“Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.”
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
I will definitely judge people who say ‘the book is not for me’. You’ve been warned 😂.
Reading ‘100 Years of Solitude’ is like riding rides in a theme park from another planet – it’s a kaleidoscope – it’s a bowl of summer fruit – sour, sweet, colourful and come in the most absurd shapes.
The story starts with a couple, José Arcadia Buendía and Úrsula Iguarán who left their village because they were haunted by a ghost. They set off for a journey that took them almost two years to find a place to settle. That place is called Macondo. They have three children, Aureliano Buendia, José Arcadio and Amaranta and later, adopted a girl called Rebeca. Then these children grew up, got married, have children and the cycle continues.
BUT if you think that this is a typical family saga with war, love and death in it, you’re wrong. Well, not entirely wrong, those things are in the book. But it’s also about a world where common sense just doesn’t exist. It’s lunacy in its most beautiful form. It’s hilarious in its insanity. But you can always find wisdoms Marquez wrapped in a such absurd storyline and even more absurd characters. The Buendia family is unique – at some point I even thought that they were the Latin American version of the Addams family 😂, a girl who has obsession with eating soil, a man who spent his life making gold fishes, lovers who always followed by yellow butterflies, a murder in the family, a bastard that kept locked in the house, a man who went insane and tied on a chestnut tree, a massacre of three thousand people. Marquez’s magic kept me captivated until the very last page. Have you read this book?
Gabriel García Márquez is known for the magical realism movement which became the characteristic of Latin American literature between the 60s and 70s. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is said to be one of the literature that ‘Latin American culture created to understand itself.’
This makes me wonder how much ‘supernatural’ things are part of Latin American culture. I noticed that elements of magical realism can be found in some Asian literatures such as in ‘Man Tiger’ by Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan and in the works of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Probably because mysticism and animism were really strong in Asian culture. Until this day, it’s not unusual to hear stories of black magic and witch doctor practiced by modern people. I guess my next homework is to find out if this is also a culture that Latin American has.
This edition of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is published by Penguin Classic, 2000.