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One Hundred Years of Solitude

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez seamlessly blends the real with the supernatural, allowing the reader to be transported on a century-long odyssey.  Although most of his works are fictional, Marquez admits that “all my writing has been about the experiences of the time I spent with my grandparents”.  In fact, Marquez ended up writing One Hundred Years of Solitude as if his grandmother was telling the story.  One Hundred Years of SolitudeMarquez’s grandmother told her stories “with a brick face” , which meant her facial expression never changed.  Her stories contained elements of both the real and the supernatural.  To Marquez, her “brick face” meant that she believed completely in her stories, and that was how he set out to write his story.   

Being a cynical person by nature, I was surprised how Márquez had me believing in magic and the supernatural throughout the novel.  Normally, when I read a piece of literature, I rely on the writing to enhance my belief in the story.  The novel is full of supernatural occurrences that fit into the story so well they appear logical.  I cannot recollect a novel that I have read twice back to back in a short space of time.  I found that I was so eager to see what befell the characters next that I raced through the book once and then read it again more slowly.  The novel is so rich that each time I read it; I discover something new and interesting.

When you consider the time period during which Marquez’s grandmother lived, it is not surprising that her stories involve elements of the supernatural. The war is the central reason for this due to the following factors:

  1. She would have been growing up during a period of nearly constant civil wars in Colombia. 
  2. The there is an underlying theme of war throughout the novel as well. 
  3. The story itself reflects the social and political climate in Latin America during the civil wars.

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