Lisa's Reviews > One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
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"What is your favourite book, mum?"

How many times have my children asked me that, growing up with a mother who spends most of her time reading - to them, alone, for work, for pleasure - or looking for new books in bookstores wherever we happen to be.

"I can't answer that, there are so many books I love, and in different ways!"

"Just name one that comes to mind!"

And I said, without really knowing why, and without thinking:

"One Hundred Years Of Solitude!"

"Why?"

"Because..."

This novel taught me that chaos and order are two sides of the same medal - called family life. It taught me that sadness and love go hand in hand, and that life is easy and complicated at the same time. It taught me that many wishes actually come true, but never in the way we expect, and most often with a catch. It taught me that sun and rain follow each other, even though we might have to wait for four years, eleven months and two days for rain to stop falling sometimes. It taught me that there are as many recipes for love as there are lovers in the world, and that human beings are lazy and energetic, good and bad, young and old, ugly and beautiful, honest and dishonest, happy and sad, all at the same time, - together and lonely.

It taught me that we are forever longing for what we do not have, until we get what we long for. Then we start longing for what we lost when our dreams came true.

This novel opened up the world of absurdities to me, and dragged me in like no other. In each member of the Buendía family, I recognise some relation, or myself, or both. Macondo is the world in miniature, and wherever I go, it follows me like a shadow. It is not rich, peaceful, or beautiful. It is just Macondo. No more, no less.

My favourite book? I don't know. There are so many. But I don't think any other could claim to be more loved than this one.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 25, 2014 – Shelved
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: nobels
August 9, 2014 – Shelved as: 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: havanas-en-masse
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: monster-mash-of-a-mess
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: so-good-it-hurts
February 19, 2017 – Shelved as: unforgettable

Comments Showing 1-50 of 87 (87 new)


Violet wells I struggled with this when I read it years ago but later developed a massive crush on Marquez and read and loved lots of his other books. A timely reminder perhaps to give this another go.


Edward This is one of my absolute favourites as well!


Chris Chapman Mine too. And a book that reflects on where you are in your life. I felt so differently about it when I read it at 20 and when I re-read it at 35.


Lisa Jean-Paul wrote: "I share your sentiments, Lisa!"

Happy to hear that, Jean-Paul!


Lisa Violet wrote: "I struggled with this when I read it years ago but later developed a massive crush on Marquez and read and loved lots of his other books. A timely reminder perhaps to give this another go."

I would love to see if rereading changes your impression, Violet! I struggled with the book as well, not least with the confusing branches of the family, and the many characters with the same name, but somehow, the struggle was part of the reason I grew to love it so much. When I came to the last page, I was completely taken in.


Lisa Edward wrote: "This is one of my absolute favourites as well!"

I am always pleased to find other Macondo fans alll over the world, Edward. There is a hidden Macondo in every village, I think.


Lisa Chris wrote: "Mine too. And a book that reflects on where you are in your life. I felt so differently about it when I read it at 20 and when I re-read it at 35."

That is also very true, Chris. And in my opinion, that is the surest sign of greatness in a novel: to capture generations of readers, over and over again. I can't wait for my kids' input when they read it.


message 8: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray a great choice for a perhaps favourite. a truly ground breaking and monumental book


Chris Chapman Lisa wrote: "Chris wrote: "Mine too. And a book that reflects on where you are in your life. I felt so differently about it when I read it at 20 and when I re-read it at 35."

That is also very true, Chris. And..."
I hope I can convince mine to read it too!


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Ray wrote: "a great choice for a perhaps favourite. a truly ground breaking and monumental book"

Thanks, Ray! I really like the expression "a perhaps favourite"!


message 11: by Tyson (new) - added it

Tyson Heck I've taken this book out of the library at least three times now but it's been put to the back burner each time. I think I'm going to march down there after work tomorrow and make it a point to read if this time around.


message 12: by Susu (new)

Susu Now that was a memorable review!
I haven't read this, but will add.


message 13: by Gabrielle (new) - added it

Gabrielle What a lovely review Lisa! I've been meaning to read this for a long time, I might have to bump it to my short-term pile :)


message 14: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Tyson wrote: "I've taken this book out of the library at least three times now but it's been put to the back burner each time. I think I'm going to march down there after work tomorrow and make it a point to rea..."

