One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques is an acclaimed Nobel Prize winning novel. I have started reading it and I want to share my thoughts.
In the beginning of the Novel— Buendia faces a firing squad and then Marquez writes in a flash back.
Buendia lives in Macondo village which is a strange village where the villagers are obsessed with scientific equipments brought by the ragged gypsies like the telescope, magnet, astrolabe, sextant and chunks of magnet. Melaquides is a gypsy who acts as a Warlock.
We can’t equate Buendia’s character with contemporary fictional characters. He is a specimen of an 18th century character somewhat like Quixote. He is very eccentric and he is obsessed with scientific instruments like the compass, sextant the astrolabe and the magnets. He is mesmerized with the idea of getting gold from the bowels of the earth.
The character of Meliquades can be shown to represent a sorcerer. He seduces the villagers of Macondo with strange scientific instruments. We can see in him the beginnings of a scientific age.
Ursula his wife on the other hand is a practical person a character who can be equated to Socrates wife Xanthippe. She is of the opinion that Buendia is not taking care of the affairs of the household.
Macondo village is a fictional idiom for the strange, exotic and the eccentric.
The village Macondo is described by Marquez using an erotic tapestry. To the East of Macondo there stands vast and impenetrable mountains, to the west flows a river, and to the south the terrain was swampy.
Buendia is obsessed with primitive scientific instruments and fails entirely to take care of his family. The warlock Malequades devotes his time with Buendia and nurtures him to develop strange astronomical theories.
The novel cannot be called modern as it has an 18th century setting. Almost all characters in the novel seem to be whimsical with the trivia of the phantasmagoria.
However in Buendia’s wife we find a difference. She is practical and shrewish. She has the wisdom of an earth mother. She is frustrated with the wonkiness of her husband.
Marquez makes a fictional mistake: when Buendia searches for the warlock Malequades, Marquez describes him of having died of fever in Singapore. The novel is set on 18th century moorings and the form of transportation is mules and horses. We have to give fictional license and the ability of imagination to accept the fact.
There’s a strange eerie incident where Buendia throws a spear at Augilar and kills him. His spirit appears to Buendia’s wife Ursula. Marquez is playing with magic realism and we have to partake the novel with the truth of a fictional license.
The character of Ursula can be explicated as that of being a feminine earth mother. She can’t stand the fleeting, illusory plans of her husband Buendia. She goes out of the way to make both ends meet. She is the proletariat of the mind, a symbol of a buxom productive woman who materializes a realism of approach to life’s practical solutions.
Marquez portrays Buendia as a capitalist monster with a mind to live life recklessly and be profligate. Buenda is the symbol of an unrealized capitalist dream and he can be a dandy who lives life without care or concern.
Notable is the language of erotic postures described in the novel. Marquez describes Buendia as an erotic beast with the weapon of an animal. Buendia makes love to the gypsy woman in the garden of poetry. Erotic passions are written in musical language.
There is a war fought there, a war between the conservatives and the liberals. The surrender by the liberals and the signing of the armistice is one of pathological of the reminiscence of making a memoir about making a history of nation to war and blood. The war between the liberals and the conservatives is a toxic metaphor showing the blisters of Argentinean history.
Remarkable is the passionate romance shown by Colonel Gerineldo and Amaranta. Their love is a manifestation of the Shakespearean drama Romeo and Juliet.
When considering the narrative of Marquez in 100 Years of solitude, the fable’s trajectory is in a linear mode, a start from the end to finish. Postmodern fiction is characterized by abrupt shifts in time, a narratology in streams of consciousness an excessive intoxication with tropes and from this point of view we can consider the novel as being a traditional one.
The tropes used by Marquez are all too familiar ones. There’s no newness encountered in 100 Years of Solitude. A fictional avant-garde novel with no clichés, a novel that bears the smell of eloquence all these seem to be lacking on 100 years of solitude.