Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude Cover Image

Title One Hundred Years of Solitude
(original Spanish title: Cien años de soledad)
Author(s) Gabriel García Márquez
Translator Gregory Rabassa
Initially Published In 1967 (Spanish) 1970 (English)
Publisher Multiple –  Harper & Row (US); Jonathan Cape (UK)
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Available At Amazon.comAmazon.in, and Flipkart.com.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, originally published in 1967 in Spanish and later translated to English in 1970, is considered to be one of the best novels of the century.  According to some reports, the number of copies of the Spanish version is next only to the Bible.

“The narrative is a magician’s trick in which memory and prophecy, illusion and reality are mixed and often made to look the same.”

— Robert Kiely, The New York Times


One Hundred Years of Solitude is the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo. José Arcadio Buendía, and his wife Úrsula Iguarán (also his first cousin), leave their original town to find a better life and a new home. One night, while travelling, José Arcadio Buendía dreams of a city, “Macondo”. Upon awakening, he decides to establish Macondo at a river side.

The book spans more than a century and seven generations of the Buendia family. Events include major turning points in the lives of the Buendías: births, deaths, marriages, and love affairs. The quirky, wild and unpredictable men and women and their their strange ways make the story enchanting.

After it is established, Macondo is touched by modernity and imperialist capitalism. A banana plantation firm moves in and exploits the land and the workers, and the Americans who own the firm settle in their own fenced-in section of town. There is rebellion, inhuman suppression, massacre, non-stop rain and floods, and so on.

Slowly, the town of Macondo starts decaying, and so does the Buendia family. The last surviving Buendía discovers a set of ancient prophecies and finds that all has has happened had been predicted, and that the village has been living out a predestined set of events of  great beauty and tragic sadness.

Brilliant!

The translation in English is excellent, making the story and the characters come alive. In fact, the author seems to have said that he prefers the English version to the Spanish one.

Though it is set in Latin America, I could relate to the characters and the events, as if they were part of my town, culture, and community.

A book to savor, reflect upon, and read multiple times.

It is available at Amazon.comAmazon.in, and Flipkart.com.

About the author

Gabriel García Márquez, affectionately known as ‘Gabo’ in Latin America, was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Marquez is considered as one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in the Spanish language. In 1982, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

When he died in 2014, the President of Columbia declared three days of national mourning.

His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success. He popularized a genre that became known as “magic realism”, which takes realistic situations enhances them with a touch of magic (like Salman Rushdie in Midnight’s Children).

Other famous novels by Marquez include The Autumn of the Patriarch, Chronicle of a Death Foretold,  and Love in Times of Cholera.

“…for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.”

— Noble Prize citation

Here is a small CNN video clip covering Gabriel Garcia Marquez, after his death in 2014.

If the you tube video does not use, use this link: https://youtu.be/mYBgT8xrJZI

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