One Hundred Years of Solitude

ISBN: 0060531045
ISBN 13: 9780060531041
By: Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez Gregory Rabassa

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Genres

1001 Books Book Club Classics Fantasy Favourites Historical Fiction Latin America Literature Magic Realism Magical Realism

About this book

One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career.The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master.Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.

Reader's Thoughts

Kenghis Khan

"The book picks up not too far after Genesis left off." And this fictitious chronicle of the Buendia household in the etherial town of Macondo somewhere in Latin America does just that. Rightly hailed as a masterpiece of the 20th century, Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" will remain on the reading list of every pretentious college kid, every under-employed author, every field-worker in Latin America, and indeed should be "required reading for the entire human race," as one reviewer put it a few decades back.No review, however laconic or ponderous, can do justice to this true piece of art. Perhaps I can only hint at a few of the striking features of the work that are so novel, so insightful, and which make it such a success in my opinion.By far and away the most inspiring element of the work is the author's tone. He reportedly self-conscioulsy wrote in the style that his grandmother back in Columbia used to tell him stories. Thus there is a conversational, meandering, but indeed succinct and perfect narrative voice to whisk the reader through the years of Macondo's fantastical history.Not unrelatedly, the tone has ample visual imagery, with superb attention to detail (and just the right quantity and nature of the detail that surrounds everyday life) to help prod the story along. The dolls of the child-bride treasured by the mother-in-law and heroine Ursula. The paranormal and mundane contrivences of the gypsies that are celebrated in the opening pages and which close the book. The tree to which the mad genius who founded the town and Buendia line is tied and dies in. The pretentious suitcases of the returning emigre. The goldfishes that are the relicts of a disillusioned but celebrated warrior. And the ubiquitous ants. All these objects have their proper place among the daily going abouts of the Buendia family, and serve to weave into the story a sense of BOTH the ordinary and the surreal.There is ample space in this world of Macondo and the Buendias for a sad commentary on that world South of the Rio Grande. Incessant, pointless civil wars. A rigid political and ecclesiastical hierarchy shoved down the throats of decent folk. The rampant exploitation of the tropics by outsiders, both foreign and domesitc. And perhaps most significantly, the strangely marginal and uncomfortable space occupied by technology in daily life in the Latino world. I am surely not alone in uncovering some facet of the work that speaks so boldly and loudly to me. This rich yet surprisingly elegant novel has, it seems, on every page the germinating seeds of an exciting conversation that speaks directly to an observation and experience everybody, and especially those coming to or from Latin America (or any underdeveloped nation), has had.And of course there are the brilliant characters, and the sense one gets of how they are affected by, and in turn affect, their setting. The story is aided by a pedigree one keeps referring to in the beginning of the book, as its immense scope (yes, 100 years) and maddening array of characters demand of the reader to conjure up visualizations of what exactly is going on. It is no wonder that this work is celebrated for being almost biblical in scope.Yes, my review can be condensed into three words: READ THIS BOOK!!!

Tim

I had a magical AP English teacher my senior year of high school, who had an ethereal, almost magical (sort of a whisper, sort of a song) voice and a flourish and passion for reading. She assigned us Garcia-Marquez' "100 Years Of Solitude," it was one of those (i'll admit and hope it doesn't sound lame or cheesy) life-changing moments.I can't say what it was at that moment that so moved me, but I attribute this as the book that made me love reading...love words. I hadn't come across any authors whose words could move deftly from the grounded, the sublime, and the real to the super-natural, the magic, and the surreal. The chapters almost blew off the pages like maple-wings from a tree (hey, I can visualize it)...and literally from that point on I learned how to look beyond what you can see in the everyday to peer into the beyond.This is the only novel that I have read multiple times, and I could pick it up again today and read it cover to cover.

