورا، چاپ نخست 1391، در 416ص، شابک 9786009307197؛

عنوان هشت: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: محمدرضا سحابی، نشر تهران، انتشارات مصدق، چاپ نخست 1393، در 416ص، شابک 9786009442119؛

عنوان نه: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: زهره روشنفکر، نشر تهران، مجید، چاپ نخست 1388، در 456ص، شابک 9789644531064؛

عنوان ده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: محمدصادق سبط شیخ، نشر تهران، تلاش، چاپ نخست 1390، در 540ص، شابک 9786005791426؛

عنوان یازده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: ناصر جوادخانی، نشر تبریز، یاران، چاپ نخست 1390، در 400ص، شابک 9789642340828؛

عنوان دوازده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: مریم فیروزبخت، نشر تهران، حکایتی دیگر، چاپ نخست 1388، در 518ص، شابک 9789642756124؛ چاپ چهارم 1392؛

عنوان سیزده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: اسماعیل قهرمانی پور(شمس خوی)، نشر تهران، روزگار، چاپ نخست 1389، در 415ص، شابک 9789643741822؛

عنوان چهارده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: عبدالرسول اکبری، نشر تهران، شبگون، چاپ نخست 1393، در 584ص، شابک 9786009454518؛

عنوان پانزده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: بهاره خدادادی، نشر: تهران، نسل آفتاب، چاپ نخست 1389، در 4644ص، شابک 9786005847192؛

عنوان شانزده: صد سال تنهایی؛ اثر: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: آوینا ترنم، نشر تهران، ماهابه، در سال 1393، در 477ص، شابک 9786005205596؛ و توسط نشر هنر پارینه، در سال 1390، در 584ص، شابک 9786005981032؛

چاپ نخست این اثر در سال 1967میلادی، در «آرژانتین»، با تیراژ هشت هزار نسخه منتشر شد؛ همگی نسخه‌ های چاپ نخست از «صد سال تنهایی» به زبان «اسپانیایی»، در همان هفته ی نخستین انتشار به فروش رفتند؛ در چهار دهه و سالهایی که از نخستین چاپ این کتاب بگذشت، بیش از سی میلیون نسخه از آن، در سراسر جهان نیز به فروش رفته، و به بیش از سی زبان برگردان شده است؛ جایزه ی «نوبل ادبیات» سال 1982میلادی، به «گابریل گارسیا مارکز»، برای آفرینش همین اثر اهدا شد

هشدار و اخطار برای کسانیکه میخواهند داستان را گرم گرم بخوانند؛ ...؛ لطفا ادامه این نوشتار یا سطرهای پایانی آنرا نخوانند؛

داستان به شرح زندگی شش نسل، از خانواده ی «بوئندیا» پرداخته؛ که نسل نخست آن‌ها در دهکده‌ ای به نام «ماکوندو» ساکن می‌شوند؛ ناپدید شدن، و مرگ بعضی از شخصیت‌های داستان، به جادویی شدن روایت‌ها می‌افزاید؛ صعود «رمدیوس» به آسمان، درست در برابر چشم دیگران؛ کشته شدن همگی پسران سرهنگ «آئورلیانو بوئندیا»، که از زنانی در جبهه جنگ به این دنیا آمده‌ بودند، و توسط افراد ناشناس، از راه هدف گلوله قرار دادن پیشانی آنها، که علامت صلیب داشته؛ و طعمه ی مورچه‌ ها شدن «آئورلیانو»ی نوزاد و تازه به دنیا آمده ی «آمارانتا اورسولا»، از این موارد هستند

