Author: Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa
Title: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) Genre: Literary Fiction (Latin American)
Publication Date: 1967 (Spanish), 1970 (English)
Number of Pages: 458
Geographical Setting: Macondo, a fictional town in Colombia
Time Period: Mid-nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century
Plot Summary: One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the Buendía family through seven generations. José Arcadio Buendía founds the town of Macondo, and in the beginning everything is wondrous and pristine. Gypsies come to the town and bring with them the latest miracles of science, including magnets, astrolabes, magnifying glasses, and even ice, which José Arcadio Buendía claims is “the great invention of our time.” This innocence does not last, however, and each subsequent generation suffers the ravages of time and the town falls further and further into decay. In the end, the last remaining descendent dies as a windstorm wipes out the crumbling and rotten city of Macondo.
García Márquez weaves factual accounts into his narrative, including the Thousand Days’ War (1899-1902) and the banana massacre of 1928. In all, One Hundred Years of Solitude is an allegory of the circularity of history, particularly Colombian history.
Subject Headings: Macondo (Imaginary place) – Fiction; Latin America – Social conditions – Fiction
Appeal: Engrossing, leisurely-paced, unhurried, eccentric characters, vivid, character-centered, complex, somewhat episodic, layered, mystical, mythic, resolved ending, magical realism, detailed setting, some historical details.
Haley, Alex. Roots. (Story about one family’s struggles and experiences)
Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. (Magical realist story weaving historical Indian culture with fantastic events)
Cortázar, Julio. Hopscotch. (Gregory Rabassa, translator of One Hundred Years of Solitude, won the first National Book Award to recognize the work of a translator for his English-language edition of Hopscotch)
Name: David Greenfield
Rabassa, Gregory. If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents. (Rabassa’s memoir, it is a look at the life and vocation of a translator)
De La Pedraja Tomán, René. Wars of Latin America, 1899-1941. (A concise survey of Latin American wars, including the Thousand Days’ War, in which Colonel Aureliano Buendía fought)
Safford, Frank and Marco Palacios. Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society. (A look at Colombia’s history and culture from pre-colonial times to the present)