One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – Book Review & Synopsis

one hundred years of solitude - book review and pdf

Introduction:

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a story that spans from the postcolonial time of the 1820s, up to the 1920s. It is of the Buendía family’s seven generations that also spans over a century of Latin America’s tumultuous history.

The book is considered one of Gabriel García Márquez’s top works. It is about Macondo, a fictional Colombian town, and the founders of the Buendía family’s rise and fall.

It has earned many awards such as France’s Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger, US’s Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and more. The tale also topped the books’ list that has helped world literature over the last quarter.

In this One Hundred Years of Solitude book review, I will share my experience of reading it alongside my views.

About The Author:

Ghostwriting Gabo – Guernica

Gabriel García Márquez was born on the 6th of March, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia, and sadly passed away on the 17th of April, 2014, in Mexico. He was one of the 20th century’s greatest writers who had been awarded the 1982’s Nobel Prize for Literature for the novel. The places common in the author’s stories are primarily Colombia. Some of his other notable works are Chronicle of a Death Foretold and The Autumn of the Patriarch.

Analysis, Evaluation, and Synopsis of the book:

To start, well, the book revolves around many themes, including incest, solitude, elitism, & fluidity of time.

Incest plays a huge part in the book. In the early part of the story, Ursula warns that kids who are born out of incestuous relationships could be born with pig’s tails. Well, at the novel’s end, a child is born with a pig’s tail. Incest keeps the family members within the family and it too disengages the Buendias from the surrounding.

Words such as “solitude” are mostly present on all pages.  Furthermore, the fluidity of time is moving circularly and is falling on the Buendia family, rather than expanding outward.

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Besides these, the story also has other themes such as modernity, politics, civilization, and magic realism. The novel has a perfect balance between extraordinary phenomena such as a levitating priest and housecleaning and poverty, which are life’s realistic elements.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Synopsis:

One Hundred Years of Solitude’s book, as mentioned above, is about the Buendia family, Macondo’s founders. Jose Arcadio Buendia, alongside his wife Ursula Iguaran, founded the town. Since the pair were cousins, they feared having kids with pigs which live throughout the book.  As for the main characters, well, there are none in focus and neither does the story go through a regular timeline.

Major Characters of One Hundred Years of Solitude Book

Jose Arcadio Buendia is a man of curiosity and is also intrepid. He loses his senses eventually after delving himself into multiple scientific quests. He has two sons, Jose Arcadio and Aureliano. Aureliano, later on, becomes a notorious rebel during the long duration of the civil war. And his brother Jose becomes an ultimate macho who later on dies rather mysteriously.

Macondo also sees bloodshed and death for the first time when it is familiarized with the outside world at the time of the civil war.

hundred years of solitude - novel characters

As for the ladies, Ursula Iguaran is tenacious and fiercely practical with much more common sense than her husband. She, later on, lives a long life. Moreover, her daughter Amaranta is adhesive only in one’s bitterness; and her great-great-granddaughter Amaranta Ursula and Renata Remedios didn’t possess her smartness but had her energy.

Sadly, since their later generations don’t possess the early generation’s strength, it eventually causes the Buendia family to waver away.

Later on in the story, white capitalists arrive at Macondo and expropriate God’s powers. They possess the ability to change water flow and seasons. Foreign imperialism put a banana plantation. However, it exploits Macondo’s residents. Later the workers do a strike and are tragically killed in a massacre, sponsored by the government.  Jose Arcadio Segundo could not face the people after that event as he was a major organizer.

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The banana massacre brings forth a difficult situation for Macondo as the rain that begins the massacre’s night and continues pouring for five years. It not just washes the banana plantation but also leaves Macondo in desperation. Later on, the town loses its modernity and also, its importance. The rain also signals Buendia’s downward spiral. At the ending phases, elder family members lose in memories and the latter ones get lost in solitary isolation.

Strength and Weakness:

One of the book’s strengths is that it is very passionate. It brings the mythical and colorful characters to life. Unreal things happen every day there. The book will also inspire and encourage you to be more with your family and also dream bigger.

Speaking of its weakness, there are only a few including multiple characters with similar names. Plus if the book had many weaknesses, then it surely wouldn’t have led the author to win the Nobel Prize later on.

Rating Matric Parameters

Creativity 4/5:

The author has very much created multiple protagonists throughout the story. He has also added some fantasies and magical powers to it.

Comprehensibility 3/5

Since multiple characters somewhat have common names, it is rather confusing, despite having a genealogical tree.

My take on the book:

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a must-read for all.  It reflects Colombian magical realism so much. All of them are presented in such a nice way.  It shows the human need for love and also the desire for solitude along with the irreconcilable conflict. With the total page count ranging from 417 pages to 448 pages, one can finish it in a quick time. Furthermore, it was also announced that Netflix has acquired the rights to present it on the big screen back in March of 2019.

Download One Hundred Years of Solitude PDF below.