Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Love in the Time of Cholera

Availability: Ready to download

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.


Compare
Ads Banner

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

30 review for Love in the Time of Cholera

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    LET ME EXPLAIN, GUYS. Okay. I like Marquez. I think his writing is beautiful, his settings are evocative and masterfully portrayed, and yes, his books are pretty romantic, and I always enjoy magical realism (this one could have used more of that last bit, though). The last twenty pages of the book even manged to suck me into the romance of the story, and I found myself finally really invested in this love story instead of being vaguely creeped out (we'll get there). Look, I even found a really LET ME EXPLAIN, GUYS. Okay. I like Marquez. I think his writing is beautiful, his settings are evocative and masterfully portrayed, and yes, his books are pretty romantic, and I always enjoy magical realism (this one could have used more of that last bit, though). The last twenty pages of the book even manged to suck me into the romance of the story, and I found myself finally really invested in this love story instead of being vaguely creeped out (we'll get there). Look, I even found a really nice passage to quote: "It was as if they had leapt over the arduous calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death." See? That's fucking beautiful, and even if I didn't like the story itself, I still liked the writing. So call off the dogs, Marquez apologists, and let's get to the ranting portion of the review. Fair warning to all who proceed past this point: I am preparing to don my Feminist Rage hat and shout about rape culture. Those who plan to leave mean comments calling me an idiot or telling me that I misunderstood the book, remember that you were warned. BEWARE, FOR HERE BE DRAGONS AND ANGRY FEMINISTS. Here's something I learned about myself while reading this: I have absolutely no patience for books about obsession disguised as love. I hated it in Twilight, I hated it in Wuthering Heights, I hated it in The Phantom of the Opera, and I hated it here. It would be one thing, I decided, if Fermina Daza felt as passionately about Florentino Ariza as he felt about her. But she didn't love him. For her, their romance was a brief fling in her teens, and she stopped loving him when she returned from her trip. She continued not loving him, until he wears her down (after writing her letters constantly despite her explicitly telling him to fuck off out of her life) and she basically shrugs her shoulders and says, fine, might as well. The lesson men can take from this book is that if a woman says "no" (as Fermina frequently and clearly says to Florentino), she really means, "make me change my mind." NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE. THIS PHILOSOPHY IS NOT OKAY AND IT IS WHY RAPE CULTURE EXISTS. NO MEANS FUCKING NO, EVERYBODY. IF A WOMAN TELLS YOU TO LEAVE HER ALONE, YOU LEAVE HER THE FUCK ALONE. IT IS NOT ROMANTIC TO OBSESS ABOUT HER FOR FIFTY YEARS, IT IS CREEPY. And OF COURSE Florentino still fucks anything that moves while claiming to be in love with Fermina, because he is a man and that's just how it works. Which leads me to my next ranting point: this book romanticizes rape. (you can still get out, guys - it's only going to get worse from here) First there was the intensely unsettling way Florentino loses his virginity: while traveling on a ship, a woman drags him into her cabin and forces him to have sex with her. Then Florentino falls in love with her. Because of course he does. I was willing to chalk this scene up to the common misconception that men cannot be sexually assaulted because men are horny dogs who are always up for sex no matter what - fine, whatever, I'll let it go. But then later, a minor female character describes the time she got raped, and I'm going to let you guys read this while I do yoga breaths in the corner and count to ten slowly: "When she was still very young, a strong, able man whose face she never saw took her by surprise, threw her down on the jetty, ripped her clothes off, and made instantaneous and frenetic love to her. Lying there on the rocks, her body covered with cuts and bruises, she had wanted that man to stay forever so she could die of love in his arms." ... Once more with feeling: NOPE. AND THEN, as the creepy pedophilic cherry on top of this rape sundae, Florentino's last affair is with a child. When he is in his sixties. The best part is that he doesn't even use the classic pedophile's defense of "yes, she's young, but she ACTS like a grown woman!" No, Florentino sees that this child is going to be smoking hot when she grows up, and decides that he can't wait that long. Then this passage happens: "She was still a child in every sense of the word, with braces on her teeth and the scrapes of elementary school on her knees, but he saw right away the kind of woman she was soon going to be, and he cultivated her during a slow year of Saturdays at the circus, Sundays in the park with ice cream, childish late afternoons, and he won her confidence, he won her affection, he led her by the hand, with the gentle astuteness of a kind grandfather, toward his secret slaughterhouse." The hero of Love in the Time of Cholera, ladies and gentlemen. Let's give him a round of applause. If anyone wants to join me in the corner, I will be staying here for the rest of the week.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    5 "masculine, organic, decaying...." stars ! 8th Favorite Read of 2016 Do not make the mistake that this book is about love. This book is about much more common vices. Vices that masquerade for love. Jealousy, obsession, desire, pity and vengeance. Perpetually selfish penises promising but only perjuring voluminous misunderstood vaginas. Men using women that use men. The demise of the body, civilization, disease, poverty, stolen riches, subservience, slavery. Sexual abuse in the guise of parental 5 "masculine, organic, decaying...." stars ! 8th Favorite Read of 2016 Do not make the mistake that this book is about love. This book is about much more common vices. Vices that masquerade for love. Jealousy, obsession, desire, pity and vengeance. Perpetually selfish penises promising but only perjuring voluminous misunderstood vaginas. Men using women that use men. The demise of the body, civilization, disease, poverty, stolen riches, subservience, slavery. Sexual abuse in the guise of parental guidance. Smothering overindulgent mothers psychologically killing sons and maiming daughters. Beauty and comfort for the very few. Shades of skin as important as class and wealth. Narcissism, poetry and empty years of mindless despair. Rot, sickeningly sweet perfumes, theft and unknown history. Oh no, do not misunderstand -this book is not about love. Anything but.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Newman

    I previously read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and I liked it a lot, and I was intruiged by the title "Love in the Time of Cholera" so I thought I'd read it. Within the first few pages I had the inkling I didn't like it, but sometimes it takes books a little while to get warmed up. Plus, I don't like starting a book and not finishing it, because I know I'll never go back to a book I stopped reading because I didn't like it, and if I stop reading it, I'll never know if I would have liked the I previously read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and I liked it a lot, and I was intruiged by the title "Love in the Time of Cholera" so I thought I'd read it. Within the first few pages I had the inkling I didn't like it, but sometimes it takes books a little while to get warmed up. Plus, I don't like starting a book and not finishing it, because I know I'll never go back to a book I stopped reading because I didn't like it, and if I stop reading it, I'll never know if I would have liked the rest of it. So I forged ahead and completed the whole book. First off, the magical realism that made "100 yrs. of Solitude" so gripping was not as prevalent in "Cholera." I actually only saw it a few times in the entire novel, unless it was so well-done that it was just perfectly woven into the book and I didn't notice. I doubt that though...but this was easy to get over; I mean, it's a different book, so it was bound to be, well, different from "100...Solitude." But I guess my conservative / religious side was riled up by the rest of the book. It portrays everyone as being incredibly sex-oriented. Men, women, everyone. And not "morally" so, if you know what I mean. Everyone sleeps around, while married and while unmarried. And the tone of the book seemed to be saying that that's expected - quite frankly, like the more sex a person has, most of the time with the more people, the more normal and in some ways the more gifted they are. I'm generalizing quite a bit, not getting into the specifics of the story and my reactions to them, however. Now this book is on Oprah's book club list and she said it's "the greatest love story" she's ever heard. Alright...if a good love story equals someone "waiting" for their true love, where waiting means having sex with everything that moves. And now they're making a movie. The tag says "Florentino, rejected by the beautiful Fermina at a young age, devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart." ?? I guess I can see how you can read the book that way. I guess I just don't prefer books where carnal affairs are the center. And I didn't read it that way. It didn't seem to me that the carnal affairs were a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart. They seemed like he just wanted to have sex in the meantime. SOMEWHAT SPOILER ALERT BUT NOT REALLY:::::you cannot declare yourself a virgin just b/c you didn't love the hundreds of people you had sex with before your "one true love." What bothered me I think was that in the end, I couldn't tell if the novel was condoning a life of promiscuity as long as it leads to one "true" love, or if it was condemning its character's behavior in some ways. I tend to lean towards thinking it wasn't really condemning it though. I probably missed something, I'm sure. Because not being sure what a book was saying is not usually the book's fault. In some ways it should have been titled "Sex in the Time of Cholera," because the term "love" was used instead of "sex" almost constantly, and obviously, those are two very different things.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    Can unrequited love last a lifetime? That’s the premise of this book. A 76-year-old man pines for a woman all his life. Now her husband has died. Does he still have a chance? Actually they were in love as teenagers, but they mostly exchanged secret notes. She was guarded by her nanny and when her father discovered the relationship, he took his daughter away for three years. It worked. When they returned the young girl no longer loved the boy and she married a man who became a prominent and Can unrequited love last a lifetime? That’s the premise of this book. A 76-year-old man pines for a woman all his life. Now her husband has died. Does he still have a chance? Actually they were in love as teenagers, but they mostly exchanged secret notes. She was guarded by her nanny and when her father discovered the relationship, he took his daughter away for three years. It worked. When they returned the young girl no longer loved the boy and she married a man who became a prominent and wealthy doctor. The doctor’s claim to fame was cleaning up the Colombian city of the open sewers that led to the disease. In 1900 we’re told the man is 40, so you can figure out the time frame. He has an uncle who runs the local steamboat river shipping company. He starts out sweeping the docks, becomes a clerk, and over the years eventually rises to manager. As he does so, he attends various cultural events in the city and occasionally sees his beloved. She and her husband are the most socially prominent people in the city. Sometimes he gets a smile or a nod from her; sometimes not. Meanwhile he visits prostitutes and has long standing affairs with several women. Some aren’t sexual. He even has an affair with his 14-year old niece, ending in tragedy. The story alternates between his story and hers. The constant civil wars of Colombia are a background to the story. Finally her husband dies and, having not talked with her for 51 years, he makes his move. There is excellent writing as we would expect. Some passages I liked: “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” At one point the woman learns her husband has been unfaithful and he admits it and weeps. She is disappointed because he did not do what she had hoped he would do: “…deny everything, and swear on his life it was not true, and grow indignant at the false accusation…even when confronted with crushing proofs of his disloyalty.” “She was a ghost in a strange house that overnight had become immense and solitary and through which she wandered without purpose, asking herself in anguish which of them was deader: the man who had died or the woman he had left behind.” “Always remember that the most important thing in a marriage is not happiness, but stability.” “ ’No, [I’m] not rich,’ he said, ‘I am a poor man with money which is not the same thing.’ ” An excellent book. I had read this years ago and I should have re-read it sooner. A classic from the master of Latin American literature that I will add to my favorites. Photos from top: A street in Cartagena from cartagenaexplorer.com Steam ships on the Magdalena river around 1873 from media.istockphoto.com/illustrations The author from okdiario.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    MsAprilVincent

