Critical Insights: One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Living Manuscript:
The Reader as a Character
in One Hundred Years of Solitude
By Gustavo Arango
One Hundred Years of Solitude could be summarized in many ways. We could say that it is the story of six generations of the Buendía family or the history of a tropical town named Macondo. We could even paraphrase some of its critics and call it allegorical, saying that it represents the history of Latin America, or even the adventure of the human race. If we look closely, however, there is an almost invisible topic that gives unity to the whole story: the complementary acts of reading and writing. Aside from the history of the Buendía family or Macondo or Latin America, One Hundred Years of Solitude is also the story of a multigenerational effort to read and understand Melquíades's parchments, a text in which the characters' destiny is foretold and explained. This perspective has been neglected by many readers and critics of García Márquez's novel, perhaps because--like Edgar Allan Poe's purloined letter--it is so visible that it remains unnoticed.