Rediscover: One Hundred Years of Solitude

This year marks the 50th anniversary of One Hundred Years of Solitude, the magical realism magnum opus of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014). Since its publication in Spanish in 1967, Márquez's masterwork has sold more than 30 million copies in 37 languages (It was translated into English by Gregory Rabassa in 1970). It is the second bestselling Spanish language novel after Don Quixote, a paramount product of the Latin American literature boom of the 1960s and 1970s, and a cornerstone of the magical realism style--in which fantastical elements are presented matter-of-factly in an otherwise realistic story.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, beyond its now-famous opening line ("Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."), tracks seven generations of the Buendía family in the fictional town of Macondo, Colombia. Macondo's utopian founding flounders in the repeated, often self-inflicted misfortunes of the Buendías as the town exists first in near-total isolation, then opens to a hostile outside world. Solitude, fatalism and inevitable repetition underscore a temporally fluid mix of real history and surreal events. This Latin American literary landmark was last published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics in 2006 ($16.99, 9780060883287). --Tobias Mutter

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