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't like this book. I don't like the characters. (This was going to be a list, but then I realized that this is the only reason I have.) Florentino Ariza is a baby. Seriously, his mom gives him whatever he wants, and she tries to make everything all right for him, and he is very, very ... if he lived today, he would be one of those emo kids with the dyed black hair and the eye liner and the journals full of bad poetry (he does write bad poetry, in the book), all "Nobody gets me," and just a I don't like this book. I don't like the characters. (This was going to be a list, but then I realized that this is the only reason I have.) Florentino Ariza is a baby. Seriously, his mom gives him whatever he wants, and she tries to make everything all right for him, and he is very, very ... if he lived today, he would be one of those emo kids with the dyed black hair and the eye liner and the journals full of bad poetry (he does write bad poetry, in the book), all "Nobody gets me," and just a grating, time-sucking, high maintenance type. He rationalizes his behavior in whatever way he can, so he never feels that he is doing anything wrong. I grew impatient with him fairly quickly; I wanted to wring him by his neck and yell, "GET OVER IT!!!" I have no tolerance for that kind of behavior. Sometime during the Seduction of the 600, it says that Florentino Ariza thought that when a woman said no, she really meant something else (that's a paraphrase). This is another thing I have no tolerance for. So, when he persisted in his attentions to Fermina Daza, even after she'd made her own feelings quite clear (TWICE), and she came around to his way of thinking, it justified his behavior. I don't think he should be rewarded for that. I think he should be kicked to the curb. Fermina Daza was almost likable; I was almost there with her, but then I realized that there wasn't anything really likable about her. She was efficient and organized, she was well-behaved, and she was boring. Why did men love her? What did she have to offer? I DON'T KNOW. I did like Juvenal Urbino. Of course he dies in the first chapter. It seemed to me that the book dragged on FOREVER; I kept looking ahead to the end of a chapter and sighing, "Forty-two more pages." (The chapters are long.) Even though two weeks doesn't seem like a long time, it's a long time for ME to be reading a book, particularly one that isn't a thousand pages long and written in Elizabethan English. I didn't think this was any kind of love story. Like Wuthering Heights, it's more a love-gone-wrong story, or an obsession story; none of the characters really displayed any of the traits that I would associate with love, one which--the chief one, I would say--is selflessness. None of them were willing to put anyone else above themselves, and maybe that's why I didn't particularly care for them, or for this book. I've written a more in-depth review here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    236. El amor en los tiempos del cólera = Love in the time of cholera, Gabriel García Márquez Love in the Time of Cholera (Spanish: El amor en los tiempos del cólera) is a novel by Nobel prize winner Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez first published in Spanish in 1985. Alfred A. Knopf published an English translation in 1988, and an English-language movie adaptation was released in 2007. The main characters of the novel are Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Florentino and Fermina fall in 236. El amor en los tiempos del cólera = Love in the time of cholera, Gabriel García Márquez Love in the Time of Cholera (Spanish: El amor en los tiempos del cólera) is a novel by Nobel prize winner Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez first published in Spanish in 1985. Alfred A. Knopf published an English translation in 1988, and an English-language movie adaptation was released in 2007. The main characters of the novel are Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Florentino and Fermina fall in love in their youth. A secret relationship blossoms between the two with the help of Fermina's Aunt Escolástica. They exchange several love letters. However, once Fermina's father, Lorenzo Daza, finds out about the two, he forces his daughter to stop seeing Florentino immediately. When she refuses, he and his daughter move in with his deceased wife's family in another city. Regardless of the distance, Fermina and Florentino continue to communicate via telegraph. However, upon her return, Fermina realizes that her relationship with Florentino was nothing but a dream since they are practically strangers; she breaks off her engagement to Florentino and returns all his letters. A young and accomplished national hero, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, meets Fermina and begins to court her. Despite her initial dislike of Urbino, Fermina gives in to her father's persuasion and the security and wealth Urbino offers, and they wed. Urbino is a medical doctor devoted to science, modernity, and "order and progress". He is committed to the eradication of cholera and to the promotion of public works. He is a rational man whose life is organized precisely and who greatly values his importance and reputation in society. He is a herald of progress and modernization. Even after Fermina's engagement and marriage, Florentino swore to stay faithful and wait for her. However, his promiscuity gets the better of him. Even with all the women he is with, he makes sure that Fermina will never find out. Meanwhile, Fermina and Urbino grow old together, going through happy years and unhappy ones and experiencing all the reality of marriage. At an elderly age, Urbino attempts to get his pet parrot out of his mango tree, only to fall off the ladder he was standing on and die. After the funeral, Florentino proclaims his love for Fermina once again and tells her he has stayed faithful to her all these years. Hesitant at first because of the advances he made to a newly made widow, Fermina eventually gives him a second chance. They attempt a life together, having lived two lives separately for over five decades. Urbino's function in the novel is to contrast with Florentino Ariza and his archaic and boldly romantic love. Urbino proves in the end not to have been an entirely faithful husband, confessing one affair to Fermina many years into their marriage. Though the novel seems to suggest that Urbino's love for Fermina was never as spiritually chaste as Florentino Ariza's was, it also complicates Florentino's devotion by cataloging his many trysts as well as a few potentially genuine loves. By the end of the book, Fermina comes to recognize Florentino's wisdom and maturity, and their love is allowed to blossom during their old age. عنوانها: عشق در زمان وبا؛ عشق سالهای وبا؛ عشق در سال‌های وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 1995 میلادی عنوان: عشق سالهای وبا؛ مترجم: مهناز سیف طلوعی؛ مدبر، 1369، در 508 ص؛ تهران، نشر نیک، 1373، در 512 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان کلمبیائی - سده 20 م عنوان: عشق در سالهای وبا؛ مترجم: اسماعیل قهرمانی؛ تهران، روزگار، 1383، در 525 ص؛ چاپ پنجم زمستان 1388 عنوان: عشق در زمان وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: بهمن فرزانه؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1385، در 542 ص؛ عنوان: عشق سالهای وبا؛ مترجم: کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، آریابان، 1385، در 520 ص؛ چاپ سیزدهم اردیبهشت 1393، در 520 ص کتاب عشق سالهای وبا، در باره ی یک عشق قدیمی، بین یک دختر و پسر، و زنده شدن دوباره ی عشق بین آنها در زمان پیری، و پس از درگذشت شوهر دختر است. در این داستان زیبا و عاشقانه، روحیات شخصیتها بخوبی تصویر شده است. نقل از کتاب: عقل زمانی به سراغ انسان میآید که دیگر کاری از پیش نمیبرد. پایان نقل مقدمه مترجم: عشق سرخ است؛ سرخ سرخ، به رنگ خون، با همان صلابت، که از عقیق زخم سینه، به بیرون میتراود، و شقايق و لاله، بر گستره ی زمين، میپرورد. عشق آبی نيست؛ اگر اندوهی دارد، میرا و فانی، و شادیهایش اما، جاودانی ست. هرگز نمیمیرد، جان میبخشد، و گاهی نيز، جان میستاند؛ ولی هميشه، زنده است. تنها در صورتی در لحظه ی مرگ افسوس خواهم خورد، که مرگم به خاطر عشق نباشد. هرچه در مورد یک عشق اتفاق بیفتد، بر همه عشقها در سراسر جهان اثر خواهد گذاشت. پایان نقل از مقدمه؛ ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    DNF at page 218. This is tough for me to admit. I hate not finishing books but I cannot carry on with this any longer when I am not enjoying it and I have so many other books I could be reading instead. The writing is tedious. Focused on a man rejected when he was young and his infatuation with this woman for years afterwards. He sleeps with numerous other women, as we are shown in detail. His first love marries another, but he still cannot move on. His obsession borders on the creepy, he never DNF at page 218. This is tough for me to admit. I hate not finishing books but I cannot carry on with this any longer when I am not enjoying it and I have so many other books I could be reading instead. The writing is tedious. Focused on a man rejected when he was young and his infatuation with this woman for years afterwards. He sleeps with numerous other women, as we are shown in detail. His first love marries another, but he still cannot move on. His obsession borders on the creepy, he never really knew her that well in the beginning anyway let alone to call it true love. I’m fed up, so I’m giving up. No rating.