I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief

Tom Hennigan
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, first published as Cien años de soledad by Editorial Sudamericana in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1967. In our celebrity-obsessed age it is a tale that must spur on many a middle-aged writer toiling away in obscurity. In 1967, Gabriel García Márquez was a penniless forty-year-old journalist and screenwriter who had published some well-regarded but little read novels and short stories. A Colombian living in exile in Mexico City, he was on the fringes of the Latin American literary boom that had already made famous across the region such contemporaries as Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, writers who were beginning to win excited attention too from critics and readers in Europe and North America. García Márquez had just plunged his family into debt writing a book after an epiphany on the road to Acapulco finally revealed the voice with which to tell a story he had been gestating for over two decades. The process had left him so poor that once completed he could not even afford to post all of the manuscript to a publisher in Buenos Aires, being forced instead to send just half of it. On leaving the post office he and his wife went home and pawned a heater, a hairdryer and a liquidiser to raise the money to send the rest. It was worth it. The book was One Hundred Years of Solitude and its publication by Editorial Sudamericana marked not so much a literary landmark as an earthquake, to use Vargas Llosa’s term. The leading lights of the boom immediately declared it an obra maestra. The first edition of eight thousand copies sold out in twenty days and within another month word of mouth quickly transformed it into a sensation all across a continent still giddily exploring a new collective cultural identity which had emerged in the wake of the political and social upheaval of the Cuban Revolution. The story of the Buendía clan and their town of Macondo made an immediate mark on both elite minds and popular culture, getting awed reviews while racking up huge sales in a continent not exactly renowned for its love of reading. By the time it was published in English in 1970 the novel was already widely considered a literary masterpiece, hailed on arrival by The New York Times as “a South American Genesis”. It has since gone on to sell over thirty…

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