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article imageOp-Ed: 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' — A masterpiece of poetic prose

By Igor I. Solar     Apr 20, 2014 in Entertainment
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a story that can be read over and over, in the same way that children watch again and again their favorite cartoon. It is a story impossible to forget, written in wonderful poetic prose, full of metaphors and symbolism.
The first edition of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was published in Spanish in Argentina in 1967. Only 8 thousand copies were printed. The first English translation was published in 1970. Since then, the novel has been translated to 39 languages and sold over 40 million copies.
In 1970, aware of its growing popularity, I bought the book, started reading it, and I could not put it down until I finished reading the final paragraph three days later. There were three days of continuous reading, only interrupted for a few moments to eat an improvised meal, with the book next to my dish. I slept just a few hours while swirling and elaborating on my mind the last chapters read.
The book left on me a lasting impression. It motivated me to look with growing anxiety for other books by the same author, convinced that a writer of such wit, imagination and expert command of poetic narrative was capable of creating other works of similar level.
In a relatively short period I read "La Hojarasca" ( Leaf Storm, 1955); "El Coronel no Tiene quien le Escriba” ( No One Writes to the Colonel, 1961); "La Mala Hora" ( In Evil Hour, 1962); “La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndida y su abuela desalmada” (The incredible and sad tale of Innocent Erendira and her heartless grandmother, 1972), "Amor en Tiempos del Cólera" ( Love in the Time of Cholera, 1985) , and many others. All these works were immensely satisfying, extending my admiration for the extraordinary novelist. Later on, I searched and read part of his journalistic work, e.g. “Textos Costeños” (Coastal Texts, 1948-1953).
Cover of the first English translation of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.
Cover of the first English translation of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.
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Some years later, when Garcia Marquez received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, I read again One Hundred Years of Solitude (this time in English translation), and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). I enjoyed reading these novels as much as the first time. At some point I believed, as I think now, that if Garcia Marquez had written nothing more than Hundred Years of Solitude, he would have still deserved the Nobel Prize.
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time, Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.”
It's an epic story describing magical and improbable episodes over a century in the lives of the Buendía family. There are miracles, inventions, madness, revolutions, and wonderful aspects in the history of Macondo, the imaginary village which apparently had its origins in García Márquez' hometown of Aracataca in the Caribbean region of Colombia. The story contains wonderful elements of history and folklore, religion, literary and musical aspects, love and death, violence, political and social struggles. It is a tale of real and imaginary characters, including episodes such as the insomnia plague which brought forgetfulness and complications to Macondo by spreading through the village via Ursula Iguarán’s innocent business of candy animals; or the episode of Remedios, the beauty, who wrapped in blankets amid beetles and dahlias, "rose to the sky beyond the reach of the highest birds of memory"; or the massacre of 3,000 striking workers of the banana company which both the army and the political authorities tried to hide.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a story that can be read over and over, in the same way that children watch again and again their favorite cartoon. It is a story impossible to forget, written in wonderful poetic prose, full of metaphors and symbolism. I am reading it again…
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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