Maria

Del potere seduttivo di Gabriel García Márquez.E' successo tutto una settimana fa. Può sembrare poco tempo e in effetti lo è, ma lasciate che vi racconti come è andata.Mi corteggiava da mesi. Io continuavo a ripetergli i motivi per i quali non saremmo mai potuti andare d'accordo.- Non sei il mio tipo - cercavo di fargli capire - Io ho bisogno di altro, mi conosco, sono attratta da personaggi completamente diversi. Mi dispiace.Lui non mi dava tregua. Stava lì a guardarmi. Sorrideva, quasi fosse una sfida.- Lasciami provare. Se le cose non andranno sparirò per sempre dalla tua vita.Non sopportavo più quel silenzio paziente e granitico. Fino all'altro giorno:- Un'unica possibilità, tanto per dimostrarti che ho ragione. - gli dissi - Andiamo. Un sorriso diverso questa volta, pieno e raggiante.Mi portò a Macondo, un strano villaggio immerso nella foresta colombiana.- Vedi? - gli dissi - Già non andiamo d'accordo! Io odio questi luoghi! A me piacciono le città fredde e caotiche. Adoro lo smog, le luci al led e i palazzoni di sessanta piani. Hai già perso!Niente. Non voleva lasciarmi andare.Mi indicò una casa, quella era la nostra destinazione.Conobbi i suoi amici: José Arcadio Buendía e Ursula Iguarán.José Arcadio Buendía. Ripetevo il suo nome continuamente; mi sembrava che ogni sillaba fosse una nota musicale più che una disposizione ordinata di lettere.- José Arcadio Buendía. José. Arcadio. Buendía.Non lo dissi a Gabriel, sapevo che si sarebbe preso gioco di me.Josè Arcadio parlava velocemente, non riuscivo a stargli dietro. Mi raccontò di come lui e Ursula avessero fondato Macondo, degli zingari e delle loro invenzioni straordinarie. Mi parlò della sua voglia di scoprire, del suo bisogno viscerale di vedere, di sapere.Le sue pupille erano due tizzoni ardenti. Ogni parte del suo corpo ardeva contemporaneamente. Era impossibile staccargli gli occhi di dosso.Mi presentò i suoi figli. Erano tre. Quattro in realtà. Mi spiegò che Rebeca era una Buendìa a tutti gli effetti; era sua figlia prima ancora che arrivasse al villaggio, piccola e sola, con la sua scatola di legno stretta tra le braccia.Non capii sul momento cosa significasse esattamente "essere un Buendìa".- Sembra un concetto molto affascinante - mi limitai a dire.Jose Arcadio era il maggiore. Bello e fiero. Un uomo vero, come amava definirsi.Come spesso succede, la mia attenzione non si fermò sui muscoli di Arcadio ma proseguì oltre, su Aureliano, sul secondogenito. Scorgevo nei suoi occhi sfuggenti una tale passione per la vita che mi paralizzò. Aveva la frenesia della ricerca nel sangue, come suo padre.Amaranta ci fissava da lontano. Non si avvicinò neanche una volta. Non riuscì a trattenersi però quando entrando in casa le dissi che, secondo me, lei aveva il nome più bello di tutta Macondo. - Forse anche più di Rebeca - aggiunsi. Le si spalancò un sorriso sul viso che neanche la luna poté eguagliare.Restai a cena. Una tavola stracolma di cibo come non ne avevo mai viste prima.Voci su voci, e urla, e grida si sovrapponevano incessantemente; una tale baraonda in quella stanza che ebbi l'impressione di aver cenato insieme ad un intero reggimento di soldati.Uscii un attimo sul portico, avevo bisogno d'aria. Macondo di notte era qualcosa di spettacolare.La vegetazione indisciplinata rivestiva il paesaggio di profumi intensi e selvaggi. Primitivi. Unici. Gabriel mi raggiunse e mi chiese cosa ne pensassi di quel mondo abbandonato dal tempo.- Non so cosa dire - risposi. Era vero, non sapevo cosa stessi provando; non riuscivo a comprendere quei personaggi così bizzarri, chiassosi e grossolani. Che si amavano forte, che si amavano rumorosamente.- Vuoi andare via? - mi sussurrò.- Vorrei andare. E vorrei restare. Non riesco a capire. Aspettiamo ancora un pò. Rimasi a Macondo altri cento anni.Mi persi nei tatuaggi di Arcadio e passai ore intere a studiare le pergamene di Melquíades, avvolta dalla costanza di Fernanda e dalla dedizione di Santa Sofia de la piedad.Mi innamorai della fierezza del colonnello Aureliano, del suo cuore di ghiaccio, della sua anima di fuoco.Mi incantai a guardare la purezza di Remedios la bella, della ragazza che andò in cielo senza passare dalla terra. E seppi delle farfalle gialle, di quell'amore consumato appena. Lessi il destino della famiglia nei tarocchi di Pilar Ternera. Non c'erano misteri nel cuore di un Buendìa che le fossero impenetrabili, perchè un secolo di cartomanzia e di esperienza le avevano insegnato che la storia della famiglia era un ingranaggio di ripetizioni irreparabili. Vidi uomini e donne nascere e morire, negli stessi occhi, nella stessa carne e capii quanto fossi stata fortunata. Compresi che tutto quello a cui avevo assistito: era irripetibile da sempre e per sempre, perché le stirpi condannate a cent'anni di solitudine non avevano una seconda opportunità sulla terra. Lui continua a guardarmi, anche adesso. Sorride. Ha vinto e lo sa.Non è il mio tipo, questo non è cambiato e probabilmente non cambierà. Ma tutto che mi ha fatto provare, tutto quello che ho vissuto, anche quello non cambierà mai.http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....

