“Then he made one last effort to search in his heart for the place where his affection had rotted away, and he could not find it.”
As I sat down reading, I flipped pages to dwell inside the endless magic of Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude.’ As far as I remember, the book pulled my imagination to a magical realm, where one could barely imagine him outside the story set by Marquez in his masterpiece.
Spanned across seven generations, One Hundred Years Of Solitude is a hard book to read, but definitely offers rewarding wisdom. The beautiful narration of the book leaves readers with absurdities of its magic realist depiction. The seven generations of the Buendia family go through a series of fortune and misfortunes embodying the entireties of one’s faith and fate.
Gabriel García Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo.
“What does he say?’ he asked.
‘He’s very sad,’ Úrsula answered, ‘because he thinks that you’re going to die.’
‘Tell him,’ the colonel said, smiling, ‘that a person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.” – Gabriel García Márquez.
Born on 6th March 1927, in Colombia, Gabriel was left alone in Aracataca. His father Gabriel Eligio García along with Gabriel’s mother moved to Barranquilla. Gabriel was raised with his maternal grandparents, and later when her grandfather died, he moved in with his parents in Barranquilla. He was grown in Columbia, a state dealing with the civil conflict between its conservatives and Liberal political parties.
Since Gabriel was raised with his grandparents, they had a much greater influence on him than his parents. His grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía was a decorated veteran of the Thousand Days War and is known for his refusal to stay silent on the Banana massacre. While his grandmother Doña Tranquilina Iguarán was a highly superstitious woman who would often narrate him stories of bad omen, premonitions, and portents. Her superstitious views later became the foundation of One Hundred Years Of Solitude. Both of his grandparents shaped Gabriel’s liberal and socialist outlook.
Since his teenage years, Gabriel wrote several poems and comic scripts. He would spend most of his spare time reading fiction and writing stories and poems. Gabriel started his career in journalism around the 1940s and became an active member of writers and journalists known as the Barranquilla Group. Gabriel as a journalist covered the 1958 Venezuelan Coup D’etat, leading to exile president Marcos Pérez Jiménez.
But his biggest achievement remains One Hundred Years Of Solitude, not publically but also personally. Gabriel since childhood wanted to write a story inspired by the life he led with his grandparents in the town of Aracataca. However, he often juggled between finding the right story and tone that could justify his experience. Once while driving with his wife to Acapulco, halfway, the idea struck him and he asked his wife to manage the family’s expenses for the coming months and he drove back to his home. To cover the cost of the family’s expenses while he wrote, Gabriel sold his car and engaged in full-time writing his novel. It sure took longer than he first anticipated, and almost 18 months later, the book was completed.
One Hundred Years Of Solitude
The incredible first sentence started with “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
The book when first published in 1967 became a massive hit and went on to bring Latin American Literature to the global forefront. The book sold more than 30 million copies. But what exactly makes the book so splendid? The story narrates the tale of the Buendia family, which goes through a series of fortune and misfortunes embodying the entireties of one’s faith and fate. Inspired by his own experience, Gabriel’s perfect description of post-colonial bizarre realities takes one to relive the era of Columbia’s civil conflict.
The magical book deals with unreal so well that one could possibly find floating humans so normal that it would have happened daily in their lives. The huge cast of characters and family tree is so complex that it is very hard to keep up with the pace of the storyline. The intense assortment of romance, civil war, political advances, and more than one character named Aureliano.
Each character of the novel receives equal attention and time to get familiar with their personalities and views. The book narrates the cycle of time, where the past finds its way back to the future reliving itself in the consciousness of the characters. They are controlled by their pasts and the complexity of time. A love so intense that they forget the difference between love and obsession. The story revolves around the fictional town of Macondo.
The generations of the Buendía family are more than unwilling to escape their misfortunes and continue living in solitary while being frequently visited by ghosts. The complex family tree, lust, civil war distress, a fruit massacre followed by an incestuous relationship among the family itself ends with the town of Macondo scoured from existence.
The book was so popular that it led García Márquez to win Nobel Prize as well as the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972. The theme of the novel includes subjectivity of reality and magic realism, solitude, fatalism, and fluidity of time. But even in the depth of fatalism, the novel still holds hope and by the end of the novel, Macondo will feel like home.