One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

You have to read this. Everyone has to. It has all feels, from funny to devastating, and every word is practically breathing with life. Pick it up if you haven't read it, and pick it up if you have, it's an immortal classic.

"One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. . . . Mr. Garcia Marquez has done nothing less than to create in the reader a sense of all that is profound, meaningful, and meaningless in life." —William Kennedy, New York Times Book Review 

One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060883287
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 02/21/2006
Series: Oprah's Book Club Series
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 3,065
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 1410L (what's this?)

About the Author

About The Author
Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1927 in the town of Aracataca, Columbia.Latin America's preeminent man of letters, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. García Márquez began his writing career as a journalist and is the author of numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels The Autumn of the Patriarch and Love in the Time of Cholera, and the autobiography Living to Tell the Tale. There has been resounding acclaim for his life's work since he passed away in April 2014.

Hometown:

Mexico City, Mexico

Date of Birth:

March 6, 1928

Place of Birth:

Aracataca, Colombia

Education:

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1947-48, and Universidad de Cartagena, 1948-49

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point. Every year during the month of March a family of ragged gypsies would set up their tents near the village, and with a great uproar of pipes and kettledrums they would display new inventions. First they brought the magnet. A heavy gypsy with an untamed beard and sparrow hands, who introduced himself as Melquiades, put on a bold public demonstration of what he himself called the eighth wonder of the learned alchemists of Macedonia. He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades' magical irons. "Things have a life of their own," the gypsy proclaimed with a harsh accent. "It's simply a matter of waking up their souls." Jose' Arcadio Buendia, whose unbridled imagination always went beyond the genius of nature and even beyond miracles and magic, thought that it would be possible to make use of that useless invention to extract gold from the bowels of the earth.Melquiades, who was an honest man, warned him: "It won't work for that." But Jose Arcadio Buendia at that time did not believe in the honesty of gypsies, so he traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots. Ursula Iguaran, his wife, who relied on those animals to increase their poor domestic holdings, was unable to dissuade him. "Very soon we'll have gold enough and more to pave the floors of the house," her husband replied. For several months he worked hard to demonstrate the truth of his idea. He explored every inch of the region, even the riverbed, dragging the two iron ingots along and reciting Melquiades' incantation aloud. The only thing he succeeded in doing was to unearth a suit of fifteenth-century armor which had all of its pieces soldered together with rust and inside of which there was the hollow resonance of an enormous stone-filled gourd. When Jose Arcadio Buendia and the four men of his expedition managed to take the armor apart, they found inside a calcified skeleton with a copper locket containing a woman's hair around its neck.

In March the gypsies returned. This time they brought a telescope and a magnifying glass the size of a drum, which they exhibited as the latest discovery of the Jews of Amsterdam. They placed a gypsy woman at one end of the village and set up the telescope at the entrance to the tent. For the price of five reales, people could look into the telescope and see the gypsy woman an arm's length away. "Science has eliminated distance," Melquiades proclaimed. "In a short time, man will be able to see what is happening in any place in the world without leaving his own house." A burning noonday sun brought out a startling demonstration with the gigantic magnifying glass: they put a pile of dry hay in the middle of the street and set it on fire by concentrating the sun's rays. Jose Arcadio Buendia, who had still not been consoled for the failure of his magnets, conceived the idea of using that invention as a weapon of war. Again Melquiades tried to dissuade him, but he finally accepted the two magnetized ingots and three colonial coins in exchange for the magnifying glass. Ursula wept in consternation. That money was from a chest of gold coins that her father had put together over an entire life of privation and that she had buried underneath her bed in hopes of a proper occasion to make use of it. Jose Arcadic, Buendia made no attempt to console her, completely absorbed in his tactical experiments with the abnegation of a scientist and even at the risk of his own life. In an attempt to show the effects of the glass on enemy troops, he exposed himself to the concentration of the sun's rays and suffered burns which turned into sores that took a long time to heal. Over the protests of his wife, who was alarmed at such a dangerous invention, at one point he was ready to set the house on fire. He would spend hours on end in his room, calculating the strategic possibilities of his novel weapon until he succeeded in putting together a manual of startling instructional clarity and an irresistible power of conviction. He sent it to the government, accompanied by numerous descriptions of his experiments and several pages of explanatory sketches, by a messenger who crossed the mountains, got lost in measureless swamps, forded stormy rivers, and was on the point of perishing under the lash of despair, plague, and wild beasts until he found a route that joined the one used by the mules that carried the mail. In spite of the fact that a trip to the capital was little less than impossible at that time, Jose Arcadio Buendia promised to undertake it as soon as the government ordered him to so that he could put on some practical demonstrations of his invention for the military authorities and could train them himself in the complicated art of solar war. For several years he waited for an answer. Finally, tired of waiting, he bemoaned to Melquiades the failure of his project and the gypsy then gave him a convincing proof of...

