book : Gabriel García Márquez | One Hundred Years of Solitude
song : Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin | Manhã de Carnaval
This is a very special post for many reasons:
- The writer is greatly loved by my bestfriend, Galih Wismoyo
- The song has too many memories
- The Penguin cover competition which I use as images
- The fact that probably this is one of the best books ever written
Now, where do I start? The beauty of Gabriel García Márquez’s writing in this showpiece might best discussed by lining up its themes. These themes are simply a device I created to understand deeply about the book.
Period | Time
”…time was not passing. It was turning in a circle…“
As in every novel of Márquez, the time is never linear for his characters. The book utters the story of Buendia family and the imaginary town of Macondo. Ursula, one of the member of the family is trapped in a circle of time. Moments become befuddled as she discharges reminiscence from her childhood. Other character finds time as a stuttering path with collisions hence the likelihood that it would shattered and leave behind abiding fragments.
Death | Destiny
”They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.”
The plot has a distinct resemblance with Athenian tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus (often called Oedipus Rex). After the first sign of darkness, death becomes a prominent theme implied differently to each character. It becomes a daunting existence, articulated as clear-sighted along the line where the stage of demise grow stronger. Through wet season, funeral arrangements turn into strenuous voyages experienced by a family who for a hundred years put their effort to avoid having a descendant with pig’s tail. Thus, their attempts to prevent eventually grows into a graphic nightmare. They endure the agony of birth, adjusting to the premonition that their children will be dictators and bastards. As Oedipus Rex suggests, the endeavor to dodge a prophecy ends up as predestined fate.
Passion | Love
”There is always something left to love.”
An interesting character in the book that conveys the token of cursed love is Remedios. Her beauty kills. Every single person who strives for her love, dies. The pursuit for her attention provoke acrimony amidst siblings and the sacrifice of a harmless soul. An honest passion is rendered in the book as a joyful occurrence without making it sounds offensive and eerie. Aureliano’s passion for his mistress ignites a fecund and prosper life for the family. Regardless, love is pictured as a physical sensation, like a pebble in his shoes. And for some dreadful parts, drives a man to death.
”Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction.”
The writer didn’t define solitude as isolation, yet it’s a fated concealment or an unstable compulsion. Furthermore, it infects others if someone is in the solitary circle. Márquez illustrates this circle as a place submerged with lies until it obscures the reality. Amaranta, in example. The coldness of her attitude resulted from constant repudiations (read: being a virgin). She persists to bandage her hand as a sign of seclusion unto death. The lone atmosphere is formed by the narration, a genius scheme to fuse misconception, prophecy and physical existence and had them layered with the same facade. Aureliano, on the other hand, is genuinely alone. He’s held captive within the house almost all his life and has no activity besides decrypting the parchments of Melquiades, one of a gypsy band who always visits Macondo every year.
It’s difficult to break down the themes without making it sound contrived, complex, nonsensical and probably unthinkable to read, while actually One Hundred Years of Solitude is nothing but those terms. It took me half a day to finish this post because the degree of intricacy is very high and frail to describe. Yet though I find this book very, very, very hard to study within the first read-through, digesting it was a supreme pleasure. Concocted of family enigma, perplexing conflicts and idiosyncrasies; the story—in point of fact—makes sense. This is a validation of how great Márquez is.