Paul

Well Mr Marquez may have a Nobel Prize for his mantelpiece and a pretty good imagination for writing what with the levitating women and babies made of ice cream but he has no imagination at all when he is thinking of his characters names which are like to drive you entirely insane in this novel, will you please look at this. There are five people called Arcadio, ,three ladies called Remedios, two ladies called Amaranta and there’s a Pietro and a Petra which look quite similar, and there are 23 people called Aureliano (17 of them sons of an Aureliano, so this father has as much lack of name imagination as Mr Marquez). It does give a reader brain ache trying to remember who is who and why they are levitating and which one lives to be 530 years old. I think this is a very good novel for people who like to go into trances for hours at a time.

Christina White

Torture. This book seemed like it would NEVER end. I didn't enjoy this book... and here are some reasons I came up with:1. I'm not Colombian2. Magical realism makes my head hurt3. Incest is disgusting4. Everyone had the same name and the characters kept dying... therefore I had no investment in the relationships and no sense of a plot that I cared to follow through to the end.Maybe I'm just not intellectual or smart enough to enjoy this book... There are so many reviews of praise. I totally missed the boat on this one.

عمرو الجندى

هذا هو العالم الاخر فى عالم الكتابة ..

Mister Jones

I must be missing something about this one, and whatever it is, I know it's not much.I didn't enjoy it; I wanted it to be a fulfilling and rewarding read; I want it to be everything that everyone else said it was and then some.So, I learned that some works aren't worth it--not worth reading, not worth the time, and not worth putting faith in what others may deem "a beautiful book."Marquez pops characters in and out with different brief activities and events, scattering them into a literary collage; humans with tails, and a girl who eats dirt..those things would be interesting if a story was surrounding each one, but there isn't. It's like going to a carnival looking through a peep hole and seeing a freak of nature briefly.To just pop these abnormalities in as being convincing, which it sure as hell isn't, seems to be stretching the point of lucidity and literary, and after that, I stopped reading--because there's a big difference in reading and just wallowing in a collage of intellectual masturbation where events and names are continuously wrapped around the charming misnomer:"magic realism." Ultimately, it's monotonous, confusing, and in the end boring as hell.I've given it no stars because I'm so full of magic realism. I'm real and can perform magic,and I'm far more convincing than this pretentious work ever could be. Watch me: I'm waving my literary wand and sending 100 Days of Boring Crap on a magic carpet ride directly into my "crap that actually got published" bin. BRAVO!

