One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Why One Hundred Years of Solitude and Wheeler Peak
I have read this novel twice and enjoyed it immensely both times. It’s a multi-generational novel that is on the surface about family and metaphorically about the history of Colombia. I think it is probably the greatest example ever written utilizing the tool of magical realism. It’s not the easiest read – there are a lot of characters and the magical realism takes some getting used to when following the story. But it’s worth the extra time. There is not a direct connection to New Mexico but I’m not hiking in Colombia and I very much wanted to include this selection. I paired it with Wheeler Peak because my family will be joining me on the hike and One Hundred Year of Solitude is one of the best novels ever written about the themes of family. It was a sad day when Garcia Marquez passed away two years ago.
More About One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish: Cien años de soledad) 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, the metaphoric Colombia.
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, which was stylistically influenced by Modernism (European and North American) and the Cuban Vanguardia (Avant-Garde) literary movement.
Magical realism is literature, painting, film, and theater that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, share in common an acceptance of magic in the rational world. It is also sometimes called fabulism, in reference to the conventions of fables, myths, and allegory.
One Hundred Years of Solitude has received universal recognition. The novel has been awarded Italy’s Chianciano Award, France’s Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger, Venezuela’s Rómulo Gallegos Prize, and the Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature. García Márquez also received an honorary LL.D. from Columbia University in New York City. These awards set the stage for García Márquez’s 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature. The novel topped the list of books that have most shaped world literature over the last 25 years, according to a survey of international writers commissioned by the global literary journal Wasafiri as a part of its 25th-anniversary celebration.
Since it was first published in 1967, One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into 37 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies.The novel, considered García Márquez’s magnum opus, remains widely acclaimed, and is recognized as one of the most significant works in the Spanish literary canon.
A dominant theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude is the inevitable and inescapable repetition of history in Macondo. The protagonists are controlled by their pasts and the complexity of time. Throughout the novel the characters are visited by ghosts. “The ghosts are symbols of the past and the haunting nature it has over Macondo. The ghosts and the displaced repetition that they evoke are, in fact, firmly grounded in the particular development of Latin American history”. “Ideological transfiguration ensured that Macondo and the Buendías always were ghosts to some extent, alienated and estranged from their own history, not only victims of the harsh reality of dependence and underdevelopment but also of the ideological illusions that haunt and reinforce such social conditions.”
García Márquez uses colours as symbols. Yellow and gold are the most frequently used colors and they are symbols of imperialism and the Spanish Siglo de Oro. Gold signifies a search for economic wealth, whereas yellow represents death, change, and destruction.
Gabriel José de la Concordia García Marquez (6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014) was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo or Gabito throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century and one of the best in the Spanish language, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics.
García Márquez started as a journalist, and wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), 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 magic realism, which uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of them explore the theme of solitude.
On his death in April 2014, Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, described him as “the greatest Colombian who ever lived.”