Book Review: Roaming through One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude

A hundred plots linked together and rolled into one seamless narrative of life, Márquez guarantees innumerable chills and thrills. To read Márquez in all his glory one needs to give in to the story he weaves and you will find yourself sometimes strongly opposing the views to, almost a point of revulsion. In One Hundred Years of Solitude too there is not just one overweaning story but an intense network of multiple stories, all inter-linked and determining the possible outcome for the characters. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and you cannot help but feel one with the characters, you feel enraged at the planned and instigated murder of Meme’s innocent lover by her mother and the treatment of her little child.Each birth, death and love affair stands poignant and symbolic to the story. Marquez manages to view the tragedy and beauty of human existence through the economic forces of modernity, dream of progress and materialism.

One Hundred Years of Solitude at the most basic level, is a story of one little sleepy village and its one oldest family of Buendías. Of the journey of this innocent, sleepy village waking up to harsh economic social realities, shaking off its innocence and riding into the world, forging relationships, being conquered by capitalism and modernity and taking a long journey of change. It witness all, the murders and wars and mad celebrations of frenzy. It is also a story of a half frenzied patriarch passing on his frezy to his descendants and a matriarch who as long as she lives, strives to string the family altogether and make it survive and of the final destruction of this village fallen into despair after innocence and this family gone haywire and turned inward with incest and it is the story of necessary death of both. The village ends with the Buendías who set it up,bringing the story full circle.

However, for me, it is a microcosm of the human life that Gabriel García Márquez captures in the novel, with the village being an image of the world from the point of establishment- through the loss of its initial innocence to the forces of modernity and rapid economic and social changes, with crumbling and rearranging structures, towards it fated, preordained end. Weaving together the concept of time, memory, love,fate and free will, every time it makes me question my boundaries of right and wrong, ethical and unethical and every time begrudgingly I end up realising no matter how revolting the images are of a cold Amaranta who ends up killing her sister for the lover whom she refused to love eventually , it is how human emotions work. They are confused and evil and sometimes can be truly revolting but that is what makes Marquez’s characters so compellingly human and difficult to judge.

One hundred years of Solitude touches upon the cynicism of human existence and reveals humans as they are, insecure, pretentious, loving, confused, kind and cruel to themselves and others and completely frenzied but most importantly it has a thousand different interpretation and holds thousands of different lessons for all who shall come to the beautifully apocalyptic world of Márquez. From history to magic to myth to philosophy and dire, dry reality, there’s a lot to be discovered.


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