به باور بسیاری، نویسنده در این کتاب است، که سبک «رئالیسم جادویی» را آفریده اند؛ داستانی که در آن همه ی فضاها و شخصیت‌ها واقعی، و حتی گاهی حقیقی هستند، اما ماجرای داستان، مطابق «روابط علّت و معلولی شناخته شده ی دنیای ما» پیش نمی‌روند؛ سرهنگ «آئورلیانو بوئندیا»، پسر دوم «اورسولا» و «خوزه آرکادیو» است؛ نخستین فرزندی است که در «ماکوندو» به دنیا می‌آید؛ این شخصیت فاقد هرگونه احساس عشق، نفرت، ترس، تنهایی و امید است؛ وی از کودکی تحت تأثیر برادر بزرگتر خود «خوزه آرکادیو بوئندیا»، قرار دارد، و در اوج داستان، توسط برادرش که در نقطه ی مقابل دیدگاه سیاسی وی است، و به نوعی نماینده ی دشمنان او نیز به شمار می‌آید، از اعدام نجات پیدا می‌کند؛ وی بارها و بارها، از مرگ می‌گریزد؛ نه جوخه اعدام، و نه زخم و سم، و نه خودکشی، نمی‌توانند، وی را بکشند؛ وی به نوعی نماد شخصیت کسانی است، که باید زنده بمانند، و عذاب بکشند، تا پلی بین سنت و مدرنیته، در شهر خیالی «ماکوندو» باشند؛ وی در طول جنگ‌های داخلی، در تمام جبهه‌ های جنگ، با زنان بیشماری همبستر شده، و هفده پسر، که همگی، نام کوچک وی، و نام خانوادگی مادرانشان را داشته اند، از او بوجود آمده‌ اند؛ تو گویی در تمام مسیر پیشروی در جبهه، تخم جنگ را نیز میپراکنده است؛ اما همه ی این هفده پسر، که یک کشیش روی پیشانی آن‌ها علامت صلیب را، با خاکستر حک کرده، به سرعت کشته می‌شوند؛ در نهایت، سرهنگ در اوج تنهایی، و فراموش شدگی می‌میرد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 07/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 10/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,399 followers
July 9, 2020
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), transcends the frugal prose that mildews the pages of so many joyless books.
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. Trigger warning: Those who are easily offended should give it a swerve; magical events do rub shoulders with some very disturbing realities.

There is one line on the book's back cover, penned by The Times newspaper, that sums up this masterpiece 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 in my lifetime before I eventually pop my clogs.
Profile Image for Brina.
904 reviews4 followers
May 5, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,425 reviews3,392 followers
September 5, 2020
Years are passing by but time stands still – such is a perception of solitude… Such is a feeling created by One Hundred Years of Solitude novel…
A myth, legend, fable, allegory, chronicle, epopee, saga, fairytale – call it as you please but magical realism applied by Gabriel García Márquez to his narration encompasses all those.
Remedios the Beauty was proclaimed queen. Úrsula, who shuddered at the disquieting beauty of her great-granddaughter, could not prevent the choice. Until then she had succeeded in keeping her off the streets unless it was to go to mass with Amaranta, but she made her cover her face with a black shawl. The most impious men, those who would disguise themselves as priests to say sacrilegious masses in Catarino’s store, would go to church with an aim to see, if only for an instant, the face of Remedios the Beauty, whose legendary good looks were spoken of with alarming excitement throughout the swamp. It was a long time before they were able to do so, and it would have been better for them if they never had, because most of them never recovered their peaceful habits of sleep. The man who made it possible, a foreigner, lost his serenity forever, became involved in the sloughs of abjection and misery, and years later was cut to pieces by a train after he had fallen asleep on the tracks. From the moment he was seen in the church, wearing a green velvet suit and an embroidered vest, no one doubted that he came from far away, perhaps from some distant city outside of the country, attracted by the magical fascination of Remedios the Beauty. He was so handsome, so elegant and dignified, with such presence, that Pietro Crespi would have been a mere fop beside him, and many women whispered with spiteful smiles that he was the one who really should have worn the shawl. He did not speak to anyone in Macondo. He appeared at dawn on Sunday like a prince in a fairy tale, riding a horse with silver stirrups and a velvet blanket, and he left town after mass.

