Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

One Hundred Years of Solitude is considered by many critics to be the most important Latin American novel of the twentieth century and the most important and most famous Spanish-language novel since Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605, 1615). Written during the “boom” in the Latin American novel, the period in the 1960’s during which writers such as Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa wrote their masterpieces, Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude contributed greatly to the Latin American novel’s placement on the world literary map.

Like many Latin American novels, and the most acclaimed ones published in the latter half of the twentieth century, One Hundred Years of Solitude is what is known as a New Novel. It is “new,” or nontraditional (particularly when compared to the Latin American novels of the 1920’s and 1930’s), in many ways, including its version of reality. Macondo, with its characters who die but return as ghosts, its clairvoyant residents, its stream of blood with a mind of its own, its flowers falling from the sky, its young woman ascending to heaven, and its five-year-long rainstorm, for example, presents a reality that is anything but the one to be found in realistic fiction. The book does not slip into pure fantasy, however, but remains in the domain of Magical Realism. Instead of presenting nonrealistic elements side-by-side with realistic ones...

(The entire section is 599 words.)