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    This review is now also available at The Bombay Literary Magazine (TBLM): The Infinite Capacity for Illusion The words I am about to express: They now have their own crowned goddess. THE INFINITE CAPACITY FOR ILLUSION Whither The Magic? One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favorite novels. Which is why, when I started reading Love in the Time of Cholera, one of the things I noticed immediately was the lack of the subtle brand of magic that I had so enjoyed. I missed it and was on the This review is now also available at The Bombay Literary Magazine (TBLM): The Infinite Capacity for Illusion The words I am about to express: They now have their own crowned goddess. THE INFINITE CAPACITY FOR ILLUSION Whither The Magic? One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favorite novels. Which is why, when I started reading Love in the Time of Cholera, one of the things I noticed immediately was the lack of the subtle brand of magic that I had so enjoyed. I missed it and was on the lookout for it. I wanted it badly and went around every corner with the expectation of a cheerful reunion. But it was not to be. As Pynchon says: the “reality” of love and the possibility of its ultimate extinction become Love’s “indispensable driving forces,” whereas magic in all its guises and forms becomes peripheralized or “at least more thoughtfully deployed in the service of an expanded vision, matured, darker than before but no less clement”.  Why this marginalization of the extraordinary? Why this deliberate move towards realism? Why no Magic? I kept asking myself this as I read, and beyond. Was I to understand that it is because Love in itself is Magic? That was too cheesy, even for Márquez who never shies from telling me a cheesy sub-story if it needs to be told. Or is it because Love in the Time of Cholera is to seen as the product of a more experienced author, who no longer needs the resources of magic realism and hyperbole to surprise the reader? One thing was sure, Love in the Time of Cholera is not only about Love, even when it pervades every page. Indeed, it covers, through its characters’ wide amorous and business interests, an entire era and all the social classes, spanning over fifty years of Latin American life, from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the first two or three of the twentieth. Love in the Time of Cholera, while on a much smaller scale than One Hundred Years of Solitude, deals with the Colombian civil wars of this period and the violence left in its wake. Márquez however wants these historical and political concerns to be passed largely unnoticed by the reader. While One Hundred Years of Solitude disguises the political themes through the uses of myth, fantasy, hyperbole, and magic realism, Love in the Time of Cholera disguises them through its depiction of an eternal, sometimes exasperating, almost unrealistic love affair, one which flouts the conventions of every love story the reader might have come across. Love in the Time of Cholera is often quite bleak due to this veering towards stark Realism, to this occasional historical invasion of the narrative. Much of this realism arises from Death and Decay - the central themes of the novel. However, Márquez does not completely give up on Idealism either. In fact he is neither an Idealistic or a Realistic author - he is just a supremely eloquent voice speaking from the vantage-point of his own old age and wisdom. To me, Love in the Time of Cholera is a magnificently gloomy novel though Márquez’s masterful sorcery masks it well, with his verbal cascades of descriptions and his narrative’s seductiveness. Márquez’s novels are almost invariably gloomy. They are apocalyptic. They are decadence distilled. Then why the popularity? Why do we love them? Why are we uplifted? Is it because of Márquez’s enthusiastic exuberance?  I think it is because of the Quixotic Heroism of the people who populate these doomed worlds. It is this heroism that veils the Apocalyptic forebodings that pack so densely like storm clouds throughout the firmament his novels. After all, Consider how during the entire time he waits to talk to Fermina again (fifty-one years, nine months, and four days) Florentine Ariza is dauntless and never ever gives up even the slightest sliver of hope. Nothing could shake this man: “And how long do you think we can keep up this goddamn coming and going?” he asked. Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights. “Forever,” he said. The Heart of Darkness: Death & Decay There is so much I would like to say about this amazing novel. There are so many themes that could be explored. But in this review I will try to focus on the Beginning and the Ending of this intricately structured novel, and try to tease out the the thread that explains the absence of Magic. The whole novel is too broad a canvas to be explored in a review. For this, I limit myself to the broad themes of Death, Decay & Redemption, and allow the political, ecological, societal and personal aspects of these themes to play themselves out below the current, so to speak. The Institutions of Love: Inventing Love He was aware that he did not love her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength, and also because of some vanity on his part, but as she kissed him for the first time he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love. They did not speak of it that first night, when they spoke of everything until dawn, nor would they ever speak of it. But in the long run, neither of them had made a mistake. The theme of Juvenal’s love story is about the incompatibility of love and social convention, the conflict between desire and social life. It is quite easily the crucial conundrum the novel wants to solve - the 'other' to the novel's essence. Security, order, happiness - can these when added together in the right proportions provide an equation for Love?  For the sort of Love that can stop the decay that seems to have beset the entire world? Apparently not. It is not enough. Through Juvenal’s invented Love, Márquez is not simply criticizing the institution of marriage, instead he is criticizing the very illusion that allows this - the illusion that the world and the worldly goods and pleasures can produce Love. Instead Márquez wants to show that it is Love that can create (or recreate) the world. Ultimately Love is love of Love itself, not merely the desire for its actual attainment or even the act of its fulfillment. Passion is its own object. Pitted against such an impossible ideal, all convention or institutionalization obstructs love’s ultimate goal, which is to forestall death and decay. The ultimate goal of Love is to save the world, to create it anew. Gerontophobia & Ecocide: Destroying Love So why is this world so much in need of saving? The cosmic decline in Love seems to be the cause for alarm, the cause for the pervasive decay that invades the world of the novel: Everything in this novel, from the environment, to the city, to the rebels, to the civil wars, to the people, to the pets are ancient - as if they were part of this earth from the very beginning, but everybody is in the throes of love. And everything ancient is also decaying, sliding slowly towards the final end of death - so is the sadness and the conventional love represented by Juvenal. But it is not just about the human lives. Márquez writes as much about places as about people. This one is also about the death of a river, of a town, of a society… or murder, rather. Of Nature’s Old Age inflicted prematurely by youthful humanity. This is the ecological sub-theme of the novel - It is the river, finally, the Great Magdalena (in Spanish, the “river of life”) that highlights this for us. The abundant nature that surrounds the town is caught in a process of irreversible decay. Alligators, manatees, monkeys, and birds disappear from the jungle; toward the end, the riverboats have difficulty finding enough wood for their boilers. While the political urgency of this topic is clear, cosmic decline in Love in the Time of Cholera has a different meaning and is linked to the theme of the interruption of love discussed before. Paralleling the old age of his characters with the decay envisioned by this ecological wasteland (of their own making), Márquez is pointing out to us the true nature of Decay - of Humans and their self inflicted sufferings bringing the decay of old age upon themselves and upon the whole of nature. This is the central tenet of the novel - Love in the Time of Decay. However, there is more. And Márquez is not afraid to set this counter theme out in the very opening scene itself: The Sweet Smell of Bitter Almonds Counter to the dark theme of decay that is to be developed for most of the rest of the plot, early in the novel, an act of brave revolt against this inevitability establishes the counter-current against the steady march of decay. Jérémiah de Saint-Amour (soon forgotten and never again mentioned) takes this revolutionary step (again drawing our attention the continuous revolution in which the political life of the novel is set) by choosing to die before decay sets in. This act initiates the long debate that runs throughout the novel about Love and its objective - are we to preserve Love at the expense of Life or to preserve Life through Love? By raising this question so early, by calculating his suicide long beforehand, by choosing to end the world than to let it go to rot, to see it rot, Saint-Amour stays alive through the rest of the novel, haunting it. Being a witness to the decay of love was the most unbearable to Saint-Amour, the Saint of Love? What we see dramatized at the end of the book, however, is the possibility of genuine passion and romance in old age. There is a clear contrast between Saint-Amour’s suicide and the protracted love life of Florentino Ariza, but it is a contrast that conceals a profound affinity. Saint-Amour kills himself to preserve his body from decay, to fix its image, as it were, through death. Love and decay, then, constitute the double focus of this novel, the former being present in countless ways throughout. Love in The Time of Cholera: The Post-Apocalyptic Paradise … his mother was terrified because his condition did not resemble the turmoil of love so much as the devastation of cholera. Every page of this novel is rammed full of love, beyond the capacity of any reader to fully comprehend. Love is in the air like Malaria; and in the water, like Cholera - its infections are inescapable! All aspects of love are covered in exquisite detail - from teenage love to old age; from