Tempus fugit
“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.” Ecclesiastes 1:4-6
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,151 reviews2,191 followers
July 31, 2022

Your quest for one of the best books ever published will end here. The story of the Buendia family is narrated in one of the best ways we have ever seen by Márquez. The magical realism in it is simply spectacular and is the best I have seen in any book.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,242 followers
November 19, 2022
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, and 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
non- accessible 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 an utopian place , 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 , one of a kind book that maybe doesn't show reality, however does tell us people are complicated and unpredictable.
Profile Image for Agir(آگِر).
437 reviews494 followers
August 25, 2019
صد سال تنهایی شاهکارِ افتضاحِ قرن: روی رینگ با گابو

تنها راه لذت بردن از این کتاب: مشتِ سوپر ماریو
اگه کلی وقت‌تان بیهوده صرف این رمان شده، مشت‌ها را گره کرده و به سبک ماریو وارگاس یوسا نشانه بگیرید و بادمجانی بکارید زیر چشم گابو

برنده نوبل قصه گویی بی‌روح: سنیور گابو
تواز مادربزرگت قصه گفتن رو یاد گرفتی!!! باورکردنی نیست!!! مادربزرگا داستان‌های بد را هم خوب تعریف می‌کردن. اما تو یه داستان خوب رو به گا دادی آقای گابو

تنها راه علاج: همان مشت‌ها
گابو رو باید همیشه تو رینگ نگه می‌داشتن...شاید از ترسِ ناک اوت شدن هم شده کمی بهتر قصه می‌گفت...شاید دیگر از کسل شدگی و خواب رفتن عضلات مغزمان حین خواندن رمانش رنج نمی‌بردیم

لباس جدید پادشاه
زبان سرخ سر سبز بر باد می‌دهد...می‌دانم...اما نترسید...گابو پادشاه نیست که سرتان را به جلاد بسپارد...کمی اروپا زندگی کرده...معنای آزادی بیان رو می‌فهمد...احساس‌تان را بیان کنید...حتی اگر همه مسخره‌تان کنند و بگویند مگه کوری نمی‌بینی پادشاه لباس به تن دارد!!! حتی اگر بزرگترین شاهکارهای تاریخ یعنی مرگ قسطی و سفر به انتهای شب را بخوانی...میدانم خداسلین است...اما فحش‌بارانش کنید اگر دوستش ندارید

زنده باد کاتالونیا: مرگ بر دیکتاتور فرانکو

صد سال تنهايی...كتابي است كه در همان روز های اول چاپ در دنيا سر و صدای زيادی كرد...خيلي زود نسخه هايش تمام شد...پشت سر هم تجديد چاپ شد...چند سال قبل پادشاه اسپانیا، با هزینه خود(یا پول ملت) آن را تجدید چاپ کرد...کاش میشد جلوی چنین کارهای مضحکی رو گرفت...پادشاه و چهره‌ی روشنفکرانه گرفتن خیلی مسخره اس

من ندیم توام نه ندیم بادمجان: شوخی با گابو
گابو جان هرچقدر که از کتابت خوشم نیومد از تو خوشم میاد...حالا که ریغ رحمتو سرکشیدی...و مرده‌ها عزیزتر میشن... به سراغ کتابت خواهم رفت...و بدون شوخی اگه اینبار خوشم بیاد...قول میدم روی رینگ بذارم چند مشت بکوبی زیر چشمام

ارادتمند تو آگر. سلام منو به سلین برسون
Profile Image for Kimber Silver.
Author 1 book231 followers
February 16, 2023
"Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it."
― Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

This dazzling tale of the Buendía family spans generations. It is a rich account of people carving out a life for themselves in Macondo, a town founded by the patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía.

"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."

José Arcadio Buendía is a corker! He is so hell-bent on making a wondrous discovery that he fritters away the family money on inventions purchased from a wandering troop of gypsies who miraculously show up in Macondo on occasion. Thankfully, his levelheaded wife (and first cousin), Úrsula Iguarán, works herself to the bone to make sure the family won’t starve to death. During this fantastical journey, wars were fought, fortunes won and lost, and hearts wholly decimated, leaving the jilted lovers dead in a flower bed. It must be said that the Buendia family’s foolish choices are an endless source of drama and entertainment.

"Look at the mess we've got ourselves into," Colonel Aureliano Buendia said at that time, "just because we invited a gringo to eat some bananas."

I’ve read Márquez before and loved his work, but this was a whole other animal! He expertly blurs the line between magic and realism so smoothly that it feels as if he was creating cinematic electricity! The horror is tempered by a big dose of whimsy that had me laughing through my tears. The writing is agonizingly beautiful, and each character exquisitely drawn.

