One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez … Review by Yokibu Editorial
Posted on: November 16, 2021.

Author: Prabhukrishna M, Content Creator/Chief Editor, YOKIBU Editorial

One Hundred Years of Solitude was written by Spanish-Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1967 and first published in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His other notable and influential works include…

Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), In Evil Hour (1962), No One Writes to the Colonel (1961) and Leaf Storm (1955).

Written in the author’s days in Mexico City, OHYS remains Gabriel Garcia’s most memorable work till date, regarded as the best literary work in Spanish Literature since Don Quixote by Michael Cervantes.

One Hundred Years of Solitude—Márquez’s most celebrated literary work—and tells the multi-generational story of the Buendia family—seven generations spanning more than 145 years!

The novel imitates in the form of this story, a hundred years of turbulent Latin American history, from the post-colonial 1820s to the 1920s—

—while it is also claimed that OHYS is García Márquez’s effort to express everything that had influenced him throughout his childhood. The author wrote Cien Años de Soledad—its original title—beginning in 1966…

…and—labouring every day for a whole year—had it published in 1967, chain-smoking 60 cigarettes each day, working in seclusion, and relying on his wife for support with his living needs.

Jose Arcadio Buendia—patriarch of the Buendia family—and his first cousin-wife Ursula Iguaran leave Riohacha, Columbia, to find a way from the forested mountains to the seas.

They get lost after 26 months of expedition. Macondo is a fictional town founded by Buendia in that remote place deep inside the Columbian rainforests, so they don’t have to turn all the way back to Riohacha.

To the south of Macondo is a marshy, vegetated swampland, while seas extend to the east and west, leading Jose Arcadio Buendia to take the northern route—only to find that Macondo was…

…surrounded by sea on three sides, letting prevail the notion of a “peninsular” Macondo, much to the indignation of Jose Arcadio Buendia.

In the beginning of the story, the author mentions gypsies lead by Melquiades who arrive at Macondo with tales of starting discoveries and new technology, sparking the imaginations of Jose Arcadio Buendia.

These gypsies are a mention of the real-life ‘Roma’ tribe that inhabited Columbia, but never mentioned in any account of South American history … an estimated 8,000 Roma live in present-day Columbia.

With the interplay of eccentric, peculiar, yet typically distinctive characters in the book, the author has spun a tale of “magic realism”, portraying the supernatural as mundane and exposing mundane as supernatural.

After the death of Jose Arcadio Buendia later in the story, Ursula—the sole surviving matriarch of the Buendia family—efficiently manages the household and lives to be more than a 100 years old.

Ursula, however, is outlived by Pilar Ternera, a local woman with close ties to the Buendia family who mothers the first children of both of Ursula’s sons…

…Jose Arcadio and Aureliano Buendia—later “Colonel Aureliano Buendia”—and who could no longer keep count of the years of her life after she turned 145 years old!

The account of the highly-posited Buendia family reflects the Latin America elite who love themselves to point that they generationally repeat the same mistakes, as they consider themselves above the law…

…and learn almost nothing from their history, while their “Conservatives vs. Liberals” battles—collectivized as the “Thousand Days’ War”—reflected the real war that happened in Columbia from 1899 to 1902.

A kind of organic cerebral fatigue sets in while reading—and having to re-read—One Hundred Years of Solitude, each page crammed with the sense of all that is profound, meaningful, and meaningless in life…

…beyond any single reader’s capacity to comprehend and perceive its vividity, with no unwanted sentences, and no insignificant transitions … needing the reader to absorb everything the moment a line is read.

According to a review of the book by The New York Times, Garcia’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race”.

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