One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was next on the list. It was written in the 1960s and some have hailed it as one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. Apparently it is a microcosm of Colombian history. Although I'm not intimately acquainted with that subject I was able to see the parallels to colonial history in general - the first settlers living in isolation, the advent of technology with all the good and bad aspects, revolution.
It's a saga of a family that actually spans about 200 years and several generations, although it's hard to tell since some of the characters live to be over 150 years old. I enjoy "family saga novels" but this one was a bit harder to get through than some, not only because it's a bit bizarre but also because so many of the male characters have the same names. I found myself constantly referring to the family tree in the front of the book.
It is a good story though - the archetypes of the characterizations ring true. The translation from the Spanish is well done and reads smoothly.