mai ahmd

حين تفكر بقراءة هذه الرواية يجب أن تضع نصب عينيك أنك لا تقرأ عملا اعتياديا يستلزم جهدا مشابها عليك أن تترك كل حواسك مع الكتاب المترجم علماني كان متفهما جدا لطبيعة القارىء العربي وربما صعوبة التواصل مع أسماء بهذا الكم وأجيال بهذا العدد فما كان منه إلا أن وضع خارطة للأجيال الستة التي مروا على قرية ماكوندو من أسرة خوسيه أركاديو بوينديا تسهيلا وحتى لا يقع القارىء في لبس الأسماء وهذا يحسب لعلماني كمترجم له باع في الترجمة بلغة سلسة أصبح يتهافت عليها الجميع الرواية من الروايات العظيمة والتي تقدم دروسا في فن كتابة الرواية السحرية الخالدة أنها لا يمكن أن تكون سوى ملحمة هذه الرواية هي الرواية التي حصل ماركيز بعدها على نوبل وهي الرواية التي ظلت لسنوات عديدة من أكثر الكتب مبيعا في القارة اللاتينية كتب ماركيز قصة قرية أسرة بوينديا لأجيال عديدة منذ الجهد الذي بذل في بناء قرية ماكوندو وحتى آخر فرد في سلالتها تلك القرية التي اختير مكانها بعد صعوبات عدة القرية الهادئة التي تنعم بالسلام وحتى توافد الناس عليها وكل مراحل التطور التي مرت بها القرية كانت مرتبطة بألأسرة الآنفة الذكر لم يكن ماركيز مجرد كاتب يعتني بتفاصيل الحدث ولكن في كثير من الأحيان كنتُ أخاله مصور يصور الحالة وويهتم بالكادر ويرتب تكوين الصورة كأجمل ما تكون ثم يطلقها لكي تقع عليها العيون المتشبثة لكل حرف فيها كان من الطريف جدا والمأساوي أيضا ما ذكره ماركيز حول هذه الرواية أنه لم يكن يملك أجر البريد لإرسالها إلى الناشر يقول: «أرسلتُ مخطوطة «مائة عام من العزلة»، إلى فرانثيسكو بوروا في دار نشر سورامريكا في بوينس آيرس، وعند وزن الطرد طلب موظف البريد أن ندفع 72 بيسوس، ولم نملك غير 53 بيسوس، فقمنا بفصل المخطوط إلى قسمين متساويين، وأرسلنا قسماً منه، وبعد ذلك انتبهنا إلى أننا أرسلنا القسم الثاني من الرواية». وعلق ماركيز: «لحسن الحظ كان فرانثيسكو بوروا متلهفا لمعرفة القسم الأول من الرواية، فأعاد إلينا النقود، كي نرسل له القسم الأول».تخيلوا لو لم يكن هذا الناشر مطلعا ومتفهما لضيع علينا قراءة هذه الرواية الخارقة! لا أعرف ماذا أقول هنا الحقيقة ولكن هذه الرواية عالم خيالي لكنه ليس بعيد عن الواقع أنها واقعية جدا بكل شخوصها المجنونة وعثراتهم وتقلباتهم ماركيز يلجأ أحيانا إلى لعبة الخيال لكي يقضي على شخصية انتهى دورها مثل تلك التي طارت بجسدها وروحها إلى السماء أو لعلاج فكرة ما , كوجود الأطباء الغير مرئيين الذين كانت تتراسل معهم أورسولا وفريناندا , كما تذكرت وأنا أقرأ المشهد الأخير وظهور ذنب الخنزير المرتبط بالخطيئة بتلك القصة الكارتونية ماجد لعبة خشبية الذي كان حين يلجأ إلى الكذب يستطيل أنفه يذكر أن ماركيز من الكتاب الذين تتقاطع فيه روايتهم وهذا شأن الكثير من الكتاب الكبار فهناك باموق وساباتو وجدت تشابها في أحداث شركة الموز مع أحداث عاصفة الأوراق أول رواية كتبها ماركيز كذلك هناك روايات أخرى للأسف لم أطلع عليها ولكن هناك دائما رابط ما وصفت إحدى الصديقات هذه الرواية بأنها العالم وبعد قراءة الرواية قلت أيضا هذه الرواية هي العالم أنها أدق تشبيه ممكن أن يقال عن أحداثها عالم متشابك متناقض بسيط ومعقد سعادة وألم موت وحياة قصة المذبحة ومن قبلها حرب التصفية كلها إشارات سياسية واضحة كما كانت تلك الإشارات تومض عندما سأل أوريليانو صديقه عن سبب خوضه للحرب !غرقت معهم في الطوفان وفي اكتشافات أورسولا وتوقفت عند هذه العبارة حين وجدت ما فقدته فرناندا اكتشفت أن كل فرد في العائلة يكرر كل يوم دون وعي منه التنقلات نفسها والتصرفات نفسها بل ويكررون تقريبا الكلمات نفسها في الموعد نفسه وعندما يخرجون عن هذا الروتين الدقيق فقط يتعرضون للمجازفة بفقدان شيء ما !وهذا حقيقي جدا إننا نكرر ما نفعله كل يوم وعندما نخرج من روتيننا المعتاد نضيع !أما عن تشبيهات ماركيز فالحقيقة أنه لم تمر علي تشبيهات بهذاالجمال والدقة وحسن التعبير ورقة الإحساس حين يقول كان نحيلا وقورا حزينا كمسلم في أوربا أو كان يمضي مع التيار بلا حب أو طموح كنجم تائه في مجموعة أورسولا الشمسية هل قرأتم تشبيهات بهذا العمق !وما يثير ضحكي جدا هو مجموعة الأطباء الغير المرئيين لقد أبحر ماركيز في خيالاته السحرية في هذه الرواية إلى كل الإتجاهات تركني ألاحق خيالاته ياه كم سأفتقد أجواء هذه الرواية سأفتقد جرعات الجنون المركزة داء الأرق الطوفان شجرة الكستناء الأطباء الغير المرئيين السمكات الذهبية حفلات العربدة والولائم الصاخبة حتى النمل والعث لم أتمنى أن تنتهي تلك الأسرة ولا تلك النهاية ودار في رأسي كل خيالات ماركيز في القرية وكل أرويليانووكل خوسي أركاديو لقد رحلوا جميعا ويجب أن أعود إلى الواقع أخيرا !