sexual to rapine to platonic; from formal courtship to marital to unconsummated; to unrequited love to the excesses of suicide and adultery; from the mundane normalcy of love to the incestuous abnormalities. The reader has to consider carefully in the midst of this overwhelming abundance and variety the treatment that Márquez gives to love in this novel. Love in the novel is not the purely romantic love -carefree, easy flowing, spontaneous, and idealized. Instead, the novel’s great affirmation of romance, is in the face not just of a hostile or prosaic world, but of the darker side of romance itself. It is Operatic, Quixotic & Dionysian Love that is celebrated. It is Love as the Second Coming! Sailing The River of Love: The Voyage of Re-Birth Youth, Love, Old Age & Death - The Four Unknowns. This should have been the order of Life. However, in this world of Márquez, the only ages that can hope to be able love/live seem to the Young and the Old. In between lies the desert - the only time we are allowed to live - when not capable of love. It is a paradox on which the very survival of this fictional universe seems to depend on. Love and Life cannot coexist then - The solution is to give up the life they know for Love. To take the ultimate leap of faith. So hoist a yellow flag on the Ship of your Life (Second Fidelity) and sail on the Great Magdalena (in Spanish, the “river of life”) in a State of Emergency! Let Love in the Time of Cholera be the entirety of the River of Life. Love should now destroy that earlier Life instead, just as Cholera can squeeze it out. And then be reborn, afresh. The novel ends with the central characters challenging their entire social world and the very conditions of their existence by their grand romantic gesture, by their final, and what seems like eternal, trip on the Magdalena river. This is the necessary reaction to the decay that is fast on the route to complete extinction, to death. Love and Cholera will both go extinct otherwise, rooted out by Life. Love is shown as the redeeming force that saves both humanity, nature, culture and history. It appears as a divine force that defies everything. As if in biblical terms, the novel seems to assert that it is not yet too late to stop the end of humanity and to reach out for grace and happiness. Most importantly, never allow the Yellow Flag to be questioned. Sustain the ardor. Maintain the symptoms of Cholera/Love. The pestilence is to be maintained at all costs! Only then will the world let you sail on. Of course, the novel ends with the reader wondering if Fermina and Florentino will ever be able to come ashore and exercise their second chance. We are left to question this act for ourselves: How do we save the world? By Escape into an Unrealistic Fantasy? Or is love more real? The answer, at least inside Márquez’s world is quite clear. This final triumph is exquisitely multi-layered. Fermina and Florentino will remain isolated from the real contagion of their earlier Life by allowing their Love to be disguised as Cholera. They are not rejecting the world, they are allowing the world to reject them instead. The quarantine is really against love, the sickness that society will not, can not tolerate, the sickness that society fear as much as a deadly epidemic, the sickness that the society fears will wipe it out. Instead it is that very sickness, which is recognized by conventional society as its biggest scourge, that saves the characters from extinction, along with the manatees, the alligators, and the monkeys. It is Love that saves all in the end - at least we are left to imagine that possibility. Now, in this Post-Apocalyptic Paradise, age is of no consequence; Life has been transmuted and preserved by Love, like Saint-Amour’s Love by death. Life has been reborn in the Second Coming of Love! Love, in short, will always be in the time of cholera, under the Yellow Flag’s protection. THE INFINITE CAPACITY FOR ILLUSION: The Will to Lyricism So, now we can come back to the question we started with - of the Absence of Magic. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the apocalypse came in spite of Magic, in Love in the Time of Cholera, redemption comes despite its absence! Unlike the death that starts off One Hundred Years of Solitude, here that death, the suicide, is ultimately sublimated into love - and decay is arrested in its unreality! In fact reality has instead been reinvented in their own terms, where previous reality was rejected outright. The capacity for illusion is magic enough to save the world, and our souls. This Infinite Capacity for Illusion can bring on the required apocalypse and we can live as if the Kingdom of Heaven/Cholera was already here on earth, under that banner of protection! Only then can the Magic return.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    I learned that I will never be a great writer, because sometimes, there are people like Marquez, who manage to write such an amazing piece of art without making it ponderous, pretentious, or difficult. It's not really about the plot, is it? A guy is in love with a girl, and waits for her for 50-odd years, while conducting his own affairs. Here's the thing, though. The way the story is told is segue-free, almost conversational, but with such sumptuous detail and description, that it can only be I learned that I will never be a great writer, because sometimes, there are people like Marquez, who manage to write such an amazing piece of art without making it ponderous, pretentious, or difficult. It's not really about the plot, is it? A guy is in love with a girl, and waits for her for 50-odd years, while conducting his own affairs. Here's the thing, though. The way the story is told is segue-free, almost conversational, but with such sumptuous detail and description, that it can only be explained as an absolute justification specifically for the written word. No other format for this story would be good enough. It made me crave to read it in the original Spanish, though. There were paragraphs that I knew did not carry the same weight in English (and this translation is really beautiful) that it would have in Spanish. Amazing book. Really. Please read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I feel suspicious about the fact that I didn't fall for this book the way Florentino Ariza fell for Fermina Daza. I am compelled to blame my lack of appreciation on poor reader comprehension rather than GGM'S writing, because only one of us won the nobel prize and I'm pretty sure it wasn't me. However, I'm no idiot either, so I'll at least take the liberty to explain my grievances: 1. As a synesthete, I found Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza's names to be WAY too similar. They look the same; I I feel suspicious about the fact that I didn't fall for this book the way Florentino Ariza fell for Fermina Daza. I am compelled to blame my lack of appreciation on poor reader comprehension rather than GGM'S writing, because only one of us won the nobel prize and I'm pretty sure it wasn't me. However, I'm no idiot either, so I'll at least take the liberty to explain my grievances: 1. As a synesthete, I found Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza's names to be WAY too similar. They look the same; I kept getting them mixed up! I think it was unecessary to pick the two most F, vowel, R, N and Z laden names ever for use in this one story. 2. The narrator kept making very definitive, bold claims that 3 pages later turned out to be completely untrue. For example (not real quotes) "This particular bed-fellow was the closest thing to love that Florentino Ariza ever experienced apart from Fermina Daza." Turn the page, now talking about a brand new lover, "Now, as it turns out, THIS particular bed-fellow was actually the closest things to love that FA experienced apart from FD." Next chapter, another new lover "Okay, SERIOUSLY, this is the one this time"... etc. Similar broken promises were made about various other topics. Perhaps this was done on purpose to demonstrate the fickle nature of life or love or something like that, but for me all it did was make me yell at the pages, scolding the narrator for being a big liar. 3. Florentino Ariza = mid 70's, Young Girl placed in his "care"= 14. It's just not okay. (P.s. She later kills herself because he ruined her life and stole her innocence, and his only reaction to it is that he has a bout of indigestion while lying in bed with the woman he left her for...what a swell guy). P.s. he also kinda kills another woman...the one on whose stomach he writes with red paint and her husband murders her when he sees it. 4. The whole premise of the book is the waiting...FA is waiting to finally be with FD. And when the wait is over, I don't feel like there's any reward. Nothing between them is all that magical...yeah they have fun on the boat, sure the fun is a little subdued because of their age, etc...but ultimately I don't understand what the point of all that waiting was for when he seems to have just about as much a connection with FD as he had with any of the other 621 ladies over the years. I dunno...as I stated in point #2, the ABSOLUTENESS of this book is what really holds it back for me. He says he absolutely loves FD, better than the rest, into eternity...he says this, but the reality is actually quite different. The ending is the same kind of thing...is that boat really going to sail up and down the river FOREVER? No. It's not. So why cheapen it with the gross exaggeration...just say "until we die" or "until somebody makes us stop"... it doesn't sound as cool but it means more. In summation, it wasn't a horrible book but there were a few things that made it less than perfect. The writing really redeemed it, however, and made the experience pleasurable overall. An example of this is the detail GGM throws in about Urbino drinking chamomile tea, any then rejecting it, saying that it tastes like windows. Everyone is perplexed, thinking he must be crazy. Then they taste it themselves: Yup. Windows.

