Garima's Reviews > Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
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it was amazing
bookshelves: funny-funsome-sarcasome, taking-title, no-kidding, prude-me-not, to-re-read, my-2-cents, sing-a-song, wehmut

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.
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Reading Progress

May 18, 2014 – Started Reading
May 18, 2014 – Shelved
May 19, 2014 – Shelved as: funny-funsome-sarcasome
May 20, 2014 –
page 105
30.17% "Hum toh Aghaz-e-Mohabbat mein hi lut gaye Faraz,\n Aur log kehte hain ki anjaam bura hota hai!"
May 20, 2014 – Shelved as: taking-title
May 22, 2014 –
page 170
48.85% "He is ugly and sad but he is all love."
May 24, 2014 –
page 348
100.0% "It is life, more than death, that has no limits."
May 24, 2014 – Finished Reading
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: no-kidding
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: prude-me-not
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: to-re-read
June 4, 2014 – Shelved as: my-2-cents
June 7, 2014 – Shelved as: sing-a-song
August 6, 2014 – Shelved as: wehmut

Comments Showing 1-40 of 40 (40 new)

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Riku Sayuj yay. high five


Garima Riku wrote: "yay. high five"

:) It was inevitable.


Taylor One of my favorites.


Riku Sayuj Garima wrote: "But Magical Realism is a beguiling genre. There’s an underlying tease present in Marquez’s exquisite writing ... one needs to move beyond the face value of things to decide the worth of magic in reality. "

Thanks for an insightful review! Loved it, especially the words above.


message 5: by Jareed (last edited Jun 03, 2014 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jareed Garima, what a wonderful review! I read this way back, perhaps in a youthful time fraught with frivolous idealism and summer love affairs which held me back from appreciating this eternal love in the time of cholera. I badly need to read this again.

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.

How beautiful and eloquent your words are! Wonderful.


Praj Gar, your reviews blossom with each expressive word illuminating sheer eloquence. Such a beauty that walks along with Garcia's prose. Thanks.


Dolors Some roses preserve the freshness and the aromatic scent of morning dew even after they have withered over seasons of trivial marriages and ageless love. Some tales are as magic as they are real and become condensed epitomes of the whys and the hows that plague mankind's existence.
Some words, like the ones singing in this chant to life and love, mirror those of a virtuoso proving that miracles are part of reality when one is reading them with the heart rather than with the mind, while inhaling their fragrant perfume.

"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."

And some writers have the uncanny talent not only to transmit the essence of a novel but its shape, color and even its scent that will linger undefinitely in this humbled reader's mind. What a sublime review, Garima Dearest, your words sing and dance and defy the passage of time.


Garima Riku wrote: "Garima wrote: "But Magical Realism is a beguiling genre. There’s an underlying tease present in Marquez’s exquisite writing ... one needs to move beyond the face value of things to decide the worth..."

Thanks a lot, Riku. After your erudite review, I was wondering what could I possibly add but there was an irresistible urge to say something. Glad you liked it.


Garima Praj wrote: "Gar, your reviews blossom with each expressive word illuminating sheer eloquence. Such a beauty that walks along with Garcia's prose. Thanks."

Thank you so much for your kind words, Praj.


Garima Jareed wrote: "Garima, what a wonderful review! I read this way back, perhaps in a youthful time fraught with frivolous idealism and summer love affairs which held me back from appreciating this eternal love in t..."

This book is perfect for reread purposes. I'm sure that I'll view it a lot differently some years down the line. Shall look forward to your take whenever you'll decide to tackle it again and thanks a lot for reading, Jareed.


message 11: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala It's clear how much this Marquez delivered for you, Garima, and you delivered some interesting thoughts on the Magic Realism genre in your turn - I wanted to quote the paragraph Riku already quoted about the aspect of Magic Realism which allows it to convert magic into real, illusion into fact and impossible into possible. Such a good insight that is, and so clearly stated. It leaves us thinking about the whole genre and how exactly it works.