I will cheer you on, Tyson. it is a wonderful read. But I know the problem with carrying books back and forth to the library. I just spent an afternoon in our beautiful city library, and ended up taking five books home, despite having a pile of twenty waiting already. Some will go back unread, I already know that. But at least they have been a temporary part of my book collection :-)


message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Susu wrote: "Now that was a memorable review!
I haven't read this, but will add."


Thank you so much, Susu. Hope you enjoy it!


message 16: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Libby wrote: "A beautifully written review."

Thank you, Libby!


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Gabrielle wrote: "What a lovely review Lisa! I've been meaning to read this for a long time, I might have to bump it to my short-term pile :)"

Thank you, Gabrielle! I am sure you will enjoy it!


Tsung Nice review Lisa! I didn't enjoy the story as you did but I appreciate your approach to the book in terms of family life.


message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Tsung Wei wrote: "Nice review Lisa! I didn't enjoy the story as you did but I appreciate your approach to the book in terms of family life."

Thank you, Tsung Wei! I did struggle with parts of it as well, but the overall impression in the end was one of sad beauty.


message 20: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve A lovely series of antitheses, and a lovely review. Thanks for writing it, Lisa.


message 21: by Greg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg Brozeit I read this when I was in college (on my own, not for a course) and it had the most profound effect on me of anything I've ever read (along with A Confederacy of Dunces ;-)).


message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Steve wrote: "A lovely series of antitheses, and a lovely review. Thanks for writing it, Lisa."

Thank you, Steve! Happy you liked it!


message 23: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Greg wrote: "I read this when I was in college (on my own, not for a course) and it had the most profound effect on me of anything I've ever read (along with A Confederacy of Dunces ;-))."

I am glad to hear we share that feeling, Greg! And I also think this is one of those novels that get better when rereading!


Chloe Read in the 80's and reread it several times. Magnificent story.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Chloe wrote: "Read in the 80's and reread it several times. Magnificent story."

I couldn't agree more, Chloe!


Jorge Beautiful review, Lisa


message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Jorge wrote: "Beautiful review, Lisa"

Thank you, Jorge!


Caroline Lisa wrote: "Tyson wrote: "I've taken this book out of the library at least three times now but it's been put to the back burner each time. I think I'm going to march down there after work tomorrow and make it ..."

Yes yes. I go in the library door resolving to just return something because I’ve got a stack at home, but somehow it never works out that way. Or something that I requested via interlibrary loan has come in and has to be checked out and take precedence over the local books I can renew. And now, the acquisitions librarians who have responded to my requests to order more literature in translation always send the new acquisitions to my branch library, so I feel obligated to take a lot of them home to read as thanks...

I enjoyed the review, Lisa. I read this so long ago I can’t really remember much about it, but I know it was a delight at the time.


Chloe Remedios the Beautiful ascending to heaven on a bedsheet. I think of her often. How can we get to the Macondo of our dreams and of our hearts. No other book he wrote (Marquez) captured the magic One Hundred years did - although I did enjoy the others. It was my era of reading South American novels - and the loss of Gregory Rabassas as "the" translator (last year) was a sad one. He clearly had these cultures and the magical realism they delivered in his very bones. May I also recommend the Brazilians - Dona Flor and all the works of Jorge Amado especially. And one entitled "Cellophane" - not unlike One Hundred" in spririt and very entertaining. Marquez opened a door that allowed me to welcome magical relaism into my life and brought me to the incredible treatment of the entire concept by the inimitable Indian authors (Rushdie in particular). You write a stunning review Lisa - and you pay One Hundred great tribute.


message 30: by Nick (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nick I tried reading this about ten years ago, but found it too hard. Sounds like I will need to give it another go! Nice review, Lisa.


message 31: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Caroline wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Tyson wrote: "I've taken this book out of the library at least three times now but it's been put to the back burner each time. I think I'm going to march down there after work tomorrow..."

It is wonderful to share library stories, Caroline. Having worked as a librarian myself I know it from both angles. I love the atmosphere!


message 32: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Chloe wrote: "Remedios the Beautiful ascending to heaven on a bedsheet. I think of her often. How can we get to the Macondo of our dreams and of our hearts. No other book he wrote (Marquez) captured the magic On..."

I can't get Ursula out of my head, Chloe! And the rain.

