A&E: Panou’s Paper Panel

Reclusive colonels, ambitious Aurelianos, moss-eating orphans, adventure-going Romani, banana-hurling Gringos, ethereal elevations and enigmatic written texts – the Buendías of the mythical city of Macondo might be the most eccentric family in all of Latin-America. Undoubtedly, Gabriel García Márquez wrote them this way in his classic “100 Years of Solitude” for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, the rise of Latin-American literature in the 20th century is an example of the growing Age of Information, a time where people from all over the world became united in their respective literary cultures. To conjecture that Márquez is an exemplary model of this prime prospect is a claim worthy of anyone’s veneration.

“100 Years of Solitude” is a novel that details 100 years in the lives of several generations of the Colombian Buendía family. It starts with the patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, shortly after many other families ventured deep into the Andes through rocky mountains and rainforests to settle the beautiful city of Macondo, a fictional city that seems all too real through the lives of the countless descendants.

The presence of magical and otherworldly events are written in for a purpose, that being that Márquez and his novels are considered keystones in the movement of Magical Realism. A continuation of the Realist movement in the midst of Postmodernism, Magical Realism sought to blur time and reality by presenting books in between the two. In “100 Years of Solitude,” Márquez withholds plot information. He creates characters that are defined by unnatural lifespans, the ability to levitate and to see folklore in reality. The matriarch of the family, Úrsula Iguarán, is an example of one of these supernatural characters who appear realistic but often end up discombobulating the reader through her magical qualities. In Latin-American literature, this is highly unique but especially beautifully written, offering a magical experience for readers.

Unfortunately, Postmodernism and Márquez may not be for everyone. Despite a relatively common page count, “100 Years of Solitude” demands a lot from the reader: extensive knowledge of literature, Latin-American culture, 19th century history, politics and passion. Yet, if the reader has even a tiny iota of any of these, then an exciting pathway of opportunities open for them with this book. Lyrical, magical and empirical, the potential of Márquez’s “100 Years of Solitude” to enlighten people from around the world is endless.