Nobel prize winner and author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez" tells a tale of an unrequited love that outlasts all rivals in his masterpiece "Love in the Time of Cholera". "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love". Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have ...
Nobel prize winner and author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez" tells a tale of an unrequited love that outlasts all rivals in his masterpiece "Love in the Time of Cholera". "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love". Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza's impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Flornetino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the day when he can court her again. When Fermina's husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives? "The most important writer of fiction in any language." (Bill Clinton). "An exquisite writer, wise, compassionate and extremely funny." ("Sunday Telegraph"). "An amazing celebration of the many kinds of love between men and women." ("The Times"). As one of the pioneers of magic realism and perhaps the most prominent voice of Latin American literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has received international recognition for his novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. Those published in translation by Penguin include "Autumn of the Patriarch", "Bon Voyage Mr.President", "Collected Stories", "Chronicle of a Death Foretold", "The General in his Labyrinth", "Innocent Erendira and Other Stories", "In the Evil Hour", "Leaf Storm", "Living to Tell the Tale", "Memories of My Melancholy Whores", "News of a Kidnapping", "No-one Writes to the Colonel", "Of Love and Other Demons", "One Hundred Years of Solitude", "The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor" and "Strange Pilgrims".
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Florentino may be the most love struck character in literature. He loves Fermina who rejects him at a young age, but he waits for her... all he has to do is wait for her husband to die. This beautifully written novel is full of lucious descriptions, humor, and horror. And all through the novel is Florentino's undying love for his Fermina. Marquez is not an easy author to read, but he's well worth the effort.
Jun 19, 2009
A chef d'oeuvre
The book ?Love in the time of cholera? has been written by the Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The story has been translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman. The story is written in elegant prose. The style of writing is exquisitely flowery. The fustian language used in the book is reminiscent and typical of Marquez?s other works like ?One hundred years of solitude? and ?Autumn of the patriarch.? This novel is verbose at times. The theme of the story is love. The enduring love affair is based on a fate similar to that which afflicted the author?s parents. The philandering, flamboyant and womanizing character of the protagonist in the story is similar to the real life character of the writer. The story is a tale of an unalloyed, undiminished and unyielding love that transcends time, age, life, birth, disease and ultimately death. The protagonist in the story displays relentless determination to win over the woman he loves in spite of odds that would seem insurmountable. Like Marquez?s other novels this one too is full of acts of consummation of love. This piece of literature has much less surrealism than his most famous novel that has become synonymous with him namely ?One hundred years of solitude.? The story is set deep in the heart of an imaginary Latin American country.
The entire story is set against the backdrop of a cholera epidemic that was the scourge of the hapless victims in the late 19th century and early decades of the 20th century in Latin America.
Florentino Ariza is a forlorn lover in his youth who tries to woo the girl he has fallen head over heels in love with namely Fermina Daza. He sings ballads, plays waltzes on the accordion and writes a flurry of love letters to the woman he loves and wants to marry. The girl has also fallen for Florentino Ariza. However, there is a twist in the story. The girl?s father is vehemently opposed to their marriage and will stoop down to any base level to block their path to marital bliss. He threatens to use physical force on the boy and tries to intimidate him. But the boy won?t budge an inch.
The girl?s father is a pugnacious, unscrupulous and domineering man who marries off his daughter to a wealthy doctor named Juvenal Urbino much to the dismay of Florentino Ariza who is shell shocked and broken and is driven to engage in a promiscuous lifestyle but who still hopes that her husband passes away or divorces her and wistfully yearns to marry his beloved someday. He waits patiently for his time to come. After almost nearly half a century of waiting the opportunity arises when Fermina Daza?s husband dies after falling off from a tree. He grabs the chance with both hands and proposes to Fermina Daza when he attends her late husband?s funeral.
She is outraged at his audacity and impertinence and spurns him away. Notwithstanding her refusal he does not lose heart and tries to win her over by writing a torrent of letters to her. At first she is livid at his indecency and thinks of consigning the letters to the dustbin but eventually her fury subsides and she reads his letters. Contrary to what she thinks the content of the letters have a calming effect on her. They help her to overcome her bereavement and she decides to renew her friendship with her childhood sweetheart. Ultimately Florentino Ariza?s patience pays off and Fermina Daza agrees to go on a honeymoon with him in his ship. There is a happy and to some extent even a funny ending that finally they both find solace in coital love at a time when they are very old, withered and in a decrepit state in the twilight of their lives.
Marquez has written a masterpiece. The language as mentioned earlier is highly ornate. However, like all of Marquez?s novels this one too is a little bit unrealistic. It shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel when in reality there should have been none. The novel?s Panglossian ending is beyond the pale of reason.
Mar 5, 2009
No love, only obsessive stalking
While this book had some very lyrical, almost poetic, passages, it was so wordy & dense that it was extremely difficult to read, let alone finish. Some might find appealing the idea of someone loving you as much as Florentino loved Fermina, but to me his love was more that of an obsessive stalker. I did not find Florentino appealing at all, as he came off as a man who never grew out of his adolescent obsession with his first love & viewed sex as a way to deal with the pain of not having her. I had a hard time believing that Fermina would actually want to be with him at all at any point in her life. It also seemed like the author had a strange view of how women reacted to men. I wondered where the actual love was, as well as any direct effect of cholera ? although someone explained to me there is some more scholarly comparison of lovesickness to cholera. All in all, I found the book a total waste of my time & would not have continued to read it, let alone finish it, if it were not for my book club. I would actually have rated this zero stars if I had been able to.
Jul 7, 2008
Not for me
I thought this book was absolutely awful. When I start reading a book I am determined to finish it, even if I don't like it but I could not get through this one. I love classics, but reading this book was like torture. Save yourself!!
Aug 30, 2007
Cataclysm of Love
At the slow, burning heart of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera is the mad, obsessive, unrequited love affair between Florentino Ariza and almond-eyed Fermina Daza, an outlandish love lasting exactly 50 years, nine months, and four days, a "cataclysm of love," a love whose incurable symptoms are the same as disease. Parallel to this is the marriage between Doctor Juvenal Urbino de la Calle, the most desirable of bachelors, and Fermina, as well as the manifold varieties of love--illicit, transgressive, solitary, illusive, and invincible. As the novel proceeds from the late 19th century into the modern age, through comic misapprehensions and initiations, its characters acquire self-knowledge both through love and its unfulfillment. Fermina comes to regard Florentino as having more substance than a mere "phantom of her nostalgia." After Dr. Urbino's death, they grow content with the "joy of being together." What Emily Bronte did for the 19th century in Wuthering Heights, Garcia Marquez does for our plague-ridden age. Simply put, Love in the Time of Cholera is one of the transcendent love stories of our time.
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