One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez

I read “Cien años de soledad” in Spanish. Even if it took me some extra work to get a Spanish copy it would have been a missed opportunity to not read the original work.

The book is written from the perspective of the Buendía family. And this is where the strength of the book resides. Everything is described as seen by not only the eyes of the characters but also their minds.

When José Arcadio Buendía thinks that a magic carpet can fly, then it really flyes. García Márquez does not write an external interpretation of the characters thoughts, but a literal translation of those thoughts into the paper with their superstitions and personal perceptions.

Thru a rich and colourful language, the thoughts in the minds of the characters become real. The protagonists are selfish, pitiful, misguided but also compassionate. Their mindset is laid in front of the reader to examine and learn. From the vulnerability of children to the senility of old age all feelings are described truthfully for the reader to see.

Not only the main characters are shown as they see themselves. All society is described in the same terms. All the nonsense of war, the social changes that technology causes, the fight of workers for their rights, everything is written down in hyperbolic detail except that in its excess the writing shows the real feelings of the population.

Having grown up in Spain, I have seen the destructive power of the Buendía mindset that intensifies in little towns like the fictional Macondo. I can also sympathize with the historical views on Colombia’s society, many of them not so far away from the ones in Spain.

This is an indispensable book for anyone interested in the old mindset of Spanish speaking countries or just anyone that wants a deeper understanding of human nature.

Book cover. Cien años de soledad.

5/5 ★★★★ ★

Cien años de soledad
by Gabriel García Márquez
Publisher: Literatura Random House
Release Date: first published 1967