  11. 5 out of 5

    William2

    One of the few writers I have read who can show sex convincingly on the page, so that it reinforces character and extends action, and doesn't become a narrative sinkhole in which entropy prevails. Depressingly great. One of those books one knows one could never write yet still one wishes -- pointlessly -- that one could do so. Laden with vivid detail. It moves almost flawlessly, from sequence to sequence with nary a foot put wrong in terms of diction or tone. Relentless storytelling, like diamonds One of the few writers I have read who can show sex convincingly on the page, so that it reinforces character and extends action, and doesn't become a narrative sinkhole in which entropy prevails. Depressingly great. One of those books one knows one could never write yet still one wishes -- pointlessly -- that one could do so. Laden with vivid detail. It moves almost flawlessly, from sequence to sequence with nary a foot put wrong in terms of diction or tone. Relentless storytelling, like diamonds pouring endlessly from a sack. Enormous reading pleasure. A bit too lacrhymose toward the end for my taste, but this is a quibble. On the whole a shattering novel despite it conventional structure. Warmly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This was not the book for me. I know a lot of people give it praise and it is considered a classic, but I never got into it. It rambled . . . it was repetitive . . . I got bored. What was supposed to be a story about love seemed to be more about twisted obsession and I never found it endearing. None of the characters were all that great and I pretty much found myself feeling sorry for everyone. I was thankful when I was done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    When glistening drops of dew swivelled across the leaves, When hazy films of sun lifted their candid veils; When morning spring walked the aisle of the autumn road, I saw a face whose reflection, since years, I have behold. In envious vanity, she swayed her hair, In rapturous youth, she erred everywhere; But stoic her nod was to my pure passion Which sent me blazing waves of heartburn. Running behind her, became my moral; Worshipping her being, was a religion; In those auburn eyes, my heart would lie When glistening drops of dew swivelled across the leaves, When hazy films of sun lifted their candid veils; When morning spring walked the aisle of the autumn road, I saw a face whose reflection, since years, I have behold. In envious vanity, she swayed her hair, In rapturous youth, she erred everywhere; But stoic her nod was to my pure passion Which sent me blazing waves of heartburn. Running behind her, became my moral; Worshipping her being, was a religion; In those auburn eyes, my heart would lie still And yet it would flutter, like about to begin. A feeling so full, like a maniac I would cling, It reduced to nothingness, every other thing; Exquisitely wrapped, as beautiful as one can be Convinced I was, she was born for me. Alas! Confession lost breath in a wave of condescension; But my knees found strength even in that repudiation; For I never lost my heart as per a plan, For I never sang a song as a sound man. Delusional, I wandered into many seductive doors; Recluse, I made love, with artifice galore. She glided in the sea of my eyes, like a white swan Even though she fell into another man’s arm. Awareness of her otherness came to my ears Like a winter breeze, cold enough to bear. So I let it freeze, a corner of my world And see it melt again in my ardent words; The words that I blew like clouds in the light, The words that I hid in the blanket at night, The words which stood at the threshold of age, The words that could soon be a magical adage. In another world, she continued to sew; Stitching pieces which kept falling due; She held her resolve, all through though, Loyalty was her brightest bow. Seasons dropped, and soared again Leaving behind many a spring and rain; Each saying goodbye never without Her fragrant memory kissing my mouth. One fine day, I sampled my hands, and pulled the skin off my face; They succumbed to my pull; the mirror flagged the twilight of my race. Hastily I knocked at my heart, placing a trembling hand in thrill; A lovely cooing filled my senses; the bird of love was singing still. I stepped on that trail again, there was no time to lose; The ache within was poised to be smeared in love, profuse. She had, at last, taken the path that had led her to me; She had, at last, taken the baton to set her heart free. The ship which carried her, stood wavering near the dock; As if even that inanimate was drunk under her lock. Time had robbed her of some shine and gifted her some fatigue too; In the folds of her sagging skin but, I finally found I was who. The twinkle from her eyes aimed for my heart; And joined it with hers while tearing it apart. Most of the sailors and the marine men stood chuckling at the sight Of the passionate embrace of two old people, holding on so tight. But only few eyes could detect a current so resplendent That bound the two vagabonds into a promise, to be kept.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    In an unstated city (Cartagena, in an unnamed country, Colombia), was born an illegitimate son by a rich father, and a poor peasant woman, in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The married man never confirmed publicly this, dying young ... The struggling mother tried very hard to survive, Transito Ariza gave her only name to her child, she had, Florentino Ariza. The bright lad grew up rather aimless and lazy, nothing was important, or interested him, the mother supported them selling In an unstated city (Cartagena, in an unnamed country, Colombia), was born an illegitimate son by a rich father, and a poor peasant woman, in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The married man never confirmed publicly this, dying young ... The struggling mother tried very hard to survive, Transito Ariza gave her only name to her child, she had, Florentino Ariza. The bright lad grew up rather aimless and lazy, nothing was important, or interested him, the mother supported them selling notions in her shop, a rented home. Then he saw a girl, the most beautiful in the world to him, Fermina Dada, daughter of a man with money, and a dubious reputation, ( he was secretly a former mule driver) involved in shady dealings, in the mountains, who desires that Fermina marry into a rich, distinguished family, bringing respectability to him too. But Mr. Ariza is so in love, nobody in history is more so, that he literally becomes severely sick, his distraught mother , thinks he's going to die... She nurses him back to health and he recovers quickly. Florentino spies on the girl, while she walks with her Aunt Escolastica, the sister of Mr.Dada to school and back. The ladies are not fooled, it scares the teenager and excites also. Sitting on a bench across the street from her house, in the tiny park pretending to read poetry , but always watching. A rather small, unattractive boy in reality he is. Her chaperon doesn't do the job she was told to , the aunt is a romantic and encourages the young couple. Helping them get letters from one to the other, in hidden places along their path. His passionate full of love, hers mundane. After a few years, of correspondence the father finds out, sends his sister packing and threatens to kill Florentino at a tense meal, in a restaurant. Still the young man is not frightened by the revolver, so enchanted by his "goddess," to be. The best physician and dynamic celebrity, Juvenal Urbino in town, treats Fermina for a minor illness and unexpectedly returns. The suspicious girl feels uncomfortable and believes he is here on a nonprofessional visit, and is right. The thrilled father encourages the romance, this is why he came here. The doctor comes from a wealthy and prominent family. A sophisticated healer, who studied medicine in Europe, loves Paris and wants to clean up the dirty, putrid, disgusting city of its filth, modernize and make livable . And prevent cholera epidemics from devastating his cherished home town of Cartagena, again. The heartbroken Florentino is crushed, how can he stop this! Asks his unofficial Uncle Leo ( the brother of his late father), who runs the prosperous riverboat company R.C.C., to give him a job. Determined to rise and make something of himself, to be worthy of Fermina and her suppose love. The Magdalena River flows near his native port city, to the wide Caribbean Sea and business is good, he'll climb up fast... but gets sick on his first trip up the scenic, perilous, river . However nothing can stop the longing Florentino, has in his heart, (this feeling will never cease) he must have his beloved ...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book contains the most single lines in one work that I wish to lift from their pages and paste around my house so that I may bask in their glory on a daily basis. Reading other reviews of this text always puzzles me. No, I don't need everyone to love what I love to the extent that I love it, but it just seems that those who detest it have really suffered a failure at literacy. With the risk of further offense, I will state that I believe the culprit is that cute little "Oprah's Book Club." This book contains the most single lines in one work that I wish to lift from their pages and paste around my house so that I may bask in their glory on a daily basis. Reading other reviews of this text always puzzles me. No, I don't need everyone to love what I love to the extent that I love it, but it just seems that those who detest it have really suffered a failure at literacy. With the risk of further offense, I will state that I believe the culprit is that cute little "Oprah's Book Club." This is not a work on which you stick a celebrity (if that's what she is) seal of approval and then throw in a gym bag or beach bag and sneak some pages in here and there because some famous lady told you that you should. It's serious literature. And yet hilarious. Marquez shines as a comic genius of irony (the significance of cholera to this book is, itself, genius storytelling) and critical examiner of human relationships. An exploration on love-- love in all forms-- is conducted as thoroughly as if it were a science project. Perhaps this is where Marquez loses the aforementioned displeased readers, who wish to bottle love in a neat definition or notion that closely reflects the love they are experiencing in their own lives. The world is much broader than our silly little individual plights, my friends, and the experience of love changes if you are to ask an old woman, young man, or adolescent girl to define it. Marquez captures each of their stories, and more, and never asks that his reader compare these to their own experience of love, he simply describes them and includes them in Love's definition. I find the courtship between Fermina and Florentino dazzling and spot-on. Yes, it is obsessive and incredibly fickle, but that is MY experience of adolescent love! I find new love between octogenarians inspiring and heartwarming, because after an entire lifetime, what two other individuals better know themselves and, thus, are able to give themselves entirely to each other? I also wasn't offended (as many are) by Florentino's relationship with the under-age America. Again, Marquez is being exploratory, and he gives no love or relationship safe haven from his literary microscope. He doesn't purport to create "perfect" and "ideal" characters, and how many of us can truly say we "like" our own mates ALL of the time anyway? This isn't "The Notebook," and some of the depicted relationships might come across as unsavory and vile to some of our self-righteous American eyes, but isn't such narrow-mindedness a bad mate for *real* literature anyway? "Love in the Time of Cholera" is fine literature. Superbly written, beautiful and rich, I see this as nothing short of a masterpiece.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Ditching his trademark magic realism for something more along the lines of psychological realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 1985 novel is by far and away the best book I have read by him. With gorgeous, lucent writing, full of brilliant majestic whirls, splendour and humour, and a final few lines that finish off the novel almost perfectly, the Colombian simply excels as a writer, and doesn't drive the reader around the bend with a bucket load of long-winded names like those featured in 'One Ditching his trademark magic realism for something more along the lines of psychological realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 1985 novel is by far and away the best book I have read by him. With gorgeous, lucent writing, full of brilliant majestic whirls, splendour and humour, and a final few lines that finish off the novel almost perfectly, the Colombian simply excels as a writer, and doesn't drive the reader around the bend with a bucket load of long-winded names like those featured in 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. Set mostly in an unnamed coastal Caribbean city, and spanning half a century sometime between 1880 and 1930, the novel is simply about love. A love told through all its ages. Garcia Marquez is said to have fashioned his romantic love triangle on the courtship of his parents, though these years correspond more to the lives of his grandparents. Love in the Time of Cholera shows a decidedly modern sensibility, an urban rather than a rural society, and shows it with less mysticism and more social detail than was deployed in the earlier works, that simply adds up to a novel that is easier to relate to. Gone are the ghosts, the voodoo, and the strange happenings, replaced by an arrow crammed full of love, aimed with pinpoint precision at the heart. One thing is for sure, Garcia Marquez simply loves his characters, but writes about them with a full understanding of their limitations. In his propensity to write passionately, and even beautifully, about the inner life of a character he ultimately dislikes, his insistence on never sentimentalising his protagonists in such a way as to exceed their place in the world, he is a Marxist, but also a catholic in his conception of what is universal and inherent in character, and in his belief in the human soul. These two convictions fight it out through the narrative, and like everything else in Garcia Marquez, they fight strongly, giving the characters' public and interior lives a deeply-textured, rigid, and precise brilliance. He writes with much passion about the daily bonds and tensile strength of a marriage. And throughout his novel the question of - ‘but is it love?’ hovers and floats over the meaning of a husband and his wife. The three central characters of Florentino Ariza, Fermina Daza, and Dr Juvenal Urbino are all certainly memorable ones, and Garcia Marquez spends as long as it takes to get across his main theme, writing for nearly a hundred pages about extravagant, innocent, high-pitched, poetic, romantic love, as Florentino Ariza falls head over heels for Fermina Daza one day. Fermina, the lonely, forlorn girl does becomes a woman of the world. She turns into the bourgeois great lady her father wanted her to be, but its Dr. Juvenal Urbino who takes her hand, whilst Florentino Ariza simply waits, with great patience, spanning year on year on year, for her husband to die, and reclaim the one and only true love of his life. Out of sheer agony, Florentino becomes a womaniser, saving his all his pure love for Fermina. He manages to find distraction in an endless series of sordid affairs, great and small, with widows, with a woman who sucks a pacifier, and even with a child that is in his custody. Garcia Marquez and his communal voice judge the single-minded pursuit of love harshly, and his judgement extends to a literature which handles the subject superbly well, without the need to get all soppy. Themes of poverty and of riches run strongly, and he tells us a great deal about the internalised longings born of class inequality, and throws in sub plots, both traditional and idiosyncratic, from the most predictable to the sublime, but they only really flutter around the central characters, giving them the greater importance. The pace of the narrative works beautifully, and only ever gathered speed as Fermina's father takes her on a long journey to try and make her forget Florentino. During her absence Florentino takes to diving on sunken galleons as a way to take his mine off her. It is Florentino’s fate to wait for love, and to make the most out of waiting. The real magic of the novel for me lies in the fact that Garcia Marquez sets up a predictable plot, gets a little fun out of it, before twisting it around, and letting it fall away softly. It is not so much a story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back (in this case the girl is now a much older woman) as Garcia Marquez is always stubbornly committed to the voice of the community: individual happiness is not considered an absolute good. So although, in the end, Florentino may seem victorious in old age, his life of devotion was not lived without cost.

