ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabriel García Márquez was born on March 6, 1927 in Aracataca, Colombia. An accomplished journalist, short-story writer and novelist, Márquez remains one of the best-known Latin American writers. He is especially known as a champion of the magical realism style of writing.
While he had a couple of novels and a few short stories to his credit, his real shot to fame came with the publication of his timeless classic, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Some of his notable works include The Autumn of the Patriarch, Chronicle of Death Foretold, Of Love and Other Demons and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, and breathed his last on April 17, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico.
SYNOPSIS (CONTAINS SPOILERS)
Love in the Time of Cholera was originally published in Spanish in 1985 (El amor en los tiempos del cólera) and was translated into English in 1988. The plot is set in an unnamed city of Colombia and spans over fifty years between the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
Florentino Ariza, who works as a telegraph operator, falls in love with Fermina Daza when he sees her deliver a telegram to her father. On her way to school and during vacations, the two exchange passionate letters and dream about an engagement, before Fermina’s father discovers the couple’s secret. He wants to marry her to a man with ancient lineage, so he takes her on a journey to forget Florentino. However, she stays in touch with Florentino and considers him her fiancé. They finally meet again one day and she realizes that her love was just an illusion, following which she breaks off their relationship.
Fermina goes on to marry Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a wealthy, famous doctor. The couple lead a long and seemingly happy married life. A heartbroken Florentino decides to commit himself to her and keeps her in his heart for the next fifty-one years, nine months and four days. After Dr. Urbino’s funeral, he approaches Fermina, who is now in her seventies. Florentino repeats his vows of eternal fidelity and everlasting love. The long-lost lovers plunge back into the mysteries of love, now mature and threatened by the uncertainties of old age.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
Love in the Time of Cholera is a brilliant tale, easily one of the classics of modern literature. Unlike in most of his other works, Márquez does not resort to magical realism in this book. He rather concentrates on turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. As a result, we come across real conflicts, feelings and decisions portrayed on a grand scale, spanning several years and miles.
Also, since the story follows different timelines, the author has done a masterful job at handling the transition between them.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
This is not really a negative, but the writing style may make for a slightly boring read, especially for readers who are not accustomed to this unique, trademark-Márquez style. The sentences also happen to be quite long and are packed with too much information and descriptions.
In addition, if the morality of its characters is to be critiqued, then Love in the Time of Cholera is bound to ruffle a few feathers. For instance, Florentino Ariza resolves to ‘save himself for’ Fermina. However, he never misses a chance to bed any woman that catches his fancy, having romantic affairs or sexual encounters with over six hundred woman! Surprisingly, he ‘repeats’ his ‘vow of eternal fidelity’ to Fermina after her husband’s demise.
If they had learned anything together, it was that wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.
All that was needed was shrewd questioning, first of the patient and then of his mother, to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.
She also knew that he was one of the musicians in the choir, and although she never dared raise her eyes to look at him during Mass, she had the revelation one Sunday that while the other instruments played for everyone, the violin played for her alone.
Love in the Time of Cholera is probably already in most people’s read-before-you-die lists, and for good reason. The book is an absolute masterpiece and is a must-read for seasoned and sporadic readers alike.
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