Saturday, 27 May 2017

Macondo: an Inspirational place...

50 years ago today, according to the Guardian, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's finest book (although some might disagree) was published.
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the magic-realist tale of the town of Macondo and the Buendia family and their past, present and future, as predicted by the mysterious Melquiades.
It starts with one of the most memorable first lines in literature:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. 

I first read the book over 35 years ago, and have reread it several times since. It introduced the world to Macondo, and the first paragraph continued:

At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.

The book tells the story of generations of the family, and the fortunes of Macondo over 100 turbulent years.
There are political events such as the arrival of the train, the banana company and the various machinations of different groups. There are magical events, and strange fates played out. People have written about the inspirations for Macondo.

As I start to put my thinking together for some work I'm going to be doing with Peter Knight, funded by the Royal Geographical Society, it's one place that I shall suggest helps to inspire our work to consider Inspirational Places and Landscapes.

Image by Joanne Maciel, and shared under CC license: Non-commercial, no derivatives

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