Marmor Owais

حينما بدأت بقراءة تلك الملحمة ظننت أن المشكلة التى ستواجهنى هي صعوبة الأسماء الأسبانية ، لكننى لم أدرك أن الصعوبة ليست فى الأسماء لذاتهاولكنها فى تكرارها .. ما هذه العبقرية ! سلالة بالكامل تمدد مائة عام تحملاسمين فقط هما خوسيه أركاديو وأوريليانو .. تلك الرواية لا تستطيع أن تصف أحداثها -على الأقل أتحدث عن نفسى- لكنك تستطيع أن تصف إحساسك بها.هي بالتأكيد عبقريةومذهلة ومبهرة وغريبة فى نفس الوقت .. غريبة بأساطيرها السحرية كداء الأرق وذنب الخنزير دليل على الخطيئة وتجول الأموات.. واختلاط أوريليانو الثاني بخوسيه أركاديو الثاني فعاش كل منهم باسم الأخر، وياللسخرية عند موتهما اختلط التابوتان ودفن كل منهم فى قبر الآخر .. ! لا أستغرب إصابة ماركيز بالخرف فى أواخر حياته فهو بالتأكيد كان يهذى عندما كتب هذه الرواية. كيف استطاع الإتيان بتلك الحبكة الدرامية والعبقريةفى التعبير والإحساس ..يرسم بالكلمات واقع تلك القرية "ماكوندو" التى أنشأها خوسيه أركاديو بوينديا حتى دمرتها الرياح منهية تاريخ تلك السلالة.. "أول السلالة مربوط إلى شجرة وأخرهم يأكله النمل" ما هذه الجملة العبقرية التى تلخص الرواية والتى كتبها ميليكادس فى رقاقه التى تركها .. وكأن الرواية كتبت نهايتها قبل البداية. كنت أود لو لم تنتهى تلك العزلة التى قضيتها بين صفحات تلك الرواية.

