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Loathed Titles > Love in the Time of Cholera

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message 1: by Skylar (last edited Feb 10, 2008 04:27PM) (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments So far this is among the most boring books I have ever attempted to force myself to read. I am 100 pages into it. I wanted to like it, and I have always wanted to read a book by this author. (I should have gone for his more respected 100 Years of Solitude first, I suppose.) So far, I don't see what is in the least bit "romantic" about this story of childish, melodramatic, maudlin infatuation (or obsession). I have seen flashes of genius and a rare kind of humor in the author's writing, but, on the whole, the book has been quite tedious. Do I force myself through it hoping for improvement? Am I likely to "get" it? I have no sympathy for either the male or female protagonist at this point.

message 2: by Margo (new)

Margo Solod | 18 comments skylar,
in my opinion, and this is only my opinion, never force yourself through a book. if the first 100 pages haven't captured you, put it down. maybe some other time.
that said, love in the time of cholera was may second favvorite book by this author, second only to no one writes to the colonel. altho i loved 100 years of solitude.
maybe you just don't like magical realism, or his brand of it. doesn't mean he isn't brilliant at it, or there is something wrong with you.
i cannot stand all the YA series people have been talking about. doesn't make them bad, or me stupid. it is what is it. taste. we all have different tastes.

message 3: by Andi (new)

Andi I just read the BSC blog that Mouse recommended, and boy that was funny. I especially liked how the farther you got down the blog, the more profanity was used.

message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara I especially hated Love in the Time of Cholera... all those names... and to think a movie is coming out of that tripe... I am living in Latin America and to be honest, I can't think of many Latin American authors I actually like... they are so pompous and self important... magical realism is so over-used. Don't read any more of it... do yourself a favor and dont read any of his books because if this is supposedly the best... makes you wonder, doesn't it?

message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Mais non, c'est pas possible! I looove Marquez and especially enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera. Although I have heard many complaints of people who can't seem to make it through his novels... And I actually think it is a better selection with which to start that 100 Years of Solitude. I found it to be an easier read.

message 6: by K (new)

K | 4 comments Love it!

message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily | 1 comments according to his memoirs, this is actually the story of how his grandparents fell in love. i think that makes it even better. but it's true that if you're not a fan of magical realism, his books seem distant and are nearly impossible to read. so don't try. leave his books on the shelves for the rest of us. and they're all better in spanish if you can hack it.

message 8: by Liz (last edited Jan 24, 2008 06:07PM) (new)

Liz (liosaidh) | 9 comments If you don't like Love in the Time of Cholera, I really do NOT recommend trying One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's more of the same name game.

I do recommend his shorter books and novellas — especially "Of Love and Other Demons" and "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" (the latter especially if you can read it in Spanish).

message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Lilly - what an interesting tidbit about his grandparents and the parallel to Love in Time of Cholera.

You make a good point of suggesting if you don't like Love in the Time, then do not read 100 Years; my book club read 100 Years first and I did not care much for it so I was not anxious to read Love in the Time, but this one has now become one of my all time favorites.

message 10: by Rachael (new)

Rachael | 10 comments I had to read this book for "Great Books" class a few years ago. Did not like it.

message 11: by Dusty (new)

Dusty | 10 comments i read the book some years ago, and i believe there are some sections where he is always approaching the maid and having sex with her as she cleans the dining room. they finish and she goes about her chores. it seemed to be some sad comment on the disconnection of the upper class and the resignation of survival for those who are without options/choices. but maybe i have the wrong book entirely.

message 12: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I could not read this book. I tried, but I couldn't get past page 26.

message 13: by Bree (new)

Bree I really liked this book...i did not totally like the main character but the story was sooooo well written that I was drawn to his story regardless of how i personally felt about his behavoir...some of which was pretty abhorant to me.

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) My book club picked this book for December/January and a week after we selected it, we all voted to bag it. The sexuality was annoying, as were the stupid names.

message 15: by Jason (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I find all this antagonism towards towards Marquez fascinating. Could we get some more interesting discussion going rather than "yuck, my book club hates it" etc?

