Rhonda's Reviews > Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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Jun 20, 10

bookshelves: modern-fiction
Read from April 22 to May 23, 2010

Love in the Time of Cholera is a grand work of art and that is puzzling because, or so it seems to me, great literature is all too rare these days. One is obliged, I think, to judge great art by the way in which it changes one’s life. While it is almost common for us to read clever books, those with hallucinogenic qualities, allowing us to see alternative lives without requiring subsequent participation, the truly great work is one which shakes our spirit at its core, rousing us from our otherwise indolent existence. It thus compels us not only to see things in a new way but motivates our sluggish existence to a new direction and action. While personal change is painful, especially that wrought outside our own consciousness, healthy psyches must continue to grow. Lacking great art, we become sluggish and lethargic, relying on that which feeds our own ego a never ending banquet of sumptuous value-morsels we already possess. It is only our exposure to the great truths in life which allows us to purge and renew ourselves from time to time. Without such we become stagnant, however witty and sardonic a mind we may possess. In that regard, truly in awe of this book and its author as I am, I am grateful to be able to digest this opus, one of the handful of greats of our age.

So profoundly has this book affected me that I was unable to find any words to describe it for several weeks. Its wisdom, inspiring as it is, is so rampant that I often challenged the author’s ability to show me greater truths in any variety of ways, knowing full well, or so I thought, what the outcome of a sub-story might be. What became amazing to me was that this book is so masterfully written that I am tempted to say that the story did not matter, although this isn’t quite correct. The truth is that this book could have told almost any story in a greater way without giving up its great message of acceptance and patience and enduring love. In a sense, the author asks you to sit a while and learn to understand how what we have believed is replaced by something greater and more wonderful. Indeed, by the end, forcing the modification of our own being, we are willing to accept that kind of painful change in order to embrace the new truth.

While I could easily identify with many of the characters, sometimes embarrassingly so, I was never so close to any where I became an indelible part of the character: each was constantly not just a surprise to me, but a revelation. It is not that the characters are painted faintly but that the palette used for them is so brilliant that they seem to have a depth and sometimes breadth about them which is unreal without becoming surreal. Thus we learn that in all the hideousness of human consciousness, it is the only the qualities of patience and fortitude and finally love which has value. Indeed, this book is about a kind of love wherein love is the special metaphysical glue which holds value at all for humanity, assuming that we have any instilled value at all. In a time wherein our social consciousness is stultified by mediocrity, anger and even obstinacy posing as art forms, it is wonderful to experience the life force of the real thing.
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Reading Progress

04/23/2010 page 44
12.64% "It is wonderful to read work by a master word craftsman. Reading this lets me understand what superlative writing is and why it is so rare."

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