Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude

Review :

As an indie lit postmodernist author, I can say with authority that this fits the description of a postmodernist novel. Yet the global literary community has branded this as a new genre of magical realism, and even gave Gabriel Garcia Marquez a Nobel Prize in Literature for it. Oh well, if you've gotta live your lifetime in Colombia I guess you should have something to show for it.

At any rate, if you're into postmodern this is a worthy read. Jose Arcadio Buendia founds the village of Macondo after a time of wandering in the jungle. Eventually the village begins to grow, and Buendia continues his efforts to develop its community. Only he finds himself bracketed by the mysticism of tradition and technology of the modern world. What the primitives see as magic is explained by Buendia as wonders of the civilized world. Alternately, the technical aspects of new concoctions and contraptions that Buendia cannot fully explained are accepted by the villagers as magic. His consternation grows beyond expectation as political issues in Colombian society have an impact on the village. They are drawn into a revolutionary conflict, and Buendia is heralded as a rebel leader against an oppressive regime.

Sociological issues act as major themes throughout the novel. There is a constant dissonance between the traditional ways of the primitive society which causes conflict between family members, neighbors and social groups within the village. It creates a dysfunctional clannishness that is further disrupted by the armed struggle they are drawn into. The author uses the major protagonist as a moral compass, trying to steady the course his village is forced along at an uncompromising pace. There is lots of room for satire and hyperbole, the tale rich with metaphors as the tribe tries to distinguish between magic and science, fantasy and reality, and the smoke and mirrors of the political struggle.

This is for special tastes in literature, though bright English students will find lots to love in this story. Postmodernist buffs and literature scholars won't want to do without it. As the critics agree, this is definitely a milestone work in Latin American literature.

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