Title: Love in the Time of Cholera
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Published: 1988 Pages: 348
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Florentino Ariza loves Fermina Daza passionately, and even when she forgoes their youthful romance for a fortuitous marriage, he carries his love for her inside him. Over the next decades of his life he engages in over 600 affairs but he waits for the day when he can declare his love to Fermina once again.
My thoughts are in a jumble about this book, so forgive me if this review is rambling and inconclusive. On the one hand, the story must have appealed to me on some level as I found myself reading it for hours at a time. On the other hand, it took me longer to read this book than most I pick up because I had no problem leaving it on the table for days at a time.
There is almost no dialogue, very few chapters, and not much action. Yet even as I say that I know that everything and nothing happened in the book. Varied themes, age, love, wealth, family, war, and so on are covered almost carelessly and yet still resonate with a certain power. Characters flit in and out of the story with little depth and yet they reveal so much about the two characters the book is about: Florentino and Fermina. The settings are both constant and varied, providing not their own story but pure backdrop for a tale of love. Marquez has created a world and information is passed in an almost confused fashion, some barely related to the main plotline, and yet each intricacy and tidbit adds a depth that keeps the reader interested.
I was particularly fascinated by the duality of love, the carnality and the comfort. Fermina begins her lovelife in a passion, almost like a love affair with a stranger, a forbidden secret love that is never consummated. She marries and slides into a comfortable love while Florentino loses himself in carnal pursuits that are still thought of, described, and experienced as a form of love. Both sides of love appear to be lauded in this novel. While the reader on some level is rooting for Florentino, Juvenal - Fermina's husband - is not villainized, and actually there is a sort of beauty in the love they have for each other. Compassion and passion perhaps are both needed, and until those involved understand this, there is no hope for a true love to exist.
The novel is a slow seduction, not a rollercoaster of overwhelming emotions, and while I, at times, could not truly express why I kept reading, I am very glad I did.
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