  17. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    Because I'd heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera was so different from One Hundred Years of Solitude (one of my favorite novels), it took me a while to actually read it. Love in the Time of Cholera is very different from One Hundred Years, but it is a wonderful character-driven story that spans the entire life and loves of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. They had been passionately in love in their youth, but Fermina eventually rejects Florentino for a wealthy Because I'd heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera was so different from One Hundred Years of Solitude (one of my favorite novels), it took me a while to actually read it. Love in the Time of Cholera is very different from One Hundred Years, but it is a wonderful character-driven story that spans the entire life and loves of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. They had been passionately in love in their youth, but Fermina eventually rejects Florentino for a wealthy doctor. Florentino's life is spent in expectation of one day reuniting with his love (amid a reported 622 affairs)! Fantastic ending! 4.25 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sid

    Florentino Ariza declares his love for his 'crowned goddess' Fermina Daza in their youth. 50 years, 9 months, 4 days and 622 love affairs later, he does it again! This story is not about love. It is about the vices and virtues of being human, of animal instincts, of men wooing women for reasons other than love, of women trying to fall in love with men they married for material purposes, of one kind of desire used to quench the thirst of another kind, of elder men spoiling much younger girls, of Florentino Ariza declares his love for his 'crowned goddess' Fermina Daza in their youth. 50 years, 9 months, 4 days and 622 love affairs later, he does it again! This story is not about love. It is about the vices and virtues of being human, of animal instincts, of men wooing women for reasons other than love, of women trying to fall in love with men they married for material purposes, of one kind of desire used to quench the thirst of another kind, of elder men spoiling much younger girls, of widowed women and their hidden sexual fantasies, of social status, of skin colors, of twisted histories and more twisted present and even more unreliable futures! But then again this book is more about love than anything else! It is not about any particular kind of love with any one human being. It is about all kinds of love that could ever exist with as many people as may come in the life of the protagonist and the sufferings as well as satisfaction brought by them. It is about waiting for half a century of your life to get what you want and finally reaching it! It is about marriage, the importance of a stable marriage, the sacrifices to be made to maintain the facade of a happy marriage, the terrifyingly realistic instability of it, the importance of ignorance to keep it straight, the significance of forgiveness to make it successful and the ways of survival from its boring routine. Of course the writing was good. The thing I liked most was how the author started explaining about one character and then enters the territory of thoughts of the other while rounding up the entire scene and coming back again to the beginning point, all without you even realizing it! Another thing I liked is the inverted chronological order. The book starts with main characters close to old age! And then it progresses with the past, present and anticipated future intertwining with light threads! It has been on my shelf since the last 4 years and on my mind for at least 7 or 8 years! I guess anticipation killed the mood or something because I found it too long for me. Sometimes, I had to force myself through it. 4.5 stars though!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Garima

    Remember me with a rose. That pressed flower kept long ago in a favorite book did not appear conceited of its appearance. There was no sheen, no fragrance, no guard of pricking thorns and yet it carried a delightful reminder of a time when the first wary step towards love awakened feverish fantasies about a world where poets find their rhymes, writers find their stories and romantics find the gleeful manifestation of an incurable disease. So when I read about a 'Love' which bloomed and survived Remember me with a rose. That pressed flower kept long ago in a favorite book did not appear conceited of its appearance. There was no sheen, no fragrance, no guard of pricking thorns and yet it carried a delightful reminder of a time when the first wary step towards love awakened feverish fantasies about a world where poets find their rhymes, writers find their stories and romantics find the gleeful manifestation of an incurable disease. So when I read about a 'Love' which bloomed and survived in the time of Cholera, I knew that such flowers will also remind me of the singular passion of Florentino Ariza. In a distant land with no personal ties, in a former century with no wistful years; an inadvertent disquiet loomed over my heart when death greeted me on the very first page. It carried the bittersweet smell of a diffident age fused with ambiguous existence and gradually traced back to a glorious existence laden with years of steady intimacy. The married life of Fermina Daza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino had that comforting balance of enough life and enough marriage. The time that was granted to them had its share of trivial to grievous fights, urgent to obliged sex, indifference to compassion for the people around them and dealing with everyday reality in the hope to ascend the ladder of love- step by misstep by step. And not very far away from them, Florentino Ariza’s long wait was waiting for its end while his virgin heart diligently registered the beats which were solely preserved for Fermina. He was convinced in the solitude of his soul that he had loved in silence for a much longer time than anyone else in this world ever had. But Magical Realism is a beguiling genre. It has numerous tricks up its sleeve and is always on a lookout for an opportunity to convert magic into real, illusion into fact and impossible into possible. There’s an underlying tease present in Marquez’s exquisite writing and he effortlessly moves from caricatural to profound portrayal of emotions. The trials and tragedy dictating the actions of lovers wear the mask of beauty as well as depravity and the fact the Ariza is not a conventional Hero but a mere protagonist of this novel becomes evident in a rather revolting way. Between unrequited love and longing to hold Fermina’s hands, Ariza mapped the errant streets of carnal pleasures and on his way convinced himself of many things that are fair in the name of love but his claims and clamors must be taken with a pinch of salt. Whether it’s the matter of 622 affairs, his transitory bonds born out of pity or his vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love, one needs to move beyond the face value of things to decide the worth of magic in reality. Marquez quietly let his presence felt with words like this: It was a meditation on life, love, old age, death and slowly withdraws to give a reader charge of the unsaid thoughts. Amidst a vast river of themes, it’s hard to comprehend everything in its entirety but what one can readily believe in is the spectacle that marked the beginning of a new voyage in the end when occasional realization about passing of time made two wrinkled hands entwined into an unbreakable grasp to sail away to a shore beyond love in the time of cholera. The music stopped after midnight, the voices of the passengers dispersed and broke into sleepy whispers, and two hearts, alone in the shadows on the deck, were beating in time to the breathing of the ship.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rhona

    I did not enjoy this at all. This is a book about a weak man excessively obsessed with a married woman for over 50 years. He pines his time away with 622 sexual encounters that he records and we have to read through. The book is SLOW! He is sickly obsessed. He's a pervert, possibly a pedophile. He finally is reunited with his true love when she is in her 80's and then he describes their bodies and love life. Don't recommend this to anyone! This is not what true love is...it is a book about I did not enjoy this at all. This is a book about a weak man excessively obsessed with a married woman for over 50 years. He pines his time away with 622 sexual encounters that he records and we have to read through. The book is SLOW! He is sickly obsessed. He's a pervert, possibly a pedophile. He finally is reunited with his true love when she is in her 80's and then he describes their bodies and love life. Don't recommend this to anyone! This is not what true love is...it is a book about obsession and weakness. Wasted my time when there are so many wonderful books out there to read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samilja

