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… Pablo Neruda called it “the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote of Cervantes.” William Kennedy deemed it “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.” Harold Bloom, on the other hand, felt the novel to be “rammed full of life beyond the capacity of any single reader to absorb.” To celebrate the 56th publication anniversary of Gabriel García Márquez's multi-generational magical realist opus—the epic tale of seven generations of the Buendía Family in the fictional Columbian town of Macondo—here's a look back at some of the first English language reviews of One Hundred Years of Solitude . * “One has only to read a few pages of Márquez's novel to understand the response it has occasioned. Immediately, the reader senses in its style a simple audaciousness which alerts him to the premise that he is attending to something more than an ordinary chronicle of fiction, that he is being presented, rather, with a work that presumes nothing, that starts from a beginning both in literary and historical time, as if existence itself had no previous records or memories. … “ Cien años de soledad may indeed be a depiction of a time and a culture, but Márquez also makes it clear that his tale is more a dream of art than a collection of social and historical truths, and, at the work's end, when this dream takes on the force of a metaphor for all the cycles of human life that have vanished, one realizes that the excellence of this book lies in its victory over the quaint and anecdotal, in its sustained vision of the vanities and futile passions with which humanity tries to forestall its fate of being, in art and actuality, comically impermanent. … “Márquez forces upon us at every page the wonder and extravagance of life, while compassionately mocking its effusions; and when the […]
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