am 17. Juli 2000
How many Aurelianos, Arcadios, Joses and Buendias can one remember? How many civil wars can our countries suffer without autodestroying itselves? How many years have to go by before we understand who we are, what we are doing and how do we fit into a master plan?
Well, Garcia Marquez discovered it: none. Or hundred. But he discovered something more important: time is something it happens when you want to be aware of it.
GM told his wife (back in the 50s) not to bother him for a year, (you see, time can be a personal invention) because he was going to write a masterpiece. Mercedes did miracles to mantain her family for that period, but finally, when Gabriel emerged, he had 500 pages of pure wonder. His first tentative title was "La Casa Grande" (The Big House) but, if he was to invent a new category (magical realism) he understood he must choose a better title. No printer in Mexico (where he had wrote it) or in Colombia (where he was born) accepted it. So, with the last few bank notes he had, he sent it to Buenos Aires. Yes, the only copy of it (and there was no Fedex!) Editorial Sudamericana published it immediately, and it was a storming success.
Since then, this novel triumphed all over the world, despite translations (I've read it both in Spanish and English and the magic's there) and, with the help of Cortazar's Rayuela put Latin America in the cultural map.
But what is so astonoshing about a lost town, a family that repeats its names and its traumas, set in a country whose distraction is doing the best to eliminate themselves from the face of the earth?
1) He demostrated that the judeo-christian theory of linear time is just a myth. Like Galileo before, he's discovery was rejected, but now we know better: time is circular, but we can modify it if we only have the guts to do it.
2) Good literature does not need parameters. Long sentences? Repeating names? Difficult to follow plot? To destroy, one must first create, and this novel inventend not only a new theory of time, but also a new one in literature.
3) You must have one and only one objective when writing. be honest to yourself. GM discovered this, quit life for a whole year, and produced the Buendias'story, a story that, if you read between lines, is the story of Latin America.
Before you realise that you have but one chance in earth, submerge into this novel, and come out a new person
am 26. Mai 2000
The beginning of the book contains a family tree of the Buendia family, and if you're like me you'll surely mangle and dog-ear this page as you work your way though the book, trying to keep track of the Aurelianos, Remedios, and Ursulas.
But the struggle is worth it. This was truly the great novel that Garcia Marquez was meant to write; to me everything of Marquez that followed seems like recycled material. I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude years ago before moving to Latin America. Now that I here and have read it again, many of the messages that before were inaccessible now reveal themselves. The Story of Macondo is the story of Colombia and, to a larger extent, of Latin America. The reviewers tell us this, but it is amazing to see it with my own eyes.
The literal and the fantastic are interwoven with a seamlessness that amazes. One compares his style with Kafka before and Kundera after, literary voice established in this novel has withstood the test of time. It remains unique.
The book is at once funny, sad, tragic; it's history and fantasy. But overall it is a marvelous read. Clearly one of my all time favorites. There are very few books that I recommend as highly as this one. A true classic.
am 13. Juli 2000
Although I liked some aspects of One Hundred Years of Solitude, I do have some bones to pick with it. For one, I don't like the way Marquez tells the story. It is not in chronological order. To be honest this isn't my favorite way of telling a story but that isn't the worst part. What really bugs me about it is the fact that he spoils his future events. Not by foreshadowing but by blatantly telling you what will happen later in the story.
Another problem is his sentence structure. Some of them were quite long. I like highly expressive writing styles and complicated sentences, but Marquez does it all wrong. There was one particular one that started more than half way up page 348 and ended at almost the bottom of page 350. Now call me cynical, but that sentence was pretty much a short story in itself. Needless to say I didn't like his sentence structure. (I highly doubt that this extremely long sentence was made with the translation since Marquez complimented Rabassa on his work and even said he preferred the English version of his novel.)
I must say I did enjoy the actual story and the message that Marquez was giving. He was very symbolic and I liked that part of the novel.
