Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude

It feels like forever since I have done a book review! I should do more, I know, but I feel like most of the books I read I can condense my thoughts into a paragraph and just post it on Goodreads. But this one…I have a lot of thoughts about.

This is a classic I’ve had on my TBR for years. I tried to read it a couple years ago but ended up DNFing it. I wanted to give it another chance, because I’ve heard it is one of the most influential Latin American classics. Even though I’ve read a lot of classics from around the world and love the majority of them, I haven’t read many books written and set in South and Central America, so I was happy to read this book. But I ended up just…a little weirded out. I’m beginning to believe magical realism isn’t for me.

Release: 1967

Page Count: 429

Format: Audiobook

Synopsis: This book follows the rise and fall of the fictional town of Macondo through the eyes of the family which founded it, the Buendiá family, far from civilization and forgotten from much of humanity.

Book Review

This book starts with  José Arcadio Buendía and his wife Úrsula Iguarán, who found the town of Macondo in Columbia, leaving civilization behind. Then we follow their successive generations. There is a lot I liked about this book. The flower language, moving and vivid, was great. Obviously I read the English translated version, but I’m hoping because Spanish and English are pretty similar that a lot of the unique language used wasn’t lost in translation. The character, however…were rough. I had such mixed feelings about them. Also, I could understand why the book has so much repetition (the theme of history repeating itself), but it came off as really boring at times.

I swear, a hundred pages in I so badly wanted to strangle someone when one of the male characters jumped into bed with a random girl! It was just so frequent. While I liked the semi-history (fictional, of course) of the war and peace times, the characters were just plan strange. The only character who I really enjoyed was Úrsula, the wife of the founder who lived to be over a hundred. She was hilariously absurd! Everyone else, not so much.

I did really like the ending though. Just as José Arcadio Buendía left civilization with a group to found a random city because he was, well, very eccentric, at the end of the book the town is mostly deserted and has lost all its life. That, and the Buendía family is dying out.

There is also so much symbolism throughout this book! For example, gold is a common color used through the book to illustrate power and imperialism. There is also the motif that cruelty and selfishness leads to destruction and death.

On Goodreads I ended up giving this three stars. While I’m glad I read it, I don’t see myself ever anxious to reread it and I’m currently trying to forget most of the more weird elements in this book. Compared to so many other amazing classics I’ve read though, this one was really meh.

Have you read this book, or heard of it? Do you have any other Latin American classics you would recommend for me to read, because I definitely want to read more? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,


17 thoughts on “Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

  1. I have love and hate relationship with this book. There’s a lot of good absurdity, the amazing writing, and beautiful prose that I loved and disliked for the same reasons you mentioned. The book was far too repetitive and the characters weren’t very enjoyable either. Ursula was my favorite too. The book was amazing in a way and in another way it wasn’t. I’m conflicted about it but will probably never read it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who had issues with this book! Like you said, the prose is so beautiful and it is absurdly humorous, but besides Ursula, all the characters were horrid and the book was repetitive. Like you, I’ll probably never read it again, but I’m glad I read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this one in high school and it’s been my goal to go back and read it on the original Spanish… I’ll have time someday lol. I’d actually recommend some short stories by Latinoamericano authors, especially if you want to try a bit more magical realism to see if you like it. Also, García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold is much more accessible.

    Liked by 2 people

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