Catching up on The Classics is a monthly book club with aims to catch up on the remarkable novels that have made considerable dents within literature. This month’s classic is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
“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.”One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and soon to be released Netflix series, One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the century long story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founded the fictional, Columbian town of Macondo. Said to be a pioneer in the genre of magical realism, this novel covers the love, family, wars, and surrealist happenings in a town that was initially built to cater for functional stability and equality.
This novel is an all-consuming read with a lot of information to learn, understand, and analyse. Packed into one book is not only an abundance of multi-generational family events such as marriages, births, and deaths but also the story of a new, isolated town that refuses to settle. Whilst the beginnings of the town saw each home purposely built with living in harmony in mind and an equal amount of land, sun and shade, the curiosity of the Buendía’s and outside influences shifted the town into decades of political uncertainty and, coincidentally, solitude.
If you’re anything like me, you would’ve been grateful for the family-tree to refer back to at the beginning of the book as the repeated names passed through the family are a cause for confusion. Plus, a notebook to scribble down notes and, to be honest, google at hand to confirm any questions or queries. And so, I will say, I did find this book challenging as I think I’ve made it fairly clear that the narrative is rather dense and detailed.
That’s not to state I didn’t enjoy the challenge though. Gabriel García Márquez’s writing weaved through the narrative of Macondo and the Buendía’s, with playful magical realism, humour and an honest account of fate that I deeply appreciated. Despite the confusion of protagonists and also the number of them, their personalities all had depth and variation to them that lead the story through the generations seamlessly.
Márquez has composed an intelligent novel presenting the outcome of pure human nature, quite plainly from the ground up, and the ensuing political and social turmoil that occurs consequently. If you’re willing to spend some time on this novel before the Netflix series comes out (still waiting eagerly on that release date!) then I absolutely do recommend it.
Find you’re own copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude here.
Next month, I’m excited to finally read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the first time. Read it with me and buy it here.