In all I think that One Hundred Years of Solitude was good but not the best. If you're curious about my favorite novel, here it is: the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
am 2. Dezember 2012
Mit diesem lange vorbereiteten Roman (1967, "Cien años de soledad") gelang dem kolumbianischen Schriftsteller ein geradezu spektakulärer Erfolg und eine der überragenden Leistungen der lateinamerikanischen Literatur. Im Zentrum steht die scheinbar geradlinige, in Wirklichkeit aber zyklisch verlaufende Familiensaga der Buendía im imaginären Dorf Macondo, das einerseits ein wirklichkeitsgetreues Abbild von Garcia Márquez` Geburtsort Aracata darstellt, aber auch dessen symbolische Abwandlung.
Anfang des 19. Jh.s muss José Arcadio Buendía seinen Heimatort Riohacha wegen eines Mordes verlassen. Nach einem Traum gründet er mit seiner Frau Ursula den utopischen "Ort der Spiegel" und nennt ihn Macondo. Das Dorf steht metaphorisch für Kolumbien und erlebt hintergründig-symbolisch die Geschichte dieses Landes: Bürgerkriege pro und contra Liberalismus, Anschluss and das Eisenbahnnetz, den Guerra de los Mil Días von 1899-1902, ebenso wie die Ausbeutung durch die nordamerikanische United Fruit Company, genannt La Frutera.
Wie eine Fruchtbarkeitskgöttin steht Ursula, die blinde "Mama grande" im Strom des Geschehens. Über sieben Generationen entsteht die schier unentwirrbare Genealogie durch Schändungen und Inzest und die Namensgleichheit der zahlreichen Nachkommen verbürgt die Kontinuität des Archetyps. Auf allen Generationen lastet der Fluch des Unvermögens, eine bewusste Beziehung zu sich und der Welt ausserhalb dieses Mikrokosmos herzustellen. Einer der beiden Söhne José Arcadios, Oberst Aureliano Buendía, der 32 Aufstände anzettelt und jedesmal scheitert, der mit 17 Frauen 17 Söhne zeugt, die alle in einer Nacht getötet werden, der Attentate und Selbstmordversuche überlebt, verkörpert eine turbulente Absurdität. Schliesslich erweist sich die 100jährige Familiengeschichte geheimnisvoll vorherbestimmt, denn der verstorbene Zigeuner Melquiades hat sie in allen Einzelheiten in einer Schrift (nicht unähnlich prä-kolumbianischer Totenbücher) vorausgesagt. Doch erst der letzte Aureliano ist in der Lage, diesen Almanach zu entschlüsseln.
Als Erzähler ist Garcia Márquez omnipräsent und nichtexistent zugleich, da das Pergament des Zigeuners Melquiades die Romanwirklichkeit vorschreibt. Somit beschreibt er auch einen unverwechselbar lateinamerikanischen Fatalismus, gemischt mit Widerstand und Trotz ("se sufre pero se aprende") - Auflehnung gegen Gesetze des Lebens, Plagen, Herrschaft des Bösen, apokalyptische Einlösung von Schuld - aber auch das Recht auf Stolz. Garcia Márquez hilft uns, hinter dem Gemetzel der Bürgerkriege, hinter den Toten und Gemarterten, auch die Herausbildung einer authentischen kolumbianischen Identität zu erkennen.
am 5. Februar 1997
If readers want to read one novel that is the likely choice as Novel of the 20th Century (ludicrous thought as that seems), I strongly recommend ``One Hundred Years of Solitude'' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Great fiction removes our usual methods of perceiving the world, bringing us a revised code of insight, understanding and comprehension.
This novel has that transformative quality. The English translation from the original Spanish by Gregory Rabassa is also, in its own right, a classic of its kind.
What readers want _ human insight, distilled reflection on the patterns of history, careful language _ are delivered in a magical, powerful way in this book. I have to add, personally, that this novel can be offputting at first. It took me 70 pages before the hook in my brain was completely set. From that point on, I was addicted to Marquez's prose.
