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Gabriel García Márquez: Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years Of Solitude)

Not only is this book García Márquez’ masterpiece, there is a very good case for declaring it the masterpiece of twentieth century literature. It is a book that everyone should read – it is available in numerous languages – both as a literary wonder but also to show, for those that do not know, that the boundary between reality and fantasy is thin at best. It is impossible to summarize the plot of this novel. Firstly, there is no plot and, secondly, like many great novels, what makes this novel is not the plot. It starts with the hero, if he can be called that, Aureliano Buendía, before the firing squad, though a lot happens before we get back to the firing squad.

The novel is the story of Macondo, a Colombian village, founded by José Arcadio Buendía and inhabited by his family up to the present. What García Márquez has done is to create an entire world out of this Colombian village and a world where the normal rules (including the laws of physics) don’t apply. Not only has he created this richly colorful magical world he has also imbued it with both humor and compassion, for García Márquez feels for his characters. Sex, civil war, religion, death, madness – all find their place in García Márquez’ world and all are treated through his magic realism eyes and given a new twist. Read the book.

Publishing history

First published in Spanish 1967 by Editorial Sudamericana
First published in English 1970 by Harper & Row
Translated by Gregory Rabassa