Tuesday, June 14, 2011



The House of Buendia rises and falls as its members are born, make love and war, and die or refuse to die.


This seminal work of magical realism by Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez follows one family and its many denizens through a hundred years of life and death. The people are bitter and passionate and powerful, and each one is doomed to solitude in some form. Throughout the life of the house they explore debauchery, invention, and mysticism, and fall into the strange and passionate cycle of the House of Buendia. Each one has a fatal weakness, a supernatural strength, and a destiny that is shaped by their membership in this singular household.

Despite how quickly life passes through this family, the characters are rich and intricate and memorable. The golden thread that holds the story together is Ursula, the mother and prescient stronghold of the family. As each character cycles through the novel, Ursula is constant and aware of the ebb and flow of the family's fortunes. She takes the supernatural knowledge and extraordinary qualities of the family and its ghosts in stride. She is the anchor in this turbulent collection of relationships and feuds and failures.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez captures the passage of time in a vivid and passionate style. He takes a story of myth and magic and makes it feel real because each character is so fundamentally human. He describes each conflict, loss of innocence and flight of fancy with rich language that makes it possible to tell a single story in which many generations grow old and are forgotten. Reading this novel makes all the problems of the world feel momentary, because they are just episodes in a much bigger picture. I am obviously not the first person to love this book, but seriously, you must read it.


Everything you ever wanted to know about Gabriel Garcia Marquez


I bought the paperback English edition at the magical Eslite Bookstore in Taipei for about 10 USD


How does solitude drive the destiny of this family? What does it mean to be alone in a world full of people?


  1. You've sold me on it! Great review and I will get the book.

  2. +JMJ+

    Fantastic review! =D

    One Hundred Years of Solitude sounds like the sort of ambitious, emotionally rich literary monolith that I occasionally scrape up enough courage to try. I hope I get to this before my death!

    The idea of solitude driving the destiny of one family is both haunting and harrowing. We wouldn't want that for ourselves and our loved ones, would we? And yet many of us are alone in a world full of people. We just don't tend to appreciate that loneliness as something that moves us forward; if anything, we believe it holds us back.

  3. I checked this one out of the library a few months back but never actually read it. Your review has made me regret that!

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone. This is one of those books that I picked because I felt like I 'should have read it', but it was definitely worth it. I was surprised at how quickly I was drawn into the story of the Buendia family.

    In this story solitude does seem to drive the family forward. It allows them to succeed in momentary ways, but they suffer in the midst of it too.

  5. Great review for an absolutely fantastic book. I'm really pleased to see from the comments that you've gotten others keen on reading it.


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