- Year Published: 1967.
- Pages: 432.
One Hundred Years of Solitude Summary of Chapters
The novel begins with as a flashback, where we see Colonel Aureliano Buendía reminiscing the years that came just after the founding of Macondo. That was the time when a band of gypsies used to bring technological wonders to the isolated and dreamy village. José Arcadio Buendía, the perpetually curious founder of the town, is enamored of these magical marvels. These appeal to the scientist in him, who is ever curious about technology and how things work. After this, the novel now moves backward in time. Úrsula Iguarán and José Arcadio Buendía are cousins born in a small village, the great-grandchildren of the survivors of the attack by Sir Francis Drake on Riohacha.
Úrsula Iguarán discovers a route connecting Macondo with civilization, and as a result, the village begins to transform. The Buendía family grows along with the village, and José Arcadio Buendía plays a key role in the spreading out of both. As the gypsy Melquíades dies, we come to know that he is also the first to die in Macondo. The mourning period comes and goes, and something like true happiness comes over the house: Rebeca and Pietro Crespi are courting in love, and Remedios is becoming closer to her future husband Aureliano. The happiness is like a raging fire that catches everything up, and they feel it will always be like this.
Aureliano was despondent after the death of Remedios and given himself up to solitude, soon finds a bigger object of worry: the upcoming war in between the insurgent Liberals and the Conservative government—and the man who stands for it in Macondo is the magistrate Don Apolinar Moscote. We know that he is Aureliano’s father-in-law. While Arcadio’s dictatorship continues and the war rages, Pietro Crespi proposes marriage to Amaranta, and despite her love for him she cruelly rejects him, and he commits suicide. In terrible sorrow, she burns her hand and uses a black bandage to cover her hand permanently. She would never again remove it till her death, as a reminder of her cruelty to the one she loved.
Fernanda del Carpio gets married to Aureliano Segundo. Though they are estranged soon, they have two children early in their marriage – Meme and Jose Arcadio. Fernanda tries to change the relaxed Buendía house into a copy of her parental aristocratic home. Colonel Aureliano Buendía scornfully declines the Order of Merit. Macondo fast turns into a character more cosmopolitan: luxury imports, photographs, the cinema, and more and more prostitutes arrive there. At last, the enigmatic and solitary José Arcadio Segundo come back around the house and talks to the old Colonel. However, he never responds and instead retracts even more into his shell. The company of even a dear person is now no longer a necessity and he is quietly happy in his own cocoon.
Mauricio Babilonia being paralyzed is a cause of great trauma to Meme and strikes her mute. Fernanda takes Meme on the unending journey back to the city where she was born. Meme is put into a convent, and she spends her remaining life there thinking of Mauricio Babilonia. José Arcadio Segundo lives for the sole purpose of studying and for preserving the memory of the thousands who gave their life in the massacre. The night of the massacre the skies open up and it starts raining and this continues for almost five years. Made into a prisoner by the rain, Aureliano Segundo draws back into a lulled quiet, giving up the recklessness of his earlier years.
Aureliano comes to know that the prophecies are written in Sanskrit. He also learns that they will be uncovered when they are a full hundred years old. The poor Buendías survive on food sent to them by Petra Cotes. Santa Sofía de la Piedad simply walks away giving no signal or message of where she is going. Not long afterward, Fernanda dies, suffering till her last day from nostalgia.
Aureliano is finally able to decipher the ancient prophecies of Melquíades. The history of the Buendía family has been described in them, since the time of the founding of Macondo. He realizes that the text is at that very moment describing his own life. Around him, the wind rips the town apart and erases it from memory.