Garima Dolors wrote: "Some roses preserve the freshness and the aromatic scent of morning dew even after they have withered over seasons of trivial marriages and ageless love. Some tales are as magic as they are real an..."

There you go again with your beautifully phrased comments and leaving me speechless in return. A mere thanks won't be enough but thanks is all I have, Dolors. I hope that you review this book someday since your wisdom and talent, both as a reader and writer will give us wonderful thoughts to ponder upon.


Garima Fionnuala wrote: "It's clear how much this Marquez delivered for you, Garima, and you delivered some interesting thoughts on the Magic Realism genre in your turn - I wanted to quote the paragraph Riku already quoted..."

I think it was an important aspect of this book which suffers from being subdued and consequently overlooked in the course of reading. One can find more than few interesting things to exclaim 'Aha!' and that's exactly what worked for me in a wonderful way. If you haven't already read this book then I'm definitely looking forward to your take on Marquez's writing and thanks a lot as always for your words, Fio.


message 14: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita "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."

*swoon* (what a lovely, lovely sentence)

And.What.A.Review.

It reminds me of a single blade of grass dancing quietly to the tunes of a summer breeze and gives me the tranquil feel of watching clouds pass overhead in the sky. That same quietude, that same natural beauty reflects in your writing.

Your words left me soothed, enchanted and overjoyed. I really have to read this one now (though my feelings for Marquez are slightly ambivalent).


Garima Samadrita wrote: ""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."

*swoon* (wha..."


Thank you so much for such lovely comment, Samadrita. I'll go to sleep with a big smile now, ha. Glad you liked the review and of course, will look forward to your reaction to this book. I understand the ambivalence you're talking about and I wish I could expand more behind the words 'revolting' and 'depravity' but my thoughts were scattered in many directions to fit in a single review. I hope to discuss notes with you on the same in the future.


Cheryl Oh how I just want to read this again and lose myself within Florentino Ariza's passion! The man had his issues, yes, but oh he knew how to love.

This novel is such a unique parallelism of passionate and agape love, of loving and being loved. It is so surreal and yet real--then again, it's Marquez we're talking about here. Interesting, how he used the death scene to travel in time, wasn't' it?

This was a riveting review, Garima!


message 17: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Utterly breathtaking review, Garima! I've really missed reading your reviews and discussing with you. Such lovely writing and insight here, I need to read this book!


George Jacob Superb Garima!
really it is...
a Superb Review!!!


Himanshu Garima, I simply love the way you love your books. There's something in those words which tells me that this is exactly what magic realism is and I've experienced it but didn't know how exactly to put it in words. You do it brilliantly.


message 20: by Agnieszka (last edited Jun 03, 2014 11:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Agnieszka A beautiful account of your journey through that book , Garima ! I need to revisit this one , remember enjoying it , but now it’s a bit faded in my memory...


Garima s.penkevich wrote: "Utterly breathtaking review, Garima! I've really missed reading your reviews and discussing with you. Such lovely writing and insight here, I need to read this book!"

Thanks a lot, Sven. I missed your comments too! Somehow I was under the impression that you have already read this book. It'll be a joy to read your thoughts on it and then we can discuss the themes therein like good ol' times :)


Garima Cheryl wrote: "Oh how I just want to read this again and lose myself within Florentino Ariza's passion! The man had his issues, yes, but oh he knew how to love.

This novel is such a unique parallelism of passion..."


Ariza was a sane fool but yes! the good version of his love was breathtaking. This book has one of the best openings and endings I have ever read and it's indeed amazing how Marquez pulled it off. And thanks as always for your kind words, Cheryl.


Garima George wrote: "Superb Garima!
really it is...
a Superb Review!!!"


Thank you so much for reading, George. Glad you liked it.


Garima Himanshu wrote: "Garima, I simply love the way you love your books. There's something in those words which tells me that this is exactly what magic realism is and I've experienced it but didn't know how exactly to ..."

Thank you, Himanshu. I surely love my books and try to express my love through these reviews but comments like yours make such efforts worthwhile.


