Books Reviews

‘100 Years of Solitude,’ a book worth reading again and again

One Hundred Years of Solitude cover - 1

West Linn, Oregon, U.S.A. – Within sun-drenched pages and through a century, a timeless summer of enchantment unfolds in One Hundred Years of Solitude.

It’s the only book I have ever re-read three years in a row. Now, it feels like a tradition to me. 

It is exclusively when I want to escape from the world and lose myself in the opalescent world of Macondo. 

Like blurry days of summer, Gabriel García Márquez’s novel envelops the curiosity of the mind with an intricate web of characters, events, and emotions. 

When I first read this story the summer before I went to high school, I do not think I really understood it. It was a whirlwind of names and relationships, births and deaths, all set in a place that seemed so palpably vivid but with an unignorable mythical sheen. 

Yet something about it drew me back, like a faded, cherished photograph, asking to be revisited and remembered.

Each time I open the cover, I begin by rereading the first line: 

“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.” 

Now, I can recite this line from memory. I know exactly where each pause falls. 

These first words were like a spell. They pulled me into a world where the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur, the storyline much like the wandering summer winds sifting through the pages of my book.

One Hundred Years of Solitude transcends conventional storytelling, reminding me of the ephemeral nature of life.

In a century, so many things can change.

Set against the backdrop of the fictional Colombian town of Macondo, the novel navigates the lives of the Buendía family over several generations, imbuing the narrative with a uniquely cyclical timeline reminiscent of the year’s seasons. 

Márquez intertwines the mundane with the extraordinary. 

Just as August blurs the lines between the end of summer and an impending fall, the characters in the novel live in a realm between reality and dreams, where the surreal is as commonplace as the everyday.

Here, time is fluid. 

Events repeat themselves, names are passed down through generations, and history seems to fold in on itself. The novel has a narrative structure that mirrors my own perception of time passing, where the end of one summer gives way to the promise of the next.

Only the omniscient narrator seems to truly know the secrets holding the universe of Macondo together.

Márquez captures a striking duality in his characters’ experiences, as they encounter love and loss, joy and sorrow, often in the same breath.

I still do not completely understand every intricacy of the world Marquez built.

Macondo is a mystery I am sure I will revisit again. 

Annamika Konkola is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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