One Hundred Years of Solitude
Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez delights us with One Hundred Years of Solitude, considered a masterpiece of Latin-American and universal literature. The book is also one of the most read and translated texts in the Spanish language.
Jose Arcadio Buendia, the head of the Buendia family, together with his wife Ursula, their children Aureliano Buendia., Amaranta, and Jose Jr., live in the rural town of Macondo, a world much apart from human civilization. The members of the Buendia haven’t seen much of what exists beyond the limits of the town they live in. One day the circus comes to town. The impresario of the Circus, a Gypsy by the name of Melquiades, and Jose Buendia have been well acquainted for some time. When Jose Buendia sees Melquiades again, he is surprised to find that Melquiades has not aged one bit. Jose Buendia confronts Melquiades about this issue and the response he gets is that beyond Macondo, in some of the places that he has traveled to, there are many things to be found which Jose Buendia ignores. Melquiades proceeds to encourage Jose Buendia to get out more, so that he can see what is beyond Macondo. Now, along with his circus Melquiades has also brought another novelty with him: ice.
At night all the townsfolk gather to attend the circus. There, Melquiades pulls out a large piece of ice which everyone is fascinated by, being that it is the first time that anyone in Macondo came into contact with water in its chilled and solid form. People are aghast because they’ve never seen anything similar. Melquiades then announces that if they want to touch the ice they will be charged a certain sum of money, and the townsfolk line up to be able to do just that.
Some time goes by and a strange somniferous bug starts to prey on people in the village. This makes the Townsfolk very sleepy. Everyone suddenly wants to be sleeping all the time. But no one seems to know what is causing this general laziness, until a maid that came from a different town, tells them that what is happening to them also happened in her village, which is the reason she had fled to Macondo.
Jose Buendia starts to lose his mind. He begins to lose his memory to the point that his wife Ursula has to start labeling things around their house so that her husband can know what they are. Fortunately Melquiades returns with his circus and observes that which is happening to the inhabitants of Macondo. Melquiades offers the townsfolk a potion to cure them. The potion works and so the people of Macondo, in a show of gratitude, offer him permanent residence in the village.
As the title of the book indicates, more than a century passes over the course of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and therefore most of the events described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez are the major highlights in the life of the Buendias: their births, their deaths, their weddings and love affairs.