VaultOfBooks's Reviews > Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera: A Reader's Guide

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera by Thomas Fahy
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Jun 08, 2012

it was amazing

By Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Grade: A+
“His examination revealed that he had no fever, no pain anywhere, and that his only concrete feeling was an urgent desire to die. All that was needed was shrewd questioning…to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”
“” Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)

I felt guilty for giving little credit to the translator in A Hundred years of Solitude, as a result I will thank the translator, Edith Grossman and all the translators who open to us the wonderful world of ethnic writers. I am sure that I would have never learnt Spanish in my life, and thus would be devoid of the pleasure of reading these great books, though under appreciated, i respect their work for bringing out the lyrical aspect of books with class. Hats off to translators.
Love in the time of Cholera reaffirms why Marquez is a great author, and not because his complexity of thought, but because of his ability to narrate a simple story with brilliance. If you read the blurb on the back of this book, you almost know the entire story, but Gabriel Garcia Marquez manages to evolve this story by interspersing it with the 1900′s Mexico, set against a backdrop of rapid industrialization, Marquez studies love and the ways love was changing and taking a more vulgar and decrepit form.
Marquez also brings forth the growing divide between humans and the plight of vanishing arts. Like most of Marquez’s books, this is also a book of enormous proportions, near about seventy years of time is etched in the pages of this magnificent novel, and never once does the author lose his hold over the story. His characters are bursting with colour, Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza, Urbino Daza, and Jeremiah de Saint-Amour are all impeccable, lovable but not perfect, they are all flawed human beings, and as Marquez describes the protagonist Florentino Ariza,
‘He is sad and ugly, but he is all love.’
The book begins with a suicide, Jeremiah de Saint-Amour has committed suicide and his dear friend Urbino Daza, a doctor goes to visit him for a last time. It is then that Urbino reflects on death and dying and realises his age, he realises how much he depended on his wife Fermina Daza to take care of his. he recieves a letter from addressed to him that Jeremiah left before dying, it is then he realises that he did not know much about his friend Jeremiah, and he wonders how much do you really know about someone. Everything we ever know about Jeremiah from the book is from Urbino. Then we are confronted with the past of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, who were once lovers. However Fermina Daza realised the hollowness of her love when she saw Florentino with unclouded eyes, she saw a thin, sickly, ragged boy of twenty who could not even fend for himself.
Her passion subsides and she moves on with life, whereas Florentino Ariza is stuck, unable to move on.
“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
“” Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
A love that was expected to grow weak with time intensified and one day Florentino vowed his eternal love for Fermina Daza, he then decides to become worthy of Fermina Daza, he takes over a shipping industry and becomes one of the biggest men of Mexico, but never once does he try to humiliate or force Fermina, and then after Fifty one years, when Urbino dies after an accident, Florentino repeats his vow to Fermina who earlier reluctant, is soon taken over by her love for Florentino which had never really subsided.
Fermina I have waited for this opportunity for 51 years, nine months and four days. That is… how long I have loved you from the first moment I cast eyes on you un… until now.
I love the last page of the book, it sums of the entire story perfectly.
“[The captain] looked at Florentino Ariza, his invincible power, his intrepid love and was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.”
“” Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
The narrative is smooth and almost poetic, the story is so well told that you even feel Mexico changing in front of your eyes and the protagonists bowing to the ravages of time, but all of this is done in such a subtle and understated manner that you dont feel the story losing its way. This is a book on love, not about love, not about lovers, it is a book that discovers the essence and the beauty of love
To anyone who has read A Hundred years of Solitude will know that this book is not as well paced as the previous one, it is slow and interwining, as a result most of my friends use it for falling asleep, but rest assured when you truly comprehend what Gabriel Garcia Marquez tries to convey through his pages, you are amazed. Florentino Ariza is hardly the ideal hero, he is more of an anti-hero a person you hate but cannot help sympathising with. Marquez’s prose has also improved even with the little scope it had, and he has brought us another delightful book. I would also like to clarify that this is not a romantic novel, it is a book on love and it is not the same thing.

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