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm a GGM fan and as such, I am utterly incapable of approaching one of his books with objectivity. One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my all time favorites and I did not expect to enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera as much as that book - probably because of all the hype it's received on it's 20th anniversary and as a result of Oprah lauding it. Well, color me stupefied, I loved it even more than 100 Years. Yes, this is a love story of sorts - it spans more than 5 decades and the 'lovers' at I'm a GGM fan and as such, I am utterly incapable of approaching one of his books with objectivity. One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my all time favorites and I did not expect to enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera as much as that book - probably because of all the hype it's received on it's 20th anniversary and as a result of Oprah lauding it. Well, color me stupefied, I loved it even more than 100 Years. Yes, this is a love story of sorts - it spans more than 5 decades and the 'lovers' at the story's heart interact in person only in the last 25 pages or so & only after all that time has passed. But as with all GGM books, the real story is in the details. It's in the absolute fabric-like breadth of the book. I read an interview where Marquez talked about his penchant for delving into the minutiae (he relates it to his early career as a journalist)and for me, this is exactly what I love about his stories. On the other hand, I've had several friends with whom I typically share book opinions tell me that they can't 'get through' one of GGM's books (no matter which Title is in question). They find him hard to follow, or too slow, or tedious - maybe all of the above and then some. I can appreciate that but I actually enjoy the slow pace of these novels. I like that I really find a sense of feeling for the places and the characters that I often don't find in books where the plot unfolds quickly and development is forward-moving. Marquez embraces exposition which I think can turn people off or on - just depends. Specific to this book, I love that once the story was told, I could think back through the novel and realize that the love story in question is really just a metaphor for cholera (or is it vice versa?) and the havoc it wreaked for decades on the characters' Caribbean homeland. The central character here, Florentino Ariza, is not particularly lovable. He's very human in his many vices and peculiarities and one must question his emtional and pscyhological stability when considering his lifetime spent in pursuit of what amounts to idolatry. Then again, many spend their lives this way, with the same hypocricies and faults - just not in the name of love. I am amazed to know that someone made this novel into a movie not long ago - I'm curious enough that i think I'll watch it although I can't imagine it being successfully done. Marquez books embody exactly those characteristics I think would elude a film: languidness, patience, detail, and a receptivity to veering off in many directions without the expectation of always finding resolution.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    “Too much love is as bad for this as no love at all.” -------Florentino Ariza, Love in the Time of Cholera. How right. For, this book is about everything but love. Or is it? Could it be about chasing the notion of love? The notion which becomes as chronic as the Cholera itself and which leaves its patient a midst a ceaseless mourning? It seems so to be the case with Florentino Ariza, who, for more than half a century, attires himself as one in mourning of a rejected love while still trying to “Too much love is as bad for this as no love at all.” -------Florentino Ariza, Love in the Time of Cholera. How right. For, this book is about everything but love. Or is it? Could it be about chasing the notion of love? The notion which becomes as chronic as the Cholera itself and which leaves its patient a midst a ceaseless mourning? It seems so to be the case with Florentino Ariza, who, for more than half a century, attires himself as one in mourning of a rejected love while still trying to fight the disease in his own manner, invoking in as much as 622 remedies till he attains the one which can cure him of his illness. And that is when he renounces mourning. What really strikes the reader while reading the work is that while this book is all about love (notion of love?), there isn’t even a single harmonious love relation between any of the characters portrayed. That brings to mind the question that whether one can term the 622 relations of Florentino as love ones. I am inclined to think otherwise. For how a human can possibly remain at peace with so many love (sexual?) relations when it takes a whole life time to come to terms with even one, as is the case with Fermina Daza. What kind of love would provoke a man aged 70 years to incite the passions of a 14 year old girl and then leave her to agonize and die with same disease which he is now hopeful of finding the cure of for himself? Is it love or another facet of bare human passions which get accelerated at the fear of impending decay? One may argue that it is love which Fermina and Florentino discover aboard New Fidelity. But in my view it is partially true. For Florentino, it is the cure of his illness in the form of realization of a long held desire, whereas for Fermina, it is the fulfillment of a need of desired companionship whose necessity becomes inevitable in the old age. Five stars for the work because of Gabriel’s skillfulness in bringing to mind some distressing thoughts in a very subtle manner. He is so dexterous here in the demonstration of human passions in all its nakedness that one cannot help but sail along in whichever direction the narrative takes. His direct and simple expression makes one visualize the work with a reserved abidance as one marvel at his distinct aloofness in the portrayal of his characters: their emotions and passions. His restrain helps the reader to remain unruffled while trying to find the answers for the questions his work invokes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Lush, sensual and poetic in its prose, Marquez spins a vivid tale about a man's love for a woman that waits fifty years to come to fruition. Beneath the imagery and romance, however, lies Marquez's sharp observations on the nature of relationships, marriage and old age all told with Marquez's brand of humor, wisdom and unflinching veracity.his book is not about the relationship of Fermina and Florentino. The book is about love in all of its forms, and the characters in the book exist as vehicles Lush, sensual and poetic in its prose, Marquez spins a vivid tale about a man's love for a woman that waits fifty years to come to fruition. Beneath the imagery and romance, however, lies Marquez's sharp observations on the nature of relationships, marriage and old age all told with Marquez's brand of humor, wisdom and unflinching veracity.his book is not about the relationship of Fermina and Florentino. The book is about love in all of its forms, and the characters in the book exist as vehicles to examine the strangest and most powerful of all human emotions. Love in the Time of Cholera is about: unrequited love (Florentino for Fermina); marital love (Fermina and Juvenal); platonic love (Florentino and Leona); angry love (Florentino and the poet who makes him so furious); jealous love (the adulterous wife killed because of her affair with Florentino); young love (Florentino and Fermina in the beginning); dangerous love (the mental patient and Florentino); adulterous love (Juvenal and his affair, Florentino and many of his women); love from afar (Florentino and Fermina); elderly love (Florentino and Fermina, Fermina and Juvenal; the cyanide suicide); May-December love (Florentino and his ward); the relationship between sex, age, society, art, death and love (pretty much the whole book). http://more2read.com/?review=love-in-the-time-of-cholera-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jibran

    Márquez sends message to anyone who will attempt to write a romance novel after Love in the Time of Cholera. (view spoiler)[no offence intended to writers of romance. (hide spoiler)] There are many wonderful reviews of the book on here, so I will abstain from indulging in lengthy reflections, but I cannot leave this space unfilled without recording a short paean born out of the immense aesthetic pleasure, and grief, and education, this book afforded me. Stretching a notion to its limits would Márquez sends message to anyone who will attempt to write a romance novel after Love in the Time of Cholera. (view spoiler)[no offence intended to writers of romance. (hide spoiler)] There are many wonderful reviews of the book on here, so I will abstain from indulging in lengthy reflections, but I cannot leave this space unfilled without recording a short paean born out of the immense aesthetic pleasure, and grief, and education, this book afforded me. Stretching a notion to its limits would ultimately make it sufficiently unrealistic for ordinary mortals living the uneventful reality of moderation to check their imagination, but it is only through this agency can one expect to understand the full extent of the great illusions that frame and define life. Márquez weaves a rich, dense and unbroken interplay of themes – death, decay, sacrifice, patience, desire, obsession, wars, modernity, experiments on your sense of smell etc – in a story whose each part reads like a whole to inform on the essential romance of two, or three, protagonists inhabiting the wild heart of life. To tell the story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza (how I love these poetic, smooth-sailing, metrical Hispanic names) Márquez does not need those abundant magical realist tricks up his sleeve; in this case he relies on his prodigious capacity to create an internal logic that, despite its unearthly stretch, enchants and entrances and bamboozles you with its powers of persuasion. It has the power to claim and possess your mindscape. So what is this novel? It’s a story of love and it’s a story of everything besides love. Here endeth the paean. August '16

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This was a sad reread. I first read this about a decade ago and loved it. I remember being blown away by the beautiful writing and the incredible love that Florentino felt for Fermina — he continued to love her even though she married another man, and he waited more than 50 years before he could be with her again. I decided to reread the novel by listening to it on audio (performed by Armando Durán), and this time, I was so creeped out by Florentino that I didn't enjoy the book as I had wished. This was a sad reread. I first read this about a decade ago and loved it. I remember being blown away by the beautiful writing and the incredible love that Florentino felt for Fermina — he continued to love her even though she married another man, and he waited more than 50 years before he could be with her again. I decided to reread the novel by listening to it on audio (performed by Armando Durán), and this time, I was so creeped out by Florentino that I didn't enjoy the book as I had wished. Yes, the writing was still lovely and there were some favorite scenes that I remembered (such as a big fight between Fermina and her husband that started over a lack of soap in the bathroom and culminated with her yelling, "To hell with the Archbishop!") but Florentino has so many disturbing love affairs, including one with a 14-year-old girl when he is an old man, that I don't plan on ever rereading this novel. I was talking about disappointing rereads with a friend, and we agreed that luck and timing can play a critical role in how much we like a book. I read Love in the Time of Cholera shortly after reading Lolita, which was also disturbing. Between the two novels, I think I've hit my quota for dark sexual stories for the year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kimber Silver

