I’ve heard so much about this book from various people that I was surprised to see that it was first published in 1967. The title, 100 Years of Solitude, was a bit misleading at first. I expected to be reading about a South American utopia but in reality this book chronicles the lives of several generations of the tough life of the Buendia family. Jose Arcadio Buendia is the patriarch of this book and he and his wife Ursula move out of their established village to found the city of Macondo.
Upon researching this book, it was discovered that 100 Years of Solitude depicts early life by Spanish settlers in Columbia. This was unclear at first and I wasn’t sure if it took place in Europe or South American. Jose Arcadio Buendia befriends a gypsy man named Melquiades whose predictions for Jose’s lineage include the first of the generation being tied to a chestnut tree and the last of the generation being carried away by ants. The book is anything but about solitude. It traverses through the tumultuous times of civil wars, the first of the railroad companies and the start of a banana company brought in by the gringos. All of these events are reflective of actual events throughout Columbia’s post-colonial history.
As life progresses and the older members of the Buendia family pass into time, their spirits still linger in the Buendia ancestral home. The book is riddled with supernatural occurrences that are introduced casually to the reader as if they are normal every day happenings. Some are of a religious nature and some are not.
This book, although good, definitely had a dark side. The generations of the Buendia family struggle. No generation is safe. The only confusing part of this story is that when the family married and had children, they named their children after another ancestor who had been introduced in an earlier chapter. This made it a little difficult to keep track of who was who.
Although this was not one of my favorite books, I have another one by Gabriel Garcia Marquez checked out that I will start soon. It is called, Love In The Time of Cholera.