E7san

كل الروايات تحكي حقبًا متفرقة من الزمن ، لكنّ مئة عام من العزلة تحكي الزمن ذاته !استطاع ماركيز أن يخترع عالمًا ، أن يبني كوكبا جديدا اسمه " ماكوندو " يوزع عليه شخصيات إنسانية متشابهة الأسماء ، تختلف عنا تمامًا ، تشبهنا تماما !من أين أبدئ ؟ حسنًا دعني أخبرك عن خط الزمن الذي خطه ماركيز ، لقد خلق ذاكرة في الكتاب ينقلها من يد شخصية إلى يد أخرى دون أن يعي القارئ بذلك !لقد كان خوزيه أركاديو بونديه هو أول من حمل هذه الذاكرة حتى لكأنك تعتقد بأنه بطل هذه الرواية ، ثم انتقلت بخفة إلى يد زوجته أورسولا ، ولربما كانا أطهر من في العائلة وأشدها طيبة وبراءة وإنسانية .ثم انتقلت الذاكرة - وحينها كانت ذاكرة ممتلئة كقربة مسافر - إلى يد العقيد أورنيول بونديه الابن الأصغر لأورسولا وخوزيه والذي أعتقد بأنه أكثر شخصية حصلت على تركيزي في الكتاب !وهكذا تنتقل الذاكرة من يد إلى أخرى حتى تصل إلى نهاية الملحمة لتبدئ بالتلاشي تدريجيًا ثم الاختفاء لتردد في نفسك : هل كنت أحلم أم أتخيل فيلمًا لم يصور بعد ؟والرواية على فوضوية أحداثها وتداخل أسماء أبطالها وغزارة أحداثها إلاّ أنّ حرفًا فيها لم يكن عبثًا ! حتى تلك الحوادث التي قد تبدو لك صدفًا أدبية حشا بها ماركيز الرواية .. أؤكد لك أنها لم تكن كذلك !والرواية بؤرة إنسانية عميقة ، إذا دخلتها وجدت كل صفات وأفعال الإنسان الجميلة جدا فيها والقبيحة جدا كذلك !ما الذي لم تحمله هذه الرواية للإنسان ؟السياسة والاقتصاد والحرب والحب والكراهية والعائلة والموت والأمومة والثقافة والعلوم والحكمة والشجع ... كل شيء كل شيءإنها رواية تستحق أن تعيشها لا أن تقرأها فحسب :)أكثر ما أثارني في الرواية كانت قصة موت أمارنتا !أن يأتي الموت إليك على شكل امرأة عجوز ثم يطلب منك البدء بخياطة كفنك وتطريزه لأنه سيزورك للمرة الأخيرة عندما تنتهي من فعل ذلكيالها من رمزية عجيبة .. بحق الله !كذلك تأثرت جدا بقصة العقيد أورليانو وتقلب قلبه الحر والصراع المحتدم الدائم بين ملائكته وشيطانه .عشت الغربة التي عاشتها روبيكا ، آلامها وشيخوختها وأمراضها القديمة .أحببتُ الجد الأول لهذه العائلة المجنونة خوزيه أركاديو بونديه ، أحببت موته اللطيف تحت شجرة الكستناء .كرهت أورليانو الثاني ، أشفقت على خوزيه أركاديو الثاني ، تقززت من أمارنتا أورسولا ، شعرت بالجنة التي أحاطت بروميديوس الجميلة :")إنه لمن المذهل كيف استطاع ماركيز اختصار مئة عام من العزلة في رواية واحدة ، عندما أفكر بهذا الآن أشعر بعبقريته وقدرته غير المحدودة .بقي أن أبدي تحفظي الشديد تجاه أخلاقيات الرواية ، فلم أقرأ في حياتي نصًا احتوى هذه الكمية من الدعارة والبؤس والقبح والقذارة .لكن قيمة الرواية الإنسانية إضافة إلى الأصل الجنوب أمريكي للكاتب - حيث الانحطاط الأخلاقي واقعا معاش - سمحت لي بتجاوز هذا الانحطاط ، ولأول مرة في حياتي أفعل ذلك ، أنا التي أمتلك حساسية أخلاقية شديدة للأعمال الأدبية .ومع ذلك فقد سرقت نجمة واحدة من نجمات التقييم بسبب هذه الأخلاقيات :)

Philip

I imagine these people looking and saying, "Yes, but what does it mean?" As literary critics everywhere cringe or roll over in their clichéd graves I approach this text and review the same way. One Hundred Years of Solitude... beautiful, intriguing... but what does it mean? And does it have to mean anything?Oscar Wilde: "All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril." And what about those who skip across the surface, like a stone? Able only to make so many hops before sinking, blinded by the mud, disoriented by the current to the bottom? What are we?This was (is) a beautiful book. Like Guernica. Like Dali.It's religious, and political, and sexual. ... and confusing. And as long as I haven't over-used it already - beautiful.It's the literary Big Fish and I'm sure people will and have debated what it means, and authorial intent and it won the Nobel Prize for crying out loud, but maybe it's to display on a prominent house wall and be debated.It's easy to get a handle on the broad and general themes - history is cyclical - not progressive, progress is a myth (and "progress" is evil), go after love, be careful not to let memories or nostalgia bow you down, seek knowledge, the world is mysterious and doesn't always make sense, don't be intimidated of anybody - especially of your past self or selves.Beyond that it's just conjecture.The story begins with Jose Arcadio Buendia -the patriarch - and the founding of Macondo. It follows the lineage of his descendants - many living mythically long lives and bringing in enchanted aspects. The dead live, return from the future, invent and disappear - but not in a machine of the gods way - it's more dream-like.The lineage frustrated me. In order to illustrate his point on the circular view of history, there were 4 Joses, 22 Aurelianos, 5 Arcadios, a couple Ursulas and Remedioses to boot. And Pilar Ternera found herself grandmother or great grandmother to far too many kids. Even with the family tree in the front of the book, it was difficult to tell which Arcadio or Jose or Aureliano was which - especially given the fact that so many of the characters lived past 100. (Or even past 145.)The book was intriguing. I loved the tidbits that came back into play throughout the book - the ash on the heads of the Aurelianos, Melquiades stopping by for a chat - that's what made it for me.Like I said, I don't think this was a book to "get." But if you do "get it," don't cliff note it to me. I like it the way it is in my mind.

