Just finished reading the much talked about novel “One hundred Years of Solitude” by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. Must admit that I could not make much head and tail! Could be because of the fact that there is a lot of supernatural in the form of ghosts and dead moving in the present which I could not relate to! May be a second reading will help.
This is a 1967 novel by Gabriel García Márquez that tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founds the town of Macondo, the metaphoric Colombia.
The book is widely acclaimed and considered by many to be the author’s masterpiece. It was first published in Spanish in 1967, and subsequently has been translated into thirty-seven languages and has sold more than 30 million copies. The magical realist style and thematic substance of One Hundred Years of Solitude established it as an important, representative novel of the literary Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s.
The novel describes the story of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the town of Macondo (a fictional town). The founding patriarch of Macondo, José Arcadio Buendía, and Úrsula Iguarán, his wife (and first cousin), leave Riohacha, Colombia, to find a better life and a new home. One night of their emigration journey, while camping on a riverbank, José Arcadio Buendía dreams of “Macondo”, a city of mirrors (also dubbed as city of mirages) that reflected the world in and about it. Upon awakening, he decides to found Macondo at the river side; after days of wandering the jungle, José Arcadio Buendía’s founding of Macondo is utopic.
Founding patriarch 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. Ultimately, a hurricane destroys Macondo, the city of mirrors; just the cyclical turmoil inherent to Macondo. At the end of the story, a Buendía man deciphers an encryption that generations of Buendía family men had failed to decode. The secret message informed the recipient of every fortune and misfortune lived by the Buendía Family generations.
There is lot of sex which is made to look irresistible not only by the men but also by women. Even relations are forgotten behind the lust but mostly the experience not only enlivens the ‘lovers’ it seems to make them wiser! Sex can be had anywhere, in the house living room, bedroom, bathroom and brothels! Between people of different ages! All sex in this book has been presented not only as violent and passionate but also a great learning experience. It goes on to prove that Sex, after all, may be the only human desire that keeps the mankind going!
Most characters in the novel come out as honest in their dealings except the founders of one Banana Company who destroy the city in their greed, kill over three thousand workers and then conspire to obliterate the truth of massacre by dubious means including official conspiracy. It can also be understood as the struggle for survival by the simple God fearing people (like our Adivasis today), who are the natives against the greedy immigrant exploiters! The natives are bound to lose the war to the all powerful capitalists!
The number of characters is very large and is often confusing due to the similarity of names. This makes the story tedious to understand. Despite the fct mentioned in the beginning there have been some real gems which I could understand! One I share:
He ended up recommending … that past was lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by can never be recovered,and that the wildest and most tenacious love was ephemeral truth in the end. (page 408).