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. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.Gabriel Garcia Márquez, in One Hundred Years of Solitude
Last month, I’ve reread One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. I needed to reread it because I love that story and the way it’s written. I needed some magic in the mundane to finish the year that never was.
The first time I read this novel I was in my teens. My grandfather lent me his copy. “I think you’re old enough to read it,” he said. Yet I think it was only now that I was old enough to read it thoroughly.
It all depends on what you expect to feel when you read this book, you know. If I thought it was all amazing the first time, I felt nostalgic this time. In my teens, I felt something in between surprise and admiration. Now, it made me smile in the way we do when we admire something knowing why, and I thought about life and my grandfather, who’s not here anymore with me.
To my surprise back then, I wasn’t confused by the names and episodes of the book. I understood the nuances of the narrative and I fell in love with how Márquez turned ordinary things into something magical or so relevant that it made sense in the middle of all the nonsense.
Yes, the Colonel remembers the day his father took him to discover ice, as he faces the firing squad. Everything that happened from that distant afternoon until this moment built his personality, built his life, and he’s there because of everything he lived so far, or so I understood.
Magic realism. That’s the technical name of it. It’s in Garcia Marquez’s work, it’s in Amélie (2001) when the speed of the flapping of butterfly wings, glasses dancing with the wind on the cloth of a restaurant table in France, and a man erasing his recently deceased best friend’s info from his address book leads to Amélie’s birth.
I love this so much.
And I couldn’t pick any other book to be my first review here. One Hundred Years of Solitude makes us think about the subjectivity of the reality we experience and how we writers can make everything sound interesting. We learn how past, present, and future are completely inseparable, as well as a perfect timeline in our stories. And it proves how powerful it is for us to use the language of our writing voice to write amazing stories of things that may disappear but they don’t just because we register them in remarkable sentences.
This book is not only a masterpiece of the world’s literature, it’s also a writing masterclass.
Can you grab a moment and make it marvelous with its details just by writing about it?
Now, for the comment section…
What magic realism book have you read that lit a spark in your brain and made you look at simple things of daily life in a completely different way?