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Start your journey with One Hundred Years of Solitude with this short audio intro from Dr. Atefeh Akbari, a specialist in postcolonial literature who is teaching the novel this semester. Listen in as Dr. Akbari explains what makes this novel so magical.

Audio Transcript

Looking for questions to guide your reading experience?

Here are a few starter questions from Dr. Akbari to guide your reading.

1. García Márquez provides us with a family tree at the beginning of the novel. However, it’s still quite impossible to trace the family’s genealogy. What does this tell you about the novel’s preoccupation with genealogy? Why highlight it when it is ultimately undermined?

2. As you’re reading, try to keep the novel’s title in mind. What do you think it means?

3. From the very first sentence, Márquez makes it clear that readers will have a difficult time situating themselves within the narrative’s timeline. How would you describe the narrative’s relationship with and depiction of time? If the narrative is not concerned with depicting time in a linear or structured manner, then why date some events specifically, down to the time of day when they happen? What does time mean to the Buendía family? And what is the novel signaling to us, the readers, about the structure of time and, subsequently, the narration of history?

4. Without giving anything away, I invite you to pay close attention to how Ursula’s storyline wraps up in the novel and what connections you could draw, if any, between the novel’s title and what her character represents in the arc of the novel.

5. As you approach the end of the novel, what relationships do you see being drawn between memory and relics, and subsequently, relics and knowledge? Who has the right to knowledge? What goes into the production of knowledge? And what kinds of knowledge are privileged over others?

Guide to symbolism, themes and the Buendía Family Tree

One Hundred Years of solitude infographic