One Hundred Years of Solitude … Garcia Marquez

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ was born in Aracataca, Colombia in 1928, but he lived most of his life in Mexico and Europe. He attended the University of Bogota and later worked as staff reporter and film critic for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. In addition to ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, he has also written two collections of short fiction, NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL and LEAF STORM. Penslips Magazine intends to present this novel regularly.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE

TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH

BY GREGORY RABASSA

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE

CHARACTERS

Jort Areadio BoendUi

m. Cnula Iguarln , olonel Aurellano Btiendia-,

-Jos6 Areadio

m-Rebeca , m. Remcdios Moscote. Remcdios Moscote , Aurcliano

SIX

“Instead of going around thinking about your crazy inventions, you should be worrying about

your sons,” she replied. “Look at the state they’re in, running wild just like donkeys.”

Jose Arcadio Buendia took his wife’s words literally. He looked out the window and saw the

barefoot children in the sunny garden and he had the impression that only at that instant had they

begun to exist, conceived by Ursula’s spell, Something occurred inside of him then, something

mysterious and definitive that uprooted him from his own time and carried him adrift through an

unexplored region of his memory. While Ursula continued sweeping the house, which was safe now

from being abandoned for the rest of her life, he stood there with an absorbed look, contemplating

the children until his eyes became moist and he dried them with the back of Inis hand, exhaling a

deep sigh of resignation.

“All right,” he said. “Tell them to come help me take the things out of the boxes.”

Jose Arcadio, the older of the children, was fourteen. He had a square head, thick hair, and his

father’s character. Although he had the same impulse for growth and physical strength, it was early

evident that he lacked imagination. He had been conceived and born during the difficult crossing of

the mountains, before the founding of Macondo, and his parents gave thanks to heaven when they

saw he had no animal features. Aureliano, the first human being to be born in Macondo, would be

six years old in March. He was silent and withdrawn. He had wept in his mother’s womb and had

been born with his eyes open. As they were cutting the umbilical cord, he moved his head from side

to side, taking in the tilings in the room and examining the faces of the people with a fearless

curiosity. Then, indifferent to those who came close to look at him, he kept his attention

concentrated on the palm roof, which looked as if it were about to collapse under the tremendous

pressure of the rain. Ursula did not remember the intensity of that look again until one day when

little Aureliano, at the age of three, went into the kitchen at the moment she was taking a pot of

boiling soup from the stove and putting it on the table. The child. Perplexed, said from the doorway,

“It’s going to spill.” The pot was firmly placed in the center of the table, but just as soon as the child

made his announcement, it began an unmistakable movement toward the edge, as if impelled by

some inner dynamism, and it fell and broke on the floor. Ursula, alarmed, told her husband about

the episode, but he interpreted it as a natural phenomenon. That was the way he always was alien to

the existence of his sons, partly because he considered childhood as a period of mental insufficiency,

and partly because he was always too absorbed in his fantastic speculations.

But since the afternoon when he called the children in to help him unpack the things in the

laboratory, he gave them his best hours. In the small separate room, where the walls were gradually

being covered by strange maps and fabulous drawings, he taught them to read and write and do

sums, and he spoke to them about the wonders of the world, not only where his learning had

extended, but forcing the limits of his imagination to extremes. It was in that way that the boys

ended up learning that in the southern extremes of Africa there were men so intelligent and peaceful

that their only pastime was to sit and think, and that it was possible to cross the Aegean Sea on foot

by jumping from island to island all the way to the port of Salonika. Those hallucinating sessions

remained printed on the memories of the boys in such a way that many years later, a second before

the regular army officer gave the firing squad the command to fire. Colonel Aureliano Buendia saw

once more that warm March afternoon on which his father had intermpted the lesson in physics and

stood fascinated, with his hand in the air and his eyes motionless, listening to the distant pipes,

drums, and jingles of the gypsies, who were coming to the village once more, announcing the latest

and most startling discovery of the sages of Memphis.

They were new gypsies, young men and women who knew only their own language, handsome

specimens with oily skins and intelligent hands, whose dances and music sowed a panic of

uproarious joy through the streets, with parrots painted all colors reciting Italian arias, and a hen

who laid a hundred golden eggs to the sound of a tambourine, and a trained monkey who read

minds, and the multi-use machine that could be used at the same time to sew on buttons and reduce

fevers, and the apparatus to make a person forget his bad memories, and a poultice to lose time, and

a thousand more inventions so ingenious and unusual that Jose Arcadio Buendia must have wanted

to invent a memory machine so that he could remember them all. In an instant they transformed the

Village. The inhabitants of Macondo found themselves lost is their own streets, confused by the

Crowded fair. (Contd)

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