Skylar mentioned it didn't seem really very romantic to him. Admittedly I haven't read Love in Cholera, only 100 Years, and half his memoir, so I can't respond to that feeling.

Someone else said that magical realism is "over-used." I don't know how to even begin approaching this generalization. While magical realism has been around for a while, I was under the impression that Marquez and his Latin and South American counterparts sort of recreated and revitalized the genre. I guess my question is which authors would you allow the authority of employing magical realism without criticism, or rather which authors in your mind "began" it? Not to mention the fact that throwing out a book merely because of its genre is ridiculous--magical realism is fascinating and useful depending on an author's intentions and . If you don't like a genre, fine, we can't do anything about that, but don't discount an author based on personal prejudices.

Other gripes I remember: weird names/a lot of names, and annoying sexuality (whatever this means...too much sex or the characters' own sexualities were strange?). I guess you've never read any classic Russian literature, or perhaps it is a combination of difficult repetetive names with magical realism that bothers you, and not the names themselves.

Anyhoo--just looking for more thorough explanations. I've liked everything I've read, but haven't had time to pick up more. However, I have a particular penchant for the unusual. I would recommend Louis de Bernieres' "The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts" for those who like Marquez and magical realism. It's got a lot more energy than 100 years or love cholera...

message 16: by Andi (new)

Andi I didn't realize I needed to complete my disertation on the history of literary genre concentrating on the classic works from S. America and Russia before I joined this discussion thread.

Somehow I thought I would be able to offer my opinion, as a reader, at whatever level I happen to be. My mistake. I'll remove myself from the list immediately.

(What I'm trying to point out is, you could have said what you said without the tongue-lashing.)

message 17: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Horricks | 12 comments so you correct a tongue lashing with a tongue lashing??

and don't jump on me because I'm also tongue lashing..I'm all for it..

I think Marquez should stay out of Book Clubs

His books should have a warning label..


IF all your book clubs are going to do is sit around and talk about how much you like the book or hate the book then yes, please don't read marquez, or any other piece of literature worth thinking about for more than 2 seconds. I can recommend a 100 titles for you to enjoy about predictable static men and women falling in and out of predictable love

I agree with Jason. If you don't like Garcia-Marquez, because of your personal taste then fine, but I think it's hilarious that someone could say his genre is over-used, or that the names were confusing so therefor his technique is terrible..there is a reason for his names..and there is a reason and a place for magical realism and Garcia-Marquez is one of if not the best at it right now.

And really if you think you can offer your opinion on literature here without giving it any thought other than I hate it because the names are confusing or it wasn't romantic, then yes you are going to find a great many people here that have probably done dozens of disertations on literature a little annoyed with the meaninglessness of your comments and will not hestitate to say so.

message 18: by Jason (last edited Feb 06, 2008 04:55PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I did not mean to offend. I merely wanted to generate some more involved discussion. I enjoy trying to understand other people's opinions and feelings. Unfortunately our entire culture and society is so on edge nowadays that the minute you ask someone a question they assume it is a personal attack.

"Freedom of speech, right to opinions, etc."--sure, but that doesn't mean people won't want to understand why you chose the particular speech you did.

And if it is a matter of not wanting to engage in discussion whether from laziness or fear of having one's opinions' challenged, then I feel sorry for you, missing out on one of the greatest joys and opportunities in human life: being able to change our minds and beliefs, or at least critically examine them.

the only "tongue lashing" I can pick out in my original comment was the bit about Russian literature, which was hardly a "lashing" but more of a "sarcastic jab." The problem of tone while communicating online once again rears its ugly head...

message 19: by Andi (new)

Andi Ryan - Yes, I answered a tongue-lashing with a tongue-lashing. That was kind of the point...

Jason - I have no problem with you or anyone else expressing their opinions, harsh or flimsy or maddening. But generally the expression has been toward the author, or the book, or a generic gaggle of people, which are impersonal beings 'out there' that we consider as representations. Deliverers of a message.