Alice

** spoiler alert ** "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is widely renowned as a masterpiece / a classic, is one of the most oft-listed favorite books on Facebook, and has been called the "first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race."So it may be utter sacrilege for me to say this, but, oh well: I haven't read the Book of Genesis, but if it's anything like "One Hundred Years of Solitude" it's going to be long and boring. Marquez's style in this book has been described as "hypnotic." Well, true. I fell asleep pretty much every time I opened this book. I finally managed to finish last night, out of a sense of obligation more than any particular enjoyment.On some level, I sort of appreciate what he was trying to do here, constructing a town, characters, and a whole fabric outside time and reality, hitting up a litany of Important Themes along the way. The vicious shortcomings of capitalism. The pointlessness of warfare. The inevitability of fate. The cyclical/repetitious/fluid nature of time. With the goal of exploring such themes, and delivering his insights in that rambling narrative style, Marquez couldn't really have done it any other way, I suppose. But on the other hand, a reader has to stay interested, and that, for me, was the biggest problem. There goes Ursula or Fernanda or Amaranta trying to save the house from the ravages of the red ants again. There goes Jose Arcadio or Aureliano or who-cares pining after his relative and having wild intercourse again. There goes Melquiades appearing randomly to Jose Arcadio or Aureliano or who-cares as he goes through the manuscripts again. Yawn. I had the same problem - to a much lesser extent - with "Love in the Time of Cholera": in the end, or, really, by the middle of the book, I just didn't care about anybody or anything in the book. Oh, also, a minor gripe about Marquez's 'hook' first sentence - it's used again later, with names substituted, in "Chronicle of a Death Foretold."I will admit that I did crack a smile when the last Buendia was, as Ursula feared, born with a pig tail, so for that one moment of interest alone, I anoint this book with 2 stars, and not 1. Yipes, I feel as if I've just committed one of the newly minted 14 mortal sins by writing this review.

Martine

I must have missed something. Either that, or some wicked hypnotist has tricked the world (and quite a few of my friends, it would seem) into believing that One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great novel. How did this happen? One Hundred Years of Solitude is not a great novel. In fact, I'm not even sure it qualifies as a novel at all. Rather it reads like a 450-page outline for a novel which accidentally got published instead of the finished product. Oops.Don't get me wrong. I'm not disputing that Marquez has an imaginative mind. He does, unquestionably. Nor am I disputing that he knows how to come up with an interesting story. He obviously does, or this wouldn't be the hugely popular book it is. As far as I'm concerned, though, he forgot to put the finishing touches to his story. In his rush to get the bare bones on paper, he forgot to add the things which bring a story alive. Such as, you know, dialogue. Emotions. Motivations. Character arcs. Pretty basic things, really. By focusing on the external side of things, and by never allowing his characters to speak for themselves (the dialogue in the book amounts to about five pages, if that), Marquez keeps his reader from getting to know his characters, and from understanding why they do the things they do. The lack of characterisation is such that the story basically reads like an unchronological chronicle of deeds and events that go on for ever without any attempt at an explanation or psychological depth. And yes, they're interesting events, I'll grant you that, but they're told with such emotional detachment that I honestly didn't care for any of the characters who experienced them. I kept waiting for Marquez to focus on one character long enough to make me care about what happened to him or her, but he never did, choosing instead to introduce new characters (more Aurelianos... sigh) and move on. I wish to all the gods of fiction he had left out some twenty Aurelianos and focused on the remaining four instead. With three-dimensional characters rather than two-dimensional ones, this could have been a fabulous book. As it is, it's just a shell.What a waste of a perfectly good story.

