One Hundred Years of Solitude – Poetic with a Vengeance

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Beundia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Who is Colonel Aureliano Buendia? Why was he facing a firing squad? Who was his father and why take him along to discover ice?

If you obsess over the particulars of the story as much as you soak in the magical promises that such an opening sentence throws at you, One Hundred Years of Solitude or Cien Años De Soledad, its original title, will blow you away with a vengeance.

Top Reasons Everyone Should Read It

1. It is pure poetry. Commonplace words  weave fantastic images of mystical landscapes, dreamy times and generations of genes.

2. The history repeats itself. Nostalgia is palpable with redolent passion.

3. Nature at its imagined best with guava groves, black scorpions, year long rains and wandering gypsies.

4. A parade of Arcadio and Aurelianos Buendias. They are lovers, madmen, revolutionaries, thinkers, cousins, aunts, grandfathers, strangers and lonely people.

5. To believe in humanity, the beauty of life and the power of story telling.

Top Reasons People Avoid It and Remedies

1. Confusing repetitive names – They are a pattern of brilliance and madness. They are really not that hard and they serve a purpose.

2. Too stylistic and concentric a story – Well history does repeats itself. It comes full circle.

3. Is it a parable? Is it an allegory? Should I understand South America? – Just read it. Experience it. Then analyse it based on what you remember about how you felt when you read it. That is how GGM wants his stories to be interpreted.

4. There is no plot – Put the book down and walk away from literature.

5. I am afraid it’s reputation is too daunting – That is a very valid concern. Pick it up with a blank mind and just immerse yourself in it.

Quotes

“Intrigued by that enigma, he dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her”

“On rainy afternoons, embroidering with a group of friends on the begonia porch, she would lose the thread of the conversation and a tear of nostalgia would salt her palate when she saw the strips of damp earth and the piles of mud that the earthworms had pushed up in the garden. Those secret tastes, defeated in the past by oranges and rhubarb, broke out into an irrepressible urge when she began to weep. She went back to eating earth.”

“The world must be all fucked up,” he said then, “when men travel first class and literature goes as freight.”

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