I'm about to read the book for the third time this spring.
am 22. Juli 2000
This book is a classic to be read over and over. When I got to the last page, I started the book over again just like I was turning the next page. Upon second reading, the storyline (which admittedly can be confusing) made more sense. The only complaint I have about the book is that characters first names are all so similar that the reader must continually consult the family tree at the beginning of the book. The book is an astonishing achievement of literature, and the reader must be willing to suspend belief and be challenged. For me, this book was a bit like water: fluid and moving, reflecting, rushing or still. It has so many qualities that are had to put words to. Also, the story has a very timeless quality to it in that the reader is forced to be completely present with the story; one can truly only be with this book one glorious sentence at a time.
am 25. August 1999
What is the point of this book? It doesn't have one, in my opinion. The author himself said that the reason for writing it was that he wanted to write a book about incest! I really do not enjoy graphic descriptions of this incest, either. I would not reccommend it to anyone, in fact, I tell others NOT to read it. I wouldn't have read past the tenth page if I hadn't been required to for my English class.
am 7. Juli 2000
One Hundred Years of Solitude, the greatest of all Latin American novels is the magic and multi-layered epic of the Buendia family and the story of their jungle settlement, Macondo.
Like many other epics, this book has deeply-rooted connections with historical reality, i.e., the development of Colombia since its independence from Spain in the early 19th century. The story of the Buendia family is obviously a metaphor for Colombia in the neocolonial period as well as a narrative concerning the myths in Latin American history.
The finest example of magic realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a wonderfully comic novel, yet the book also exudes a pervading sense of irony; a strong undercurrent of sadness, solitude and tragic futility. The intermingling of the fantastic with the ordinary keeps readers in a state of constant anticipation, especially where the generations of Buendia men are concerned.
Some of this extraordinary novel's most important effects are achieved through the interplay of time as both linear and circular. The founding of Macondo and its narrative, for the most part, follow time in a linear sense, as does the history of the Buendia family, who form a series of figures symbolizing the particular historical period of which they are a part.
The book, however is almost obsessively circular in its outlook, as characters repeat, time and again, the experience of earlier generations. The book's fatalism is underscored by this circular sense of time. Even a name a person is given at birth predetermines his or her life and manner of death, e.g., the Aurelianos were all lucid, solitary figures, while the Jose Arcadios were energetic and enterprising, albeit tragic.
The characters in One Hundred Years of Solitude represent the purest archetypes; they are two dimensional and are used to convey certain thematic points. This enhances the beauty of the novel rather than detracting from it, for One Hundred Years of Solitude is thematic and metaphorical in nature rather than psychological.
The male figures are obsessive, and full of ambitious projects and passionate sexuality. They are, however, given to extreme anger, irrational violence and long periods of self-imposed solitude.
The female characters also lend themselves to categorization. With the exception of the Remedios, the women in the book exhibit either common sense and determination or passionate eroticism. But while the men are dreamy and irrational, the women are firmly rooted in reality. Both sexes, however, embody a similar fatal flaw; they lack the ability to relate to the world outside of Macondo. They fall victim to their own constructions, plunging them into a harsh and long-lasting solitude.
Macondo is fated to end the moment one of its inhabitants deciphers Melquiades the Gypsy's manuscripts regarding the town's history. In a sense, however, Macondo does survive. One of the few who take the advice of the Catalan bookseller and leave the town before its destruction is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, himself, who escapes with the complete works of Rabelais.
This self-referential ending, pointing to the world beyond Macondo from which Garcia Marquez is telling the story tells us that whatever life is to be lived in Latin America should not be the magic but self-defeating experience of the Buendias, but rather an ever-widening life of learning and moving on; the development of an awareness of doing what each situation requires.
