am 9. Mai 2000
I was so suprised by this book. A love story that is realistic because of the lover's imperfection. Love is not a stagent idea in this book. One sees both the pragmatism of rejected love and devotion to the idea of love. The characters are unpredictable and complex. The main love triange in the story is suported by the richness of supporting characters. The supporting characters take on short main story line roles. This book is about all the aspects and degree of love. Devotion,regection, love, lust, fidelity and infidelity are all mixed. The characters struggle with their relationship, which are fluid and unpredictable as life is. The only love story that is as realistic and challenges the reader as much is the Elornor Gehrigs My Luke and I. This is some of the best fiction that exist!
am 24. Dezember 2007
It spans two entire lifetimes. It takes place between the end of the 19th Century and ends in the beginning of the 20th Century. Like all Marquez novels, this one is well written and a joy to read.
Marquez's use of fantasy realism is legendary and keeps the somewhat morose plot fun and moving. The main character stalks his lover in parks pretending to read on a bench as she passes by. His love becomes an obsession.
Marquez shows that love and the sadness it can bring is not for youth alone. It celebrates the powerful hold that true love can have on a man his entire life. This is a book that a man would enjoy as much as a woman!! I'd also recommend reading Tino Georgiou's bestselling novel--The Fates--if you haven't read it yet!
am 9. Juni 2000
Love in the Time of Cholera takes place circa 1880-1930 in an unnamed Caribbean seaport city. The three main characters form a triangle of love, with the hypotneuse being the quintessential romantic, Florentino Ariza, a man whose life is dedicated to love in all its aspects.
As a young apprentice telegrapher, Florentino Ariza falls hopelessly in love with the haughty teenager, Fermina Daza. Although the two barely meet, they manage to carry on a passionate affair via letters and telegrams, until one day, Fermina Daza, realizing that Florentino Ariza is more "shadow than substance," rejects him and marries the wealthy dandy, Dr. Juvenal Urbino instead.
Florentino Ariza, who has sworn to love Fermina Daza forever, is, of course, stricken to the core, but Fermina's marriage is nothing he can't handle. As one century closes and another begins, Florentino Ariza rises through the ranks of the River Company of the Caribbean and sets off on a series of 622 erotic adventures, both "long term liaisons and countless fleeting adventures," all of which he chronicled and all the while nurturing a fervent belief that his ultimate destiny was with Fermina Daza.
Fifty-one years, nine months and four days after Fermina's wedding, on Pentecost Sunday, fate intervenes and Fermina becomes a free woman once again when Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies attempting to retrieve his wayward parrot from a mango tree. Seeing his chance at last, Florentino Ariza visits Fermina Daza after the funeral and declares, "I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love." Fermina's reaction is not quite what Florentino was hoping for. She orders him out of the house with the words, "And don't show your face again for the years of life that are left to you...I hope there are very few of them."
Fermina Daza, however, hasn't quite gotten Florentino Ariza out of her system and the story ends, symbolically, with a river journey into eternity.
It's hard to believe that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has written a book that is better than One Hundred Years of Solitude, but with Love in the Time of Cholera, he has done just that. Not quite magical realism, it is still magic of the highest order and it is pure Garcia Marquez. An exquisite writer, Garcia Marquez tells his tales with passion, control and unblinking humor with just the right amount of the fabulous woven in.
Unlike some of his slightly claustrophobic works, this novel has an almost epic quality and Garcia Marquez handles the shifts in time and character perfectly; from the opening lines you know you're in the hands of a master. The book is flawless: Not one word is out of place, not one sentence is awkward. Lesser authors might slip into the maudlin when writing an entire book on the many aspects of love, but Garcia Marquez never gives us less than crystalline insight into what it really means to live, to love and to live a life of love. The last chapter alone is a masterpiece no one who's loved, or loved and lost, will ever forget.