Garima Agnieszka wrote: "A beautiful account of your journey through that book , Garima ! I need to revisit this one , remember enjoying it , but now it’s a bit faded in my memory..."

What better than Agnieszka reading this book again and reviewing it in her inimitable style. I hope you decide to meet Marquez sooner than later and as always, thanks for your kind words.


message 26: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope I love reading your reviews, Garima. Sensitive and smart. I also agree with other Members on your apt comments on Magical Realism. For me Gabo is the supreme master in this. The genre can easily become corny, or too fantastical and detached. He has a way that others do not share... he effortlessly moves from caricatural to profound portrayal of emotions...


Garima Kalliope wrote: "I love reading your reviews, Garima. Sensitive and smart. I also agree with other Members on your apt comments on Magical Realism. For me Gabo is the supreme master in this. The genre can easil..."

Thank you so much, Kall. I really appreciate your comments and glad you liked my views on Magical Realism. Another book which I'll recommend you is Pedro Páramo (which must be on your radar) for its wonderful take on the same genre.


message 28: by Florencia (new) - added it

Florencia I've struggled with this book. I've read a lot about it and I decided it wasn't for me (without even trying). But you've written a marvelous review that makes me want to see what I've been missing.


Garima Florencia wrote: "I've struggled with this book. I've read a lot about it and I decided it wasn't for me (without even trying). But you've written a marvelous review that makes me want to see what I've been missing."

Thank you, Florencia. I think this is the kind of book one should read on their own to decide its worth. And don't even let my review to give you any fascinating
idea about it. It would be great if you give it a chance in the future :)


Henry Avila Splendid review Garima, have book but unread, so many others, but I will get to it soon.


Garima Henry wrote: "Splendid review Garima, have book but unread, so many others, but I will get to it soon."

Thanks a lot, Henry.


Cherie What a beautiful review! I loved this book and read it twice - back to back. I picked it up just because it sounded so interesting and I guess I was one of the lucky ones, like you, that loved the story and the wonderful writing. Many have not enjoyed it at all, from what I have seen. Maybe it is a mood thing, or age related, but I am so glad I found it when I did.

I have given One Hundred Years of Solitude two trys and not made it through to the end yet, though.


Garima Cherie wrote: "What a beautiful review! I loved this book and read it twice - back to back. I picked it up just because it sounded so interesting and I guess I was one of the lucky ones, like you, that loved th..."

Thank you so much for reading, Cherie. I'm glad that I loved this book in spite of having some apprehension about its pace and story. Hundred years will be my next Marquez in all probability. I'm hoping to like it too.


message 34: by Steve (new)

Steve There you go again, Garima -- writing beautiful and insightful things about a book I'm embarrassed not to have read!


Amrit Chima Well done, Garima!


Garima Steve wrote: "There you go again, Garima -- writing beautiful and insightful things about a book I'm embarrassed not to have read!"

Thanks a lot, Steve and don't be embarrassed. Books are many and time is limited though I hope you fit this one in one your future reads.


Garima Amrit wrote: "Well done, Garima!"

Thank you, Amrit :)


Garima Cheryl wrote: "Thank you so much for writing an elegant introduction to a book I know, but have never read. Obviously, from your observations, it's my loss."

Thanks to you for reading and commenting, Cheryl. Btw, I see your 3 star rating against this book. Guess it's one of those glitches on part of GR?


Abubakar Mehdi This is beautiful, Beautiful review ! I have yet to experience Garcia, would you recommend this one as a good start or One hundred years of Solitude ?


Garima Abubakar wrote: "This is beautiful, Beautiful review ! I have yet to experience Garcia, would you recommend this one as a good start or One hundred years of Solitude ?"

Good to see you after a long time, Abubakar or is it my GR feed (again!) that kept you hidden? Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and your kind words. I'm yet to read One hundred years of Solitude so can't comment upon that. My first Marquez was Chronicle of a death foretold and it worked quite well for me so you can make a choice between that one or this book.


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