Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In the Summer of 2015 I first picked up the book described as ‘the greatest novel in any language of the last fifty years’ (Salman Rushdie). At the time I was unable to appreciate the full genius of the novel as I was often distracted with other things. However two years later I am reading it again and can honestly say it is spellbinding.

The novel centres around the Buendia family through the history of the rise and fall of the mythological town of Macondo.  Although I haven’t yet finished the book, I am mesmerised by Marquez’s ability to chronicle the tragicomical nature of life and death through the written word. In addition from what I can tell so far from reading OHYOS, the book is dominated by themes of human nature, political impacts, historical repetitions, life, death, peace and truth. The character of Colonel Aureliano Buendia stands out particularly to me as it is through him, I believe, that the reader is able to fully understand the theme of solitude which is referenced in the title itself. He is the first human born in Macondo and is described as ‘silent and withdrawn’. Furthermore it can’t be denied that each character Marquez has brought to life on paper becomes deeply rooted in the heart of the reader as the story goes on.

Finally in my opinion the first line of a novel often gives a reader insight into the quality of the narrative. In this instance the very first line is one of the greatest ever written. It begins with ‘ 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.’ I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for something insightful and possibly life changing to read. I will post more reviews as I continue reading the book.

One hundred years of solitude