What is the Best One Hundred Years of Solitude?
Review of the One Hundred Years of Solitude:
Why We Like This?::
Why We Like This?::
Why We Like This?::
Why We Like This?::
Why We Like This?::
One Hundred Years of Solitude
– Holy SHIT! This was my first time reading it. It was always on my “to read” list, but I just never got around to it. It was incredible. I am also Latino, so I think that I probably appreciated it a little extra there. I’d love to discuss some thoughts… ***this has spoilers through the entire post***.
I really enjoyed the creation of Macondo. I thought it was a lot like Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, but a lot more of an Eden vibe (at least, in some parts, when it was still nice). I enjoyed the Adam and Eve sort of implications that the original Buendías (the first José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula) had once they found/created Macondo.
At first, I definitely complained about the repetition of names. It seems now that I’m looking online, that’s a general complaint that people struggle with. When I was reading it, I assumed that was to go along with the cyclical nature of time theme, repeating history, but I also know how much that is a real thing in Latino culture (my dad and aunt both have names of other family members) so I appreciated that, even though it was a bit confusing. I eventually stopped paying attention, or trying so hard to understand who was who. I read it with the family tree open, and I think that ended up confusing me more in some parts. I think many characters were more caricatures of history within Latin America based on their own time period of the book… for example, were Colonel Aureliano Buendía and his brother supposed to be Castro and Che?
I really liked the potential of the twins being switched at birth, and then being buried wrong as well. I liked that there were José Arcadios and Aurelianos, and that each generation they still seemed to be the same personality wise, or carry on features that the generation before had. Every character had such a significant death. It would either be related to their character or plot, where we were in the story, some were ironic. I particularly “enjoyed” Mauricio Babilonia’s shooting. Him and Meme were a good couple and that one was a sad ending. I also liked how the twins died.
The magical realism was beautiful, and I was reminded a lot of *Beloved* by Morrison. I remember when I read that back in school, my prof actually pecifically brought up Márquez and this book, how much he influenced magical realism and how important he was to that literary style. The butterflies were always beautiful. I enjoyed the death (was it a death?) of Remedios the Beauty – it seemed like a bit of a criticism or ironic scene for religion? She’s a beautiful virgin and has the white sheet. One thing I didn’t understand though was how she seemed to be autistic? Why didn’t she speak? Was she killing men with her beauty on purpose?
The ending was one of the worst things I have ever read LOL. Again, bringing up *Beloved*… I bawled when she gives birth after escaping. It was such an important scene, so heartbreaking but nice as well, especially the way that chapter ends. I couldn’t help but think of that when the final baby is born in the Buendía family. It was an awful death for both mother and baby… and poor Aureliano left alone again. I cried through the entire final chapter!
Now, for the incest… I read a lot of posts about how people didn’t like this theme, saw some people say the book could have been fine without it, a ton of different opinions! Personally, while it was not nice to read or even sit there looking at the family tree, I think that he wrote it beautifully. It was so heartbreaking to know that it was so related to their solitude and loneliness. I also assume intergenerational trauma comes into play here as well. I got the vibe that they were all so traumatized that nobody else could ever understand what they have all been through, and that was maybe another reason why they kept it going the way they did, perhaps why they couldn’t connect to anyone other than their own family members. I thought maybe they thought they were superior as people as well, which was why they wanted to? And from there, that would tie into the theme of them not learning from their past or any of their previous mistakes. I also thought it was especially heartbreaking at the end, the way he said that this final baby was one of the only ones created out of love, and it met such a tragic outcome. Again, this gave me some Faulkner vibes… a tragic family who can’t move on, broken but close relationships with one another. And the thing is, Márquez is such a beautiful writer, that it’s still possible to read… it’s not the nicest lol, but he still manages to keep it going. I thought it was clever to give the final baby the pig tail too, from Úrsula’s original fears all those years ago and ending it that way.
I am so glad to have read fictionalized versions of historical events. My own family has spoken out about trauma they have gone through in their own country, and there is a lot of traumatic history throughout Latin America. I really enjoyed the way José Arcadio Segundo’s survived but fell into depression, and the way he made sure to pass the history along, even his final words being never forget… things like that are majorly important and historical to Latin America. Many people don’t want to talk about it, governments hiding it like the Banana Massacre, but the truth still has to come out. Again this reminds me of Southern lit (I’m sorry I can’t shut up about Morrison or Faulkner lol) and how much history and the past still carries on to the present, modernity vs the past. I also very much enjoyed the examination of Colonel Aureliano Buendía post-war and seeing that he was doing it out of pride, the depression that followed, and way later, Úrsula talking about how her son has changed from war. Unfortunately, I know that is very common. I know my family still talks about what they lived through.
I think that memory and the past was a beautiful and tragic theme, especially the way it ended. I was SO SHOOK. Like, what a twist! I was not expecting that at all, with Melquíades and his manuscript the whole time. I think that the way the book ended was absolutely beautiful, unfolding the way it did, and that final line just absolutely slapped. I didn’t quite enjoy the beginning as much as I did the end – a lot of people say they love the first line, but I don’t think I totally understand still. I know that he went to see ice with his father, but why say it’s a memory as he faces an execution squad when he never did? I honestly thought I missed something when he died lol. Regardless, back to the ending, my mouth genuinely dropped open when he started reading the manuscript lmao. It just wrapped the entire story together so well, seeing that they were destined, doomed, for all of this tragedy that we just read through, no matter what generation they were…
I am definitely going to re-read this. I like re-reading and this was an incredible book, and it definitely seems like one that you can read again and learn more, or pick up on stuff you missed the first time. That was one thing I experienced reading this book a few times – did that really just happen? Am I understanding this properly? I remember when Rebeca died I was shocked just because the story hadn’t mentioned her in a while, I didn’t even know she was still alive in the first place lol. Or something particularly wild would happen and I’d go look up whatever chapter I was on to make sure I was still on the right track. It was the same with Colonel Aureliano Buendía, because of the first line of the book but then he died so differently. I genuinely wondered if i had mixed up my Aurelianos, you know? So I hope those things will be easier when I read again.
I think that it was a beautiful book, especially for Latin American culture. I would love to do a full essay comparing it to *Beloved* and/or *As I Lay Dying*, *The Sound the Fury*, or *Absalom, Absalom!* Between the location, magical realism, family trauma, etc… I think that they were also similar in the sense that it was a bit of historical fiction but making it extra extra lol.
Anyways, I’m sorry that I kind of went off on this post lmao, I hope anybody leaves their opinion and I’d love to discuss this book some more, as well as some of my questions! I am also interested in reading his other works as well.
Last update on 2024-02-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API