What word or phrase should be used to describe a story that takes place over a long period of time (e.g. a few years, a few decades, etc.)?

For example, Gabriel García Márquez's famous novel One Hundred Years of Solitude takes place over seven generations of the Buendía family. What word or phrase could be used to describe the story?

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a ____, that is, it occurs over a long period of time.

  • 2
    How about epic?. Seems to cover part of it.
    – Mynamite
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


A Saga:

  • Also called saga novel, a form of novel that chronicles the members or generations of a family or social group.

  • (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a series of events or a story stretching over a long period.



I don't think there is a noun that accurately describes what you are asking for (epic and saga, for example, describe a lot more than the time-frame of the work they describe). However, the adjective 'multi-generational' might be what you're looking for, as in "One Hundred Years of Solitude is a multi-generational novel.

  • Actually a 'saga novel' is a multigenerational novel by definition! :)
    – user66974
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 21:27

'Chronicle drama'--a story taking place over several or many years (Merriam-Webster). Usually, when discussing a chronicle drama such as a play, a novel or a tv mini-series, the word 'drama' is dropped. The drama is simply referred to as a 'chronicle'.

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