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One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) [Paperback]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (20 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060740450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060740450
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 17.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 831,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All in the family... 4 May 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I first read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" not long after it was first published in English, almost 40 years ago. It was a wonderful, and magically, if you will, introduction to Latin American literature. Subsequently, I've read several other works by Marquez, notably, Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International) some 20 years later, but none have quite cast the spell of my first "love," this one, so I figured a re-read was in order. The "magic" of magic realism has lost none of its charm.

The story involves six generations of one family, established by Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran, who also helped found the town of Macondo, in the lowlands of Columbia, though the country is never specifically identified. The in-breeding (and also out-breeding) in this one family is simply astonishing. I can't remember if the original edition had a genealogical chart at the beginning, but this one does, and it provides an invaluable reference in keeping the philanderings, and the subsequent progeny, straight, particularly since numerous individuals over the generations have the same name. What is the "Scarlet Letter" that is prophesized for a family with such a high degree of consanguinity? That a child will be born with a pig's tail.

Marquez dazzles the reader with the intensity of his writing; it's as though he had a 1600 page book in him, but is given a 400 page limit. It is the furious sketching of a street artist, making every line count in a portrait. The strengths, follies, and interactions of the men and women are depicted in memorable events. And there seems to be a realistic balance and development of his characters.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, magical and eloquent 29 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback
This has to be the book that best encapsulates the true meaning of the magical realism school of literature. Although Marquez's world is steeped in strange, mythical images and happenings the "realness" of its people and issues makes the surreal seem logical in a way that should not work- but it does. The mixture of reality and surrealism feels dream-like in scope.
OHYOS is the kind of story that has to be read more than once to get the full amount of understanding from it- details from the beginning are important at the end. This may be especially be true if, like me, find the dense, rich language difficult to get into for a few chapters. The writing is so rich, in fact, that a huge amount of action can take place in the space of a few pages. This can be a hindrance at first but when you start to enjoy Marquez's words then you realise how beautiful a novel can be.
There is also much meaning behind the story line. The evolvement of the family shows a move from traditional to modern in the wider world although the time the novel is set is never shown (or needed to be).
There is much sadness in OHYOS to match the magic and dreaminess. If you like happy endings and glosses over deaths than this might not be suitable reading for you. For everyone else though I would highly recommend OHYOS- it is well worth the effort needed to place yourself in Marquez's world.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Looking Glass Trip Through History 16 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback
This is not your typical novel. It's difficult, confusing, strongly metaphorical, and far more concerned with history and message than any deep look at its characters. At the same time, it is sometimes lyrical, beautiful, inventive, and given to unexpected trips to the magical, just when it seems bogged down in a very harsh reality.

It's the story of the town of Macondo and the family that help found the town, stretched over the hundred years of the title. It's clear, when you step back from the details of this work, that the entire work is a metaphor for what happened to Columbia, from its early run-in with the Spanish invaders through the exploitive actions of companies out to rip the riches from the country with no regard for the human cost of their endeavors, and on into to the modern day world of political corruption backed by barely sheathed threats of force.

The family that the book follows is unique in many ways, peopled by characters both incredibly strong and driven by obsessions, and yet insular, separated from the real world by their own internal fantasies. Here we find the rebel hero and the dominating matron side by side with ghosts, the Wandering Jew, and highly mysterious gypsies. However, all of these characters are seen from a distance, even though we are privy to their internal thoughts and ideas, and it is difficult to get emotionally involved with any of them. Not helping in this regard is the extreme similarity of names through various generations of the family, and frequent references to the genealogical chart at the beginning of the book are necessary to try and keep everything straight.

Stylistically, be prepared for page long sentences and sudden multi-page discourses not immediately connected to current happenings.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars follow the family tree 24 Dec 2005
Format:Paperback
At first I though this was a boring book, getting mixed up and not making much sense. Then after about 100 pages I realised that the family tree at the start of the book wasn't there for nothing!! Follow the family tree and the story unfolds wonderfully. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but let's face it, writing isn't only about story telling but also about the use of language, idiom, metaphor and so on. Marquez excels. It's now Christmas and this book has won my favourite book of 2005 award. I'll definitely be looking out for more of Mr Marquez's books.
Francis Darmanin (MALTA)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel by this now deceased author
Great book really enjoyed it
Published 1 day ago by D Littler
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
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Published 2 days ago by Peter King
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A good book. A little strange. Makes you realize people come and go. People are this way and that way. And one day you will die.
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Published 14 days ago by A. Salter
4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book!
My favorite book of all time! I recommend it to EVERYONE! :)
The surreal world created is just AMAZING. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Álvaro Garcês Gustavo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a must read
Published 21 days ago by corky
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This is now my favourite book. I love style/ imagery when it's pretty, tasteful, evocative and this book has it in elegant bucket loads.
Published 27 days ago by Mi Wae
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't find this an easy read but beautifully written and I am...
I didn't find this an easy read but beautifully written and I am pleased that I persevered to the end.
Published 29 days ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my favourite books ever. It's like getting lost in time.
Published 29 days ago by elaine wilkinson
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