One Hundred Years of Solitude. Copyright © by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

TOC not available

What People are Saying About This

William Kennedy

“The first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.”

Naomi Lindstrom

Magical realism may never have been so unmistakably exemplified as in One Hundred Years.

Reading Group Guide

Introduction

The mythic village of Macondo lies in northern Colombia, somewhere in the great swamps between the mountains and the coast. Founded by Jose Arcadio Buendia, his wife Ursula, and nineteen other families, "It was a truly happy village where no one was over thirty years of age and where no one had died." At least initially. One Hundred Years of Solitude chronicles, through the course of a century, life in Macondo and the lives of six Buendia generations -- from Jose Arcadio and Ursula, through their son, Colonel Aureliano Buendia (who commands numerous revolutions and fathers eighteen additional Aurelianos), through three additional Jose Arcadios, through Remedios the Beauty and Renata Remedios, to the final Aureliano, child of an incestuous union. As babies are born and the world's "great inventions" are introduced into Macondo, the village grows and becomes more and more subject to the workings of the outside world, to its politics and progress, and to history itself. And the Buendias and their fellow Macondons advance in years, experience, and wealth ... until madness, corruption, and death enter their homes. From the gypsies who visit Macondo during its earliest years to the gringos who build the banana plantation, from the "enormous Spanish galleon" discovered far from the sea to the arrival of the railroad, electricity, and the telephone, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's classic novel weaves a magical tapestry of the everyday and the fantastic, the humdrum and the miraculous, life and death, tragedy and comedy -- a tapestry in which the noble, the ridiculous, the beautiful, and the tawdry all contribute to an astounding vision of human life and death, afull measure of humankind's inescapable potential and reality.

Discussion Topics

  1. What kinds of solitude occur in the novel (for example, solitude of pride, grief, power, love, or death), and with whom are they associated? What circumstances produce them? What similarities and differences are there among the various kinds of solitude?

  2. What are the purposes and effects of the story's fantastic and magical elements? How does the fantastic operate in the characters' everyday lives and personalities? How is the magical interwoven with elements drawn from history, myth, and politics?

  3. Why does Garcia Marquez make repeated use of the "Many years later" formula? In what ways does this establish a continuity among past, present, and future? What expectations does it provoke? How do linear time and cyclical time function in the novel?

  4. To what extent is Macondo's founding, long isolation, and increasing links with the outside world an exodus from guilt and corruption to new life and innocence and, then, a reverse journey from innocence to decadence?

  5. What varieties of love occur in the novel? Does any kind of love transcend or transform the ravages of everyday life, politics and warfare, history, and time itself?

  6. What is the progression of visitors and newcomers to Macondo, beginning with the gypsies? How does each new individual and group affect the Buendias, the town, and the story?

  7. What is the importance of the various inventions, gadgets, and technological wonders introduced into Macondo over the years? Is the sequence in which they are introduced significant?

  8. What is Melquiades's role and that of his innovations, explorations, and parchments? What is the significance of the "fact" that Melquiades "really had been through death, but he had returned because he could not bear the solitude"? Who else returns, and why?

  9. When and how do politics enter the life of Macondo? With what short-term and long-term consequences? Do the social-political aspects of life in Macondo over the years parallel actual events and trends?

  10. What types of women (from Ursula and Pilar to Meme and Amaranta Ursula) and what types of men (from Jose Arcadio to Aureliano Babilonia) are distinguishable? What characteristics do the men share? What characteristics do the women share?

  11. What dreams, prophecies, and premonitions occur in the novel? With which specific characters and events are they associated, and what is their purpose?

  12. When, how, and in what guises does death enter Macondo? With what consequences?

  13. On the first page we are told that "The world was so recent that many things lacked names." What is the importance of names and of naming (of people, things, and events) in the novel?

  14. How do geography and topography -- mountains, swamps, river, sea, etc. -- affect Macondo's history, its citizens' lives, and the novel's progression?

  15. What aspects of the Buendia family dynamics are specific to Macondo? Which are reflective of family life everywhere and at any time? How do they relate to your experience and understanding of family life?

  16. How does Garcia Marquez handle the issue and incidence of incest and its association with violence beginning with Jose Arcadio and Ursula's marriage and the shooting of Prudencio Aguilar? Is the sixth-generation incest of Aureliano Babilonia and Amaranta Ursula inevitable?

About the Author

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca, Columbia, in 1928; he has lived mostly in Mexico and Europe. He attended the University of Bogota and later worked as a reporter and film critic for the Columbian newspaper El Espectador. His many books include The Autumn of the Patriarch, In Evil Hour, Collected Stories, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The General in His Labyrinth. Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.

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