Here’s an old piece, rediscovered. I love this book. And the man behind it.
When human nature endeavors to survive the arid desert of Time with all its might, Time too brings out its most ruthless weapons to quell it. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ most famous novel, One Hundred Years Of Solitude, dictates such a hopeless predicament, while bringing forth much more of the fantastic in the face of the gross mask of reality the world feigns to wear. The novel talks of the rise and fall of Macondo, a secluded civilization in a distant plain somewhere in South America. More specifically, it talks about the trials and tribulations of five generations of the Buendia family, who are the founders of Macondo as well as the last ones to die in its ruins. We are given a vivid description of characters such as Ursula Iguaran, an unlikely but powerful matriarch, under whose rule the Buendia family as well as Macondo prospered; Colonel Aureliano Buendia, who had 17 boys during his days in the war; Remedios the Beauty, who ascended to heaven (literally!) as her rightful place of being; and Aureliano Segundo and Jose Arcadio Segundo, the twins, who changed names in juvenile mischief and whose identities remained confused till their death as a consequence.
Macondo,a fascinating place, is endowed with all the characteristics of growth and existence and enriched by the imagination of the writer. Written in the post colonial form of writing called Magic Realism, the novel contains a myriad imagery, where storms of butterflies, clouds of yellow flowers, blue houses and incessant rain for four years seem more believable than the ugliness of civil war, the capitalism of a Banana Company, Guerilla warfare and a dictatorial government.
What is most fascinating, however, and what essentially is the crux of the novel is the final, irrevocable and endless solitude of each character of the Buendia family as well as of the whole community. Trapped in the cells of their minds, tortured by insomnia the characters seem to transcend the normal and exist on an exotic plane making them very enticing to the reader.
The novel is a masterpiece of read-between-the-lines revolutionary ideas, and what we as readers can enjoy is his somewhat satirical notion of a civilization. The existence of a strong political statement makes it intellectually stimulating and issues of life, love, identity and death are brought up without any answers. All in all, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a must read for all those who would like to indulge in a bit of contemporary reading. And otherwise.