I felt your post was directively hurtful; even though I did not know if this was intentional or not, I responded with my impression. I did not mean to offend so much as I wanted to replicate the delivery. You have/can agree or disagree or tell me it was inappropriate. I kinda put myself on that block when I posted.

message 20: by Jason (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Andi: First off I'm going to ignore the fact that your imput on this thread is limited to an incorrectly posted comment about the Baby Sitters' Club Blog and your response to me in apparent defense of those who have chose to ignore my really very earnest and innocent questions.

Second, I have only the vaguest idea of what you're saying in your last comment concerning "expressions." Tell me if I read it correctly: you believe people's comments on these threads are directed towards vague, indefinable entities with no hope of a response from real individuals. In which case, why are they writing them in a public forum rather than in their journals at home? Your response, they are "deliverers of messages." Great. I want some clarification on their so-called "message" and perhaps a stab at influencing it--this is a two way road, not a forum for broadcasting ultimatums. If that's what you want to do, start a blog, or write this stuff in your profile. Personally, when I post something on here, I do so with the hope of learning more about myself, the book I'm reading, the author concerned, or my fellow readers' opinions, beliefs, and knowledge. I EXPECT, and nothing delights me more than, precise responses that address my own posts. My posts are never directed towards the author or the book (unless the author is a participating memeber, which is not common).

Third, I would hardly consider your response a tongue-lashing. I was merely amused that you felt it necessary to defend those who can defend themselves. If that was its intent, surely you could have taken it a bit further?

Fourth, "directively" is not a word as far as I can tell with only online dictionaries currently at my I don't get what you mean.

Fifth, this post was perhaps more of a tongue-lashing, and I fear I probably scared off any hope of response to my previous questions. But I couldn't resist! Work is dull today.

message 21: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (athenanike01) | 5 comments I remember being very happy to have read 100 Years of Solitude - didn't understand all of it, and I knew it was an important work of modern lit. Probably worth re-reading now that I have, ahem, a few more years of experience under my belt. Unfortunately, I can't read Marquez's books in the original - definitely a drawback.

I think, perhaps, that magical realism allows the author to deal with difficult topics - sexuality, for example, in a very Catholic country being one of them.

My two cents, for now.

message 22: by Skylar (last edited Feb 10, 2008 04:26PM) (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments Jason, I am happy to discuss my reasons for disliking the book more in-depth, although I did abandon it on page 100, so I am not sure how in-depth I can go. I don't know why you say people who dislike this book express "antagonism" toward the author; I'm not sure why dislike of a particular book should be seen as some kind of personal enmity. In more detail, what I disliked about the book was:

(1) It was inexorably slow
(2) It's unfocused: it draws us into one story and then switches to another. We are shown Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, and then suddenly it's Dr. Urbino. We get interested in Dr. Urbino, and suddenly it's Florentino. It's jarring and unsatisfying.
(3) I had no sympathy for the primary protagonist Florentino. Despite it's slow pace, I was becoming rather interested in the book until we flashed back to Florentio's initial "love" for Fermina. Once we got to Florentino, I couldn't care whether he got the girl or got hit by a bus. His love is unbelievable, and he is like some child Romeo with his constant mooning; I cannot make myself care. He just doesn't seem REAL to me, not by page 100 anyway.

If the story were more focused, and if it were a story PRIMARILY about Dr. Urbino and his marriage to Fermina, I think I might quite like it. But as soon as the plot shifts back in time to Florentio, I am lost, and my interest is squashed. My favorite part of the book was (towards the beginning), when the writer portrayed the marriage of Dr. Urbino and his wife, especially the expert way he used the feud over the soap. The doctor's death scene, in which he regrets not loving his wife better, was also masterfully done. In fact, I think this relationship, with its domestic squabbles, it's grudging tenderness, and its final dying throes of regret, actually came FAR closer to depicting a TRUE "love" story than does the "love" of the melodramatic Florentino. For love is a shared life with (and a commitment to) someone you come to know intimately in all their mundane frailty. It is not mooning over someone who is largely a figment of your imagination and obsessing about your supposed love between bouts of meaningless fornication.

