Monthly Archives: August 2011

One Hundred Years of Solitude

No llores porque ya se termino, sonría porque sucedió –

It only happens a few times during a life to be drunk with some book which probably has some extraordinary relative power to intoxicate us and none other; and having exhausted that cup of enchantment we go groping in libraries all our years afterwards in the hope of being in Paradise again.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson in a letter to Sam Ward

Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1928 in the small town of Aracataca, situated in a tropical region of northern Colombia, between the mountains and the Caribbean Sea. He grew up with his maternal grandparent – his grandfather was a pensioned colonel from the civil war at the beginning of the century. He went to a Jesuit college and began to read law, but his studies were soon broken off for his work as a journalist. In 1954 he was sent to Rome on an assignment for his newspaper, and since then he has mostly lived abroad – in Paris, New York, Barcelona and Mexico – in a more or less compulsory exile. Besides his large output of fiction he has written screenplays and has continued to work as a journalist. The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982 was awarded to the author “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, refelcting a continent’s life and conflicts”.

The story One Hundred Years of Solitude is a postmodern novel. It follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women–the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar–who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does just that. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, with sorrow’s outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez’s magical realism.

With the postmodernism feel and the element of magical realism where characters can do things that are not possible in real life. In example of this is Remedios’s ability to fly in the air and go away, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to adapt this novel.

However, we have reached an age where most things are done through TV and cinema. It is unfortunate many people do not read many books anymore. People would rather sit for a few hours in a dark room watching a screen. In my opinion it is necessary for more books to be adapted in films. Some people might argue whether a great book such as Madame Bovary and The Great Gatsby can shine in the same light with a film adaptation. With the film techniques available and the great talent this is very possible. May be watching an excellent movie on Pride and Prejudice or any other literary masterpiece is equal to reading the book, but it’s very unlikely that any film adaptation would do this novel justice… Just as well…

Some quotes to help with solitude:
   Let your heart grow old without bitterness
   A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can
   The uncertainty of the future turns our hearts to the past
   The anxiety of falling in love could not find repose except in bed
   Secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude
   One minute of reconciliation is worth more than a life of friendship