Eleanor

A book that covers the passage of time as if it were a wheel that would spin on into infinity were it not for the wear of the axle, One Hundred Years of Solitude is the story of the rise and fall of the Buendia family and their village Macondo. It tells the tender truths and lies of a family from the life of each member by blood and marriage, the passage of time told by the relationships of members who scarcely realize the depth to which their daily actions resonate back to generations before. Habits and quirks are passed on between family, noted only by the eldest family members, their every action and observation poetic. The fantastic elements never once distract from characters as flawed and real human beings, a boy followed by yellow butterflies, a girl so beautiful she transcends to heaven, the cryptic documents left by a gypsy older than the town itself who appears as a ghost to the Buendia family. Marquez depicts the realities of a family that is constantly reborn in the form of a solitary air, clairvoyant eyes, the craft of small toy animals, or a passion for making things to unmake them in such a way that is flowing, cyclical, and yet always unique. Admittedly there are boring generations/family members and that can make chunks of the book a little static but the ending is perfect. For minutes afterwards I felt like I died with the family.

brian

i remember the day i stopped watching cartoons: an episode of thundercats in which a few of the cats were trapped in some kind of superbubble thing and it hit me that, being cartoons, the characters could just be erased and re-drawn outside the bubble. or could just fly away. or tunnel their way out. or teleport. or do whatever, really, they wanted... afterall they were line and color in a world of line and color. now this applies to any work of fiction -- i mean, Cervantes could've just written Don Quixote out of any perilous situation, but it just felt different with a lowest-common-denominator cartoon. it felt that adherence to reality (reality as defined within the world of the cartoon) wasn’t a top priority. this ended my cartoon watching days and i’ve pored over it in the years that followed: was it a severe lack or an overabundence of imagination that made it so that while all my friends were digging saturday morning cartoons i alternated between tormenting my parents and attempting to use logic to disprove the fact that everyone i knew and everyone i ever would know was gonna die?i had a similar experience with One Hundred Years of Solitude. the first chapter is just brilliant: gypsies bring items to Macondo, a village hidden away from mass civilization by miles of swamp and mountains… these everyday items (magnets, ice, etc.) are interpreted as ‘magic’ by people who have never seen them and it forces the reader to reconfigure his/her perception of much of what s/he formerly found ordinary. amazing. and then the gypsies bring a magic carpet. a real one. one that works. and there is no distinction b/t magnets and the magic carpet. this, i guess, is magical realism. and i had a Thundercats moment. lemme explain:the magic carpet immediately renders all that preceded it as irrelevant. are ice and magnets the same as magic carpets? what is the relation between magic and science? how can i trust and believe in a character who takes such pains to understand ice and magnets and who, using the most primitive scientific means, works day and night to discover that the earth is round -- but then will just accept that carpets can fly? or that people can instantaneously increase their body weight sevenfold by pure will? or that human blood can twist and turn through streets to find a specific person? fuck the characters, how can i trust the writer if the world is totally undefined? if people can refuse to die (and it’s not explained who or how or why): where are the stakes? if someone can make themselves weigh 1000 pounds, what can’t they do? how can i care about any situation if Garcia Marquez can simply make the persons involved sprout wings and fly away? should the book be read as fairy-tale? as myth? as allegory? no. i don’t think it’s meant to be read solely as any of those. and i’d label anyone a fraud who tried to explain away a 500 page book as mere allegory. moreover, i don’t believe Garcia Marquez has as fertile an imagination as Borges or Cervantes or Mutis –- three chaps who, perhaps, could pull something like this off on storytelling power alone; but three chaps who, though they may dabble in this stuff, clearly define the world their characters inhabit. so i’m at page 200. and i’m gonna try and push on. but it’s tough. do i care when someone dies when death isn’t permanent? and do i care about characters who have seen death reversed but don’t freak the fuck out (which is inconsistent with what does make them freak the fuck out) and who also continue to cry when someone dies? yes, there are some gems along the way, but i think had Solitude been structured as a large collection of interconnected short stories (kinda like a magical realism Winesberg, Ohio) it would've worked much better. this is one of the most beloved books of all time and i’m not so arrogant (damn close) to discount the word of all these people (although I do have gothboy, DFJ, and Borges on my side -- a strong argument for or against anything), and not so blind to see the joy this brings to so many people… i fully understand it's a powerful piece of work. but i really don’t get it. and i aggressively recommend The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll to any and all who find Solitude to be the end all and be all.

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