    "The words I am about to express: They now have their own crowned goddess." –Leandro Diaz Love in the Time of Cholera is not a book that can be taken like a shot of tequila—slammed down then sit back and feel the burn. No, no, this book is like a fine aged wine. I swirled it around the glass and drank in the beauty of his prose. The delicious writing slipped through my brain and settled into my core until I was on fire. I had to commit, to give Gabriel García Márquez my undivided attention. Love "The words I am about to express: They now have their own crowned goddess." –Leandro Diaz Love in the Time of Cholera is not a book that can be taken like a shot of tequila—slammed down then sit back and feel the burn. No, no, this book is like a fine aged wine. I swirled it around the glass and drank in the beauty of his prose. The delicious writing slipped through my brain and settled into my core until I was on fire. I had to commit, to give Gabriel García Márquez my undivided attention. Love in the Time of Cholera is about passion. Not just desire in love, but many different kinds of craving. The kind of intensity that consumes the soul in a way that will never let go. Many stories are going on at once in this tale. They all swirl around love and loss, be it a person, money, or a life not fully lived. Márquez spoke of the unfathomable pain that can make people go completely mad when their yearnings are not fulfilled. On the other side of the coin, that kind of hunger can drive a person to succeed beyond anything they had ever imagined. The novel takes place between 1880 and 1930 in an unnamed port city in the Caribbean. A Cholera outbreak devastates the town. Can the new doctor, Juvenal Urbino, who follows in his father’s footsteps, make the changes needed to keep another at bay? We are also introduced to Fermina Daza, and Florentino Ariza who suffer from young love, as well as so many other brilliant characters as the lives in this city unfold in all their magnificent splendor. Márquez uses foreshadowing exquisitely to draw the line of where you might be going but is that truly the destination? If you don’t keep reading, you’ll never know. I can’t bring myself to give away spoilers. The story is too beautiful, too heartbreaking, too everything, not to read. Márquez will seduce you if you allow him, but you must give yourself over to the Latino heat of the sweltering Caribbean. You won’t be sorry.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    Love. It’s amazing how something so often spoken, so easily expressed, so readily written, is so very misunderstood. What is this four letter word that we worship and live for? Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in Time of Cholera made me understand one thing. I should not aim to understand it. For love is immeasurable. It is formed by its giver and is shaped by its object. Every love is different, as everyone is different. Florentino Ariza’s love is silent, but as sturdy and intense as his Love. It’s amazing how something so often spoken, so easily expressed, so readily written, is so very misunderstood. What is this four letter word that we worship and live for? Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in Time of Cholera made me understand one thing. I should not aim to understand it. For love is immeasurable. It is formed by its giver and is shaped by its object. Every love is different, as everyone is different. Florentino Ariza’s love is silent, but as sturdy and intense as his character. Juvenal Urbino’s is grand yet fragile. Fermina Daza’s volatile and passionate. These character exhibited different depths of feeling, yet we cannot say that they didn’t love. For who knows but the one who feels it? People react to such feelings differently, show affection differently. Our love is shaped by our personalities, some more sensible than others. Its qualities affected by the object, for we personalize it to agree with the whims of our desired. There is no general love, there is yours and there is mine. How does a man in love get to 622 affairs? This is the question most often posed by many of the novel’s critics. How can someone so in love be so perverted? This is a non-issue. In my opinion, this is probably a reader’s misconception. It is because people associate sex with love. I am not of that belief. I would say that sex is one aspect of romantic love, but the two are independent of each other. Love transcends the carnal flesh, though the flesh can heighten the experience of love. People have sexual needs, but everybody doesn’t have the luxury of love. Does this mean that sex is off-limits for them? I am aware that the problem is not that he had sex with other women, but the fact that he did it with 622 of them. But I see this as his coping mechanism taken to the extreme. To fill the void of unrequited love, some turn to food, some to work, some to drinking. Unfortunately for Florentino Ariza, he took the road of sexual relations. But I don’t see this as infidelity, for if anybody had reason to copulate with someone whom they don’t love, none have better than the heart-broken. Because if the carnal flesh heightens the experience of love. Equally, it numbs the pain of the unrequited. Of course, I’m probably just a liberal. Why in time of Cholera? What is the significance of Cholera? Florentino Ariza’s love is the epitome of Cholera. It is like a fatal disease, hopeless. It consumed him, caused him terrible suffering and had no cure. His only choice is to numb its pain. Its only escape is death. But with him, it is a good kind of death, the death of the other. Talking about death, you must have been thinking of the reason why I finally chose to read this book. You are, in fact, right. I read this because of the recent passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. “Nothing resembles a person as much as the way he dies.” “Born in 1927, Gabriel García Márquez was 87 when he died last week. According to his younger brother, Jaime, he had been suffering from complications caused by chemotherapy, which saved his life but accelerated his dementia, a disease that apparently ran in his family. He’d call his brother and ask to be reminded about simple things. “He has problems with his memory,” Jaime reported a few years back.” (The Nation) “Remembering and forgetting are García Márquez’s great themes, so it would be easy to read meaning into his senility. The writer was fading into his own solitude, suffering the same fate he assigned to the inhabitants of his fictional town of Macondo, in his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.” As for Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, I believe that they died peacefully in the realm of old age, full of love. “Love becomes greater and nobler in calamity.” The love that the title refers to is not only Florentino’s undying love but the love that Florentino and Fermina finally shared at their old age. It is a love that blossomed in a time where death domains, in time not only of Cholera but in time of mortality. The scent of death, of Cholera destroyed all inhibition that hindered their love. It allowed them to become courageous and decisive in love knowing that their time is at hand. Because for them love is too precious to postpone, to avoid, to fear. So should it be for me and you. For is it not said that “It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all”? Life is an experience, live it. Love. “Tell him yes. Even if you are dying of fear, even if you are sorry later, because whatever you do, you will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no.” P.S. Thank you and farewell, Gabo.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera: "it was inevitable: The smell of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." I saved my favorite opening phrase for my last. When we realize that cyanide smells like bitter almonds, this phrase opens like a lotus flower revealing an amazing amount of depth, sensuality, and irony. The entire book is going to be about unrequited love as we as told here. The reader's curiosity is also piqued by the questioning of where the Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera: "it was inevitable: The smell of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." I saved my favorite opening phrase for my last. When we realize that cyanide smells like bitter almonds, this phrase opens like a lotus flower revealing an amazing amount of depth, sensuality, and irony. The entire book is going to be about unrequited love as we as told here. The reader's curiosity is also piqued by the questioning of where the smell of cyanide could be coming from. I have always found that this apparently simple phrase was plump with meaning and perfectly suited to the book it introduces - perhaps the most perfect opening line I have ever found.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In a word: disappointing. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA is held up as a Classic Love Story for the Timeless Ages. I was prepared to be Swept Away By A Passionate Tale. Instead, I plodded through it - on the Metro, on the beach, on my lunch break, waiting for the moment when it would All Be Worth It. I am still waiting. Here are the difficulties: 1. The hero is a pedophile. Really. I can account for differences of culture and era, but I cannot get past the romantic hero being a sexual predator, In a word: disappointing. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA is held up as a Classic Love Story for the Timeless Ages. I was prepared to be Swept Away By A Passionate Tale. Instead, I plodded through it - on the Metro, on the beach, on my lunch break, waiting for the moment when it would All Be Worth It. I am still waiting. Here are the difficulties: 1. The hero is a pedophile. Really. I can account for differences of culture and era, but I cannot get past the romantic hero being a sexual predator, whose selfishness and carelessness (in the worst sense of the word) result in the suicide of a young girl entrusted to his care. Bet they didn't put that in the movie. Add to that that he is the sort of guy that shows up on your doorstep the day of your husband's funeral and says, "Hey, baby, so I hear you're on the market again..." My hero! 2. The beginning is written from the point of view of Dr. Urbino and details the story of one of his chess buddies. Both die within the opening chapters, and the point of view shifts completely. I felt misled...and confused. 3. And, perhaps the most troubling, for a love story that spanned over 50 years, I did not see love. Youthful infatuation, yes, maybe a dangerous nostalgia but no emotion, except perhaps obsession, that would sustain a relationship for so many years. For all his purported love and pathetic poetry, Florentino wasn't faithful. And Fermina never seemed that into him - even from the beginning. One weak, the other cold: I find it hard to believe that if the two of them had defied society and married at a young age that they would have had a happy marriage, to say nothing of a happily ever after. Sometimes the cruelties of class work out for the best. What makes this book maybe worth reading - maybe - is the beautiful sound and feel of Marquez's writing. That is pure poetry. Too bad it did not have a more worthy subject.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A mesmerizing tale of love as an obsessive disease or an endless journey on a river. A young telegraph operator, Florentina, falls for a schoolgirl, Fermina, but he is rejected as unworthy by her father. Through secret letters he successfully woos her, but she changes her mind, judging it as nothing more than a fantasy. She later submits to a proper suitor, Dr. Urbino, respected for his work fighting cholera. Florentina never stops loving her and hopelessly waits while pursuing numerous A mesmerizing tale of love as an obsessive disease or an endless journey on a river. A young telegraph operator, Florentina, falls for a schoolgirl, Fermina, but he is rejected as unworthy by her father. Through secret letters he successfully woos her, but she changes her mind, judging it as nothing more than a fantasy. She later submits to a proper suitor, Dr. Urbino, respected for his work fighting cholera. Florentina never stops loving her and hopelessly waits while pursuing numerous surreptitious affairs and working his way up in a riverboat company. From the first chapter we learn that 50 years later, the doctor dies and he has a chance to woo his love again. This is my first read of Marquez and was expecting a lot of fantastical and supernatural elements that mark him as a master of magical realism. I have read my share of writers whose works fit that tag (Isabel Allende, Esquivil, Rushdie, Alice Hoffman), but, with the exception of Native American spirituality such as in Louise Erdrich’s novels, I tend to favor authors who take a comic approach to that form (Sherman Alexie, Tom Robbins, Chris Moore). On one level this book appears as simple epiphany on the power of love to sustain one through the long travails of life and thus not conform to magical realism. Yet in the Wikipedia entry, the Mexican scholar Leal identifies a key element of magical realism that applies here, namely an attitude of “a state of heightened awareness of life's connectedness or hidden meanings”, a focus on “the mystery that breathes behind things.” I am no linguist, but the very names of the characters evoke for me representations of certain qualities at play in life against death. Fermina, as in firm or steady, the opposite of infirm, as in frail or sick, with shades of ripening as in fermentation. Florentina, as in flores or flower, a stage of waiting for pollination, the gardenia scent he perpetually identifies with Fermina and her letters. Juvenal Urbino, as in the young, urbane man of wealth, the civilized one who steals his love away from the unworthy Godless bastard Florentina. Civilization of science that conquers cholera, the disease of the poor spread from contaminated water. The same root as in choleric, or infected with rage. Florentina wants Urbino to die. Fermina is often haughty and initially responds with rage to the effrontery of each suitor. Throughout the novel, war continually rages in the background. Sometimes the characters encounter bodies on the river bank, and they can’t tell if they are victims of cholera or of war. Love apparently has the power to erase or surpass such sickness. On the other hand, love as fever and disease keeps cropping up. To Florentina, that is the only dis-ease worth living for: “The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love”. So there is a lot of mystery and hidden meanings in this tale that aligns with Marquez as practitioner of magical realism. We can’t help rooting for Florentina. He becomes a bit of a master at seductive wordsmithing from all his letter writing. In the most endearing example of his state, he makes money writing love letters for illiterate peasants. At one point he realizes that one of his female customers is seeking his help responding to a letter he composed for her suitor, and he successfully pulls off a correspondence for both that leads to a marriage. Is this charming or the epitome of his abilities in subterfuge and deception? Among his many affairs he recounts, he admits to forcing some women, and in another case his words of endearment painted on a married woman’s abdomen leads to her murder by a jealous husband. Is Florentina the ideal of a romantic lover or practitioner of the worst kind of machismo. He never brags about his affairs, but that is in service to a twisted form of faithfulness to Fermina. At one point in old age he seduces an underage girl to whom he has become a guardian to. As a reader, I somehow forgave him as a victim of a sickness for which he was on the verge of being healed of by the prospect of fulfilling his love for Fermina. The last scenes of requited love between the old couple on the riverboat were wonderful and magical in many senses. They lifted me out of my confusion and judgments and recovered my respect for the power of love to conquer death and human folly.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.