Ryan, you say "IF YOU WANT A BOOK CLUB SELECTION BECAUSE YOU AER LOOKING FOR ROMANCE: SEEK OTHER CHICK LIT NOVELS!!!" Well, I do not particularly want romance; I simply want good literature. But "Love in the Time of Cholera" comes billed as an "exceptional half-century story of unrequited love" and as "the greatest love story of all time." I therefore think it is quite fair to consider whether it does, in fact, succeed as a love story. I only read 100 pages, but what I discovered seemed utterly unbelievable as a love story. The protagonist had little real acquaintance with the heroine before presumably falling in love with her, and his love seems far more like infatuation than love, and his persistence seems obsessive. He is a maudlin character, and the story is told in a highly melodramatic fashion. I don't know what "magic realism" is, but if it's the same thing as melodrama, I am not impressed.

message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Thank you, Skylar. Like I said, I haven't read the book, but from your comments it does not sound like his style is a lot different from 100 Years. He's very fluid and I could see how it would maybe work better on a grander scale where particular characters are not meant to be the focus--in 100 years they are to some extent, it's just that there are so many of them, creating a collage of the family and more like snapshots of individuals. At least, that's the way I remember it. He's a master at creating very visceral atmospheres and settings.

I've read most of the first part of his autobiography, but I ended up putting that down. I was not a big non-fiction fan at the time, but perhaps it was also a signal of the ability of his writing to hold me.

I'd recommend giving 100 Years a shot if you feel inclined, it might be a different experience. I've got too much on my plate to return to Marquez at the moment, though.

message 24: by Norman (new)

Norman (normanince) | 48 comments Oh, the lovely liveliness of vim and vigor in the pursuit of veracity. Hats off to you, Jason, for provoking some intelligent dialogue, despite the fact that you haven't even read the book!

Skylar, you've already invested some time and thought into this novel...why not skim through the rest of the book, see if it will all make sense somehow, and then either re-affirm or alter your opinion of it? Though I am loathe to do that myself, a few months ago I read The Unconsoled (Ishiguro) that way because I simply could not stand it after about 100 pages of trying...and trying...and trying. I still intensely dislike it but at least I know that the ending contains very little to outweigh my first impressions.

message 25: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments I may go back to Love in the Time of Cholera in a month or so. I just can't force myself on right now. I doubt I will have forgotten the plot (such as it was) by then. I have always been meaning to read this author, because it is something one is supposed to have done, but I think I'm getting too old to read the things I'm supposed to read instead of the things I enjoy...

message 26: by Jenn (last edited Feb 13, 2008 07:56PM) (new)

Jenn | 3 comments I came away from reading this book and felt as if I'd just read a wonderful piece of literature written by a true author. I loved it and am looking forward to reading some of Marquez's other books. I think being billed as an "exceptional half-century story of unrequited love" is correct, but "the greatest love story of all time" is questionable.

My mother-in-law said she felt it was redundant.

message 27: by Jason (new)

Jason (gireesh42) I'm impressed, Norman. I don't think I could ever "skim" a work of fiction. If I don't like it, there's no point, and if I do...

Wow. I can't imagine...I'm really quite jealous...

message 28: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Horricks | 12 comments Thank you Skylar for expounding on what put you of the book. I think if I had read the book thinking it was going to be the greatest love story of the century I probably would have expected something else also. I remember hating the movie "The Village" because I was expecting a horror movie and it turned out to be a love story.

