A hundred years of a town

“Near the end of One Hundred years of Solitude a character finds a parchment manuscript in which the history of his family had been recorded “one hundred years ahead of time” by an old gypsy. The writer “had not put events in the order of man’s conventional time, but had concentrated a century of daily episodes in such a way that they coexisted in one instant.” The narrative is a magician’s trick in which memory and prophecy, illusion and reality are mixed and often made to look the same.”

–1970 New York Times book review of One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


What does it take to record a history 100 years ahead of time? Conventional time isn’t applicable to all places. For a century of events to coexist in an instant, the place itself would have to be pretty set in stone. There’d have to be a need for the place.  The past and the foreseeable future would be one and the same if there were a need for a place to exist. Gabriel Garcia Marquez understood human need.  


The novel One Hundred Years of Solitude itself has elements that prophesied the next 100 years. It was written in 1967. At the beginning of the novel,  there’s the following passage:

“For the price of five reales, people could look into the telescope and see the gypsy woman at arm’s length away. “Science has eliminated distance,” Melquiades proclaimed. “In a short time, man will be able to see what is happening in any place in the world without having to leave his house.” 


The fictional town in the novel could be a town in Colombia, it could be Amarillo, it could be the whole world as small town. When there’s a need for a place to exist, it’s all the same town.  When there’s need, memory and prophecy, illusion and reality might as well be the same.

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Thank you for helping me to feel more okay in needing. 


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