As for other magical realism, I am a huge fan of Rushdie, and will happily expand my South American horizon with your suggestions. Thanks!!


message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Nick wrote: "I tried reading this about ten years ago, but found it too hard. Sounds like I will need to give it another go! Nice review, Lisa."

I think you won't regret giving it another try, Nick! But it IS a peculiar story, and most likely not to everyone's taste.


Chloe Lisa
The entire body of Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese language novels which I read in the 80's are just fantastic. The discovery of ice crosses my mind often in front of the freezer door. You will love Cellophane. But when you reach Brazil the abundance of titles will astound you - the main author is Jorge Amado - one of his books was made into the movie "Dona Flor and her Two Husbands".


message 35: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Chloe wrote: "Lisa
The entire body of Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese language novels which I read in the 80's are just fantastic. The discovery of ice crosses my mind often in front of the freezer door. You wi..."


I will start with Amado, then. Another universe to discover. I can't wait to get going.


Chloe I suspect you will love them all. I had the whole collection (all the tities from the 80's) and when I was editing shelves I passed them onto my BBF who had also loved 100 Years. And Rabassas translated these as well. Between S.A. and India - you will never have to face real realism again - LOL.

Have fun.


Cecily I love what you've learned from this - and are now passing on to your children. (I do wonder if I have a wonky medal though: I think I have two sides of chaos, and none of order.)


message 38: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Cecily wrote: "I love what you've learned from this - and are now passing on to your children. (I do wonder if I have a wonky medal though: I think I have two sides of chaos, and none of order.)"

Hahaha, you have a point there, Cecily! I think my medal is somewhat strange as well. Maybe they made a bunch of alternative medals for our generation, to go with fake reality?


Kalliope Lovely appraisal of this work, Lisa.. I read it years ago and had to write an essay on it... I had a very very early edition of this. Your review makes me wonder that I ought to read it again.


message 40: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kalliope wrote: "Lovely appraisal of this work, Lisa.. I read it years ago and had to write an essay on it... I had a very very early edition of this. Your review makes me wonder that I ought to read it again."

Thank you, Kalliope! I think it is always worth a reread - the story lines are so complex, you can always discover something new. But there are so many books out there to read, so in the end, one has to make choices...


Shreerag Plakazhi This is a beautiful review. If I hadn't already read it, I would have done because of the emotion it inspired in you.

Having read it, I can say I share the same feelings :)


message 42: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Shreerag wrote: "This is a beautiful review. If I hadn't already read it, I would have done because of the emotion it inspired in you.

Having read it, I can say I share the same feelings :)"


Thank you, Shreerag! I am always happy to discover who shares that love for this novel!


Shreerag Plakazhi Lisa wrote: "Shreerag wrote: "This is a beautiful review. If I hadn't already read it, I would have done because of the emotion it inspired in you.

Having read it, I can say I share the same feelings :)"

Than..."

And always great to find people with similar tastes in books :)


Gaurav Lovely review, Lisa, it's indeed one of my favorite books too :)


message 45: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Gaurav wrote: "Lovely review, Lisa, it's indeed one of my favorite books too :)"

Thank you, Gaurav!


message 46: by Joudy (new)

Joudy Thanks Lisa for a wonderful review, I read it a year ago but I was too young to appreciate it, I may re-read it to truly understand it.
It is clear that you have been highly involved with your children and through demonstrating a great deal of emotion in your interactions.


message 47: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Joudy wrote: "Thanks Lisa for a wonderful review, I read it a year ago but I was too young to appreciate it, I may re-read it to truly understand it.
It is clear that you have been highly involved with your chil..."


Thank you, Joudy! I think the novel benefits from rereading at different stages in life. There is so much to discover. I had a hard time keeping all the action in mind as well - and all the strange relationships!


Juliana Oh, I've just read your review twice because I loved it and made me smile! What an amazing book. Made me want to read other García Márquez's books.


message 49: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Juliana wrote: "Oh, I've just read your review twice because I loved it and made me smile! What an amazing book. Made me want to read other García Márquez's books."

Thank you, Juliana! I could keep raving about this book forever. It just hit me where it hurts most, and made me laugh at the same time!


Kevin Ansbro I don't know how I've missed this terrific review, Lisa.
As in your case, whenever asked what my favourite novels are, this is one of the books that immediately springs to mind.

Loved this line:
"This novel opened up the world of absurdities to me..."


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