I think the idea of this novel being a love story is adequate, but that doesn't have to mean the love is predicated by what your belief of love is. Nor do I think that defining the novel as a love story is fair. I think it is more a story of human interaction. I tend to think of Florentino as a romeo. I never thought Romeo knew what love really is, and was only in love with the idea of love itself; with no understanding of the meaning of the state. I don't believe that Marquez intended for Florention to be a beloved character...he may have, but I don't read it that way..he creeps me out..but that doesn't make him unworthy as a character in this novel..I think he provides a good foil to the doctor.

I tend to like slow novels at times. Not always, but being a Harrison and a Richard Ford fan I can't use being slow as a reason to dislike a novel, also having enjoyed many a postmodern and magical realism novel I like it's change of narration and it's non-linear storyline. I know it can be irritating at times when you are engrossed with one plot and then the story shifts to another plot, there are many books that do that..Julia Alvarez's book "Saving the World" is a good example, where I completely enjoyed one plot and only had a mild interest in the other, so when it would switch back and forth between the too, I put up with it to enjoy the story as a whole. Sometimes it can get irritating, but sometimes it is essential and even fun.

To me reading Marquez is fun, but not a quick light easy thrills..but more of a long drawn out emotion that can either leave you empty or hollow, or heavy with emotion. Any time a novel can make me feel, no matter the emotion I think it worthwile.

message 29: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments "I never thought Romeo knew what love really is, and was only in love with the idea of love itself; with no understanding of the meaning of the state. I don't believe that Marquez intended for Florention to be a beloved character"

That is very much the impression I got of Florentino -- in love with the idea of love. But, you see, I found Romeo and Juliet to be one of the most uninteresting of Shakespeare's plays. I could enjoy the sparks of genius as I can in "Love in the Time of Cholera," but not the overall work, and, since this novel is monstrously long...the sparks aren't enough.

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

As soon as I saw the group name Books I loathed I immediately thought of Love in the time of Cholera. My sister-in-law gave it to me a few years ago and I really wanted to like it because of that but I just couldn't find the enjoyment that others find.

Why didn't I like it? The characters were the most self-absorbed folks I've come across in a long time and I didn't develop any affection for them. I kept thinking that if they were real life people of my aquaintaince I would go out of my way never to speak to them. I don't need my fictional characters to be likeable but I do need more than one dimension to their personality for me to be engaged.

I also found the writing style flowery - it reminded me of the sort of thing people wrote in first year English Lit when they were trying to prove how smart they are.

I am stunned that anyone could discern enough of a plot to make a movie out of this but I shan't be wasting $15 to find out if it is as bad as I imagine.

Summing up I found this tedious, pretentious and ultimately unfulfilling.

message 31: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 2 comments Going into it and not expecting to be a romance helped a whole ton.

At least, look at it from a technical side. It's amazing how he interchanges timelines and character focus. Marquez is brills. "Love" could be so tedious, I was happy when it ended. Happy I read it, but sort of happy it was over.

message 32: by Lorena (new)

Lorena (lorenalilian) I tend to give more credit to an opinion from someone who reads a book in its entirety, and it is easier to understand, if not always agree, with a reader who puts forward a thoughtful summary of why they loved or hated a piece of work.

I think perhaps the magical realism genre is one that is not for the masses, I have a good friend who is very smart and educated that just hated this book, and found it confusing, she couldn't visualize for example the fact that some people fall in love or that sexual attraction could happen at the end of one's life.

While I don't think this is Marquez's best work, (I like "Chronicles of a death foretold" and "Of love and Other Demons" much better) I thought it was a good exploration of the way life changes through out time, how some people choose to move on and others stay the same. The vivid recreation of the time and space was what I liked best.

message 33: by Galen (new)

Galen Johnson (galenj) I usually hate 'wordy' writing, I usually hate anything with romance, I usually hate books that are recommended to me over and over...and yet I loved this book. I couldn't stop reading it, to the point that I actually lied and said I was sick one Friday night so I could be antisocial and finish it.

I thought there was an incredible sense of ambiance to the book, and I also appreciated the examination of all the different kinds of relationships that make up a life.

I love to hear why people hate it though, because that always makes me think more about a book and my own reasons for liking it.

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