Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Review by: Jorge Fernandez, former vice president of global commerce at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, consultant at Pendleton Group
One Hundred Years of Solitude, or its original title in Spanish, Cien Años de Soledad, was a required academic reading many years ago when I was a student. At face value it could be classified as a historical novel, but it really diverts on a path of a “magical realism,” giving the author the freedom to modify chronologies.
This “art of the distortion,” as some authors and critics of fiction call the technique, still faithfully maintains historical truths which continue to influence modern thinking.
Strategically, the plot of Garcia Marquez’s novel is not told from the conventional notion of a sequential timeline. Instead, he brings readers in by witty, entertaining and radical narratives about a multi-generational fictional family. Their daily realities intertwine each of the respective members’ moments — spanning a century — with the complexities of time, which makes the characters appear to be present today and relatable to the reader.
Yet the endgame in the novel’s fictitious South American town frames present-day political realities across Latin America. Somehow, even removed from today by history and genre, the novel is able to intimate some of the complexities of geopolitics in a region that has recently seen continent-wide protests reflecting widespread dissatisfaction.
Re-reading Cien Años de Soledad with accrued life experience across personal and professional dimensions has helped me better appreciate my own life, my historical view and Garcia Marquez’s work — with one exception: I’ve had the privilege of living without the curse of solitude.
Read Global Atlanta Managing Editor Trevor Williams’ review of One Hundred Years of Solitude here:
Read previous reviews by Jorge Fernandez below:
Editor’s note: This review is part of Global Atlanta’s annual project asking influential readers and community leaders to review the most impactful book they read during the course of the year. This endeavor has continued each year since 2010. Purchases through the affiliate links at top will provide a commission to Global Atlanta. All books were chosen and reviews written independently, with only mild editing from our staff.