In a lifetime of reading, there are only a few extraordinary novels that touch the very fabric of a person’s being—For me, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of those. I was transported into Márquez’s dreamlike creation, and for the past few days had forgotten the real world and lived entirely in his. My only regret is that it all had to come to an end.

So, if you are looking for an epic novel to steal your breath away, look no further!

Thank you, Kevin Ansbro. Your outstanding review pointed the way to this magnificent read!
February 9, 2017
I don't recommend this book if you feel uncomfortable with books that depict graphically

* Pedophilia/rape

* Incest/child abuse
* Non sensical Violence
* 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

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:

Profile Image for Jibran.
224 reviews655 followers
October 17, 2016
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
Profile Image for Mutasim Billah .
112 reviews193 followers
September 16, 2020
"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.


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.


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.


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.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,302 followers
May 2, 2023
Mă tem că multă lume a rămas cu impresia că „realismul magic” e invenția lui Gabriel García Márquez. Ce-i drept, ecoul imens al romanului publicat în 1967 a impus sintagma și a făcut să curgă valuri de cerneală pe tema „realismului magic”.

Dar expresia e străveche, a fost folosită mai întîi în legătură cu pictura. Încă din anii 40 ai secolului trecut, în America latină, unii prozatori au amestecat gesturile „magice” (levitația gospodinelor etc.) și evenimentele reale într-un text care nu era nici fantastic, nici realist. Mă gîndesc, în primul rînd, la Miguel Ángel Asturias și Alejo Carpentier. Într-un interviu din 1967 (an în care a primit premiul Nobel), Miguel Ángel Asturias pretindea că el a fost cel dintîi realist magic. Se lăuda degeaba. Ca în majoritatea cazurilor, inventatorii sînt mai mulți. Și toți au convingerea că sînt singuri...

Romanul lui Márquez pornește, se pare, de la un incident din copilăria lui Márquez. Bunicul lui a fost insultat sistematic de un individ și, pierzîndu-și răbdarea, l-a împușcat. Toată lumea din sat i-a dat dreptate, inclusiv familia răposatului. Cu toate acestea, căința l-a constrîns să părăsească satul și a mers în altă parte, unde a întemeiat o așezare. Îi spunea adesea nepotului: „Tu nu știi cît te apasă pe cuget un mort”.

Recitind de curînd Un veac de singurătate, am observat că multe situații se repetă (replici, gesturi, nume proprii etc.). Asta m-a dus cu gîndul la un fragment din Scriptură, care conține deviza - de mai tîrziu - a lui Giordano Bruno: Nihil sub sole novi.

Așa încît romanul lui Gabriel García Márquez poate fi citit și ca o ilustrare narativă, realizată de un scriitor extraordinar, a unui verset ilustru din Ecclesiast, 1: 9: „Ce a fost va mai fi, iar ce s-a făcut se va mai face! Nu este nimic nou sub soare!”. În fond, aceasta e și concluzia prorociței Pilar Ternera, culcată în balansoarul ei de liane: „Un secol de dat în cărţi şi de experienţă o învăţase că istoria familiei nu era decît un angrenaj de repetiţii inevitabile, o roată turnantă care ar fi continuat să se învîrtească în veci, dacă n-ar fi fost uzura progresivă şi iremediabilă a osiei ei” (p.347). Pilar rămîne în familia Buendía, neclintită ca un turn, citind în cărți viitorul, iar dacă este nevoie (cînd Macondo e vizitat de morbul insomniei), trecutul. Prezicerile ei se adeveresc fără greș și oferă locuitorilor din Macondo o realitate mai blîndă...

Inventivitatea metaforică a lui Márquez este cu adevărat prodigioasă.
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
755 reviews2,942 followers
January 18, 2023
بيقولوا عليها ملحمة ورواية ساحرة..و من أجمل ما كتب ماركيز!
وأنا بقول إنها مملة و تزهق وكرهتني في حياتي وفي ماركيز نفسه..و أعتقد إني مكانش المفروض أكملها وأعذب نفسي كل هذا العذاب:(
صحيح لولا إختلاف الأذواق!
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,385 reviews2,256 followers
July 27, 2021
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.
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