Garcia Marquez is more than a Nobel Prize winning author. He is a magician par excellence; someone whose unique ability to produce a magical realm where anything is possible and everything is believable is unrivaled. This is the overwhelming reason why this dazzling masterpiece does, and will continue to attract, convince and hypnotize readers for decades to come.
am 22. Juni 2000
...And magically real. Starting within the end, while terminating where it begins, the legend of the imaginary-and-mega-tangible village of Macondo (a.k.a. One Hundred Years of Solitude) is nothing but the consummate story of humanity and the world, with a certain-whatever (un)established civilisation in between... The saga of the descendants of José Arcadio Buendía, in (perhaps foregoing) and proceeding generations, is one and all, all in one, framed in a scenario where everything exists - though that is yet to be discovered. Within the indefinite and everlasting countless José Arcadio(s) and Aureliano(s) (fill in the blank, or count them if you will), or Úrsula(s) and Remedios(es), lies the completeness of a novel as universal as night and day, where anyone can relate to anything - and where there are no boundaries between the real and the fantastic, solitude abounding.
Woven by tales which repeat themselves all over again, endlessly, the grandiosity in this particular work by the finest writer Latin America has ever delivered lies in the very (post)structure of its own textuality, in its own deconstruction, in its own simulation. García Márquez's Buendía network in the unfolding Macondo extends its representation to that of one hundred years of existence, wherever and whenever and whatever and whomever and however, while it recollects and reassembles the general wonder, sorrow, celebration, disgrace, ecstasy, stigma, and amazement that we refer to as life (but don't forget that, like in the novel, if it lacks a name due to its being too recent, you can grant it one by pointing at it).
To put it in a few words, whether or not you're Ursula or José Arcadio, or Aureliano or Remedios, a bit of each one or all of them at once, One Hundred Years of Solitude is your story and that of your environs, of your passions and emotions - the story instructing the outburst of being able to start all over again, of living one hundred years in the company of a novel so delightful which could be read way over one hundred times per life...
am 23. März 2000
"It's as if the world were repeating itself," (Marquez, 298). Every year, every decade, every generation, lives are being repeated over and over again. The names Jose Arcadio and Aureliano appear throughout the Buendia family tree, causing the same mistakes and the same love wars. When Rebeca comes to live with the Buendia family as a very distant cousin, she is welcomed and grows to the age where she notices men. She notices Pietro Crespi first. So does her cousin, Amaranta. Amaranta swears that Rebeca will die before she marries Pietro, yet it is not Rebeca that dies, but Amaranta's sister-in-law, Remedios. The feeling of hate and revenge continues in Amaranta's life, even though Rebeca spurns Pietro and marries her cousin Jose Arcado (junior). There are many people in the family, many married to relatives, or in love with them, and many that have many illegitimate children. Such as Colonel Aureliano Bruendia, who has 17 sons, all with different mothers, and with the same name as their father. But in the end, everyone feel alone, everyone is alone, though they are surrounded by people. This is a fantasy book where one village can withstand the modern world, can live in its own corner without discovery. But when that discovery comes, all that is there is betrayal, loneliness, and war. Everyone is trying to be who they are, but they just keep repeating the mistakes that their grandfathers made, with no other side of the rainbow. There are many bad characters and people who become those who are despised most. But in the end, there is just solitude. A state of just being, if only for yourself. These people lead enchanted lives, only to die while urinating. They see the ghosts of those long gone and long forgotten. This adds to the theme of solitude. Where no matter how many brothers, sons, girlfriends you have, all that remains is you. Such is the case with the Colonel. His wife of about 12 years dies and his 17 sons are all murdered and that leaves only him. This book is not the best reading. The beginning begins to take off, and then there is about twenty pages of dull description and such. Keep reading the book and you'll get to the parts that are interesting to everyone. There are about four such parts, but there is so much action that one can be interested if they just keep reading on. The theme was held strong with great ideas, and everyone ended up lonely. For this one theme to seep through the entire novel is a great sign of a well-written book.