As the book closes, we sail down the river with Garcia Marquez at the helm, safe in the knowledge that he is a navigator of the highest order, one who can pilot the river of love unerringly. He certainly does just that in this shining, sometimes funny and always uplifting book of flawless perfection.
am 17. November 1998
Filled with superfluous details, meant to paint a picture, but in the end only getting in the way. Dialog is for the most part non-existent, so beware when you make the 300+ page treck. The problem with this book is first and foremost, many episodes are unconvincing, such as Florentino loosing his virginity to a stranger in the dark on the ship. Yeh right! And even worse not being able to recognize her the next day. Not even being able to remember her scent?! I would have stop reading then had it not been for the 15 skins I shelled out (based on the outside cover reviews). Also for an artist/poet who read romantic fiction, he seemed to enjoy screwing without any intimacy. (The author cannot seem to write about it with much intimacy either, trying to sound literate but ending up sounding only vulgar). What turned me off is when he deflowered the 14 year old girl. Most readers, overlook this fact when they weep at the end. I guess he's only human, but then, so is she. If Bill Clinton were to carry on as such, these same readers would have his head. We never really get into either Florentino or Fermina's head. We never really know how Fermina makes him feel, or what it is about her that drives him. All we know is that he vomits a lot. We don't even know what is written in the LETTERS!!! Perhaps the author is incapable of writing a love letter. This is a very superficial book with many characters we will never care about. It is sad towards the end. "I remained a virgin for you". What did this mean? He remained a virgin in his soul? Oooh, heavy! (But then, he says it so convincingly, it had to have meant something!) The only redeeming quality is knowing that eventually we are all going to smell like vinegar. And in the words of BTO, "Any love is good love, so I took what I could get.." Words to live by.
am 7. Mai 1998
I picked up this book because I thought I should read something by this much-celebrated author, and was told that this was an easier bite to chew than jumping into 100 Years of Solitude right away. After reading nothing but glowing, laudatory reviews of this novel, I had the highest expectations. This certainly plays a role in my disappointment.
I approach this book as a 17-year-old girl, and obviously much world experience is hard to come by in that length of time. I am, however, about the age that Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza were when they first fell in love and I myself have been "infatuated at first sight." And still from my perspective, their actions are foreign and nonsensical to me. It is inconceivable that a man could have 622 liaisons and yet still be "true in his heart" to one woman.
On a more abstract level, I have been in love; as in love as a 17-year-old can know how to be. I remember falling into a desperate infatuation at first sight and not knowing any better than to call it love, and I know how different I felt after two years of a solid relationship. To think that I slandered the term love by using it to describe my stupid, immature, and (even more) inexperienced feelings that I possessed without even talking to him is painful for me to think about. I can only hypothesize what loving someone for 30 years would do. What strikes me most about this book is that Daza and Ariza's love seems unchanging; after 53 years they pick up where they left off and assume that each is still the same they were all those years ago. Ariza still pines for Daza with the same romantic fervor he felt as a young man--it's not that older couples don't feel passion, it's just that passion should be both tempered and enlivened by a closer bond than Ariza has.
I will admit my inexperience in matters of the heart, but I do have a conception of what love is and it isn't congruent with Marquez's. 622 affairs as! ide (one with a 14-year-old girl, I might add), Ariza appears to have not matured past the lovesick, manic depressive young man who stalked Daza in the first place. I find that when I consider the issues without the aid of Marquez's romantic prose, they are much harder for me to identify with and understand.
am 27. September 1997
Where "100 Years of Solitude" is the greatest testament to family ever written, "Love in the Time of Cholera" is the greatest testament to love.
I was lucky to have already experienced love before reading this book, because I don't know if I would have been able to comprehend this book without such an advantage.
Read this book and you will forever be haunted by the smell of almonds. You will never forget the image of Fermina and Juvenal travelling in a hot air balloon as dead cows and human beings decorate the rivers below, their remains being eaten by vultures--Marquez' bird of choice.
There are also two memorable scenes in this book for how painfully real they are. One, Marquez' description of Urbino's fall from a ladder, which leads to his death, is expertly detailed. Death is never a simple occurence in the world of Marquez', and Urbino's last breaths are decorated with thoughts of Fermina and the relief in having experienced love. Two: Fermina realizing, "moments" after her husband's death, that all her life, she has given her love to the wrong man.
Never melodramatic because Marquez creates characters whose passions are all too human. There is such a thing as love in Marquez' world and nothing proves this more than Florentino Ariza writing his love for Fermina on rose petals.
I hope that I will always have a love in my life as intense as the love Florentino has for Fermina, and if I ever have to wait as long as he did, I hope that my journey is as rewarding.
Marquez teaches us that love comes in many forms and although we may expereince it differently, without it, we are incomplete. Ultimately, of course, his message is that with love we can easily conquer or "rise above" the most unbearable of human sorrows.
Muchas gracias Senor Marquez! Eres un buen instructor!
am 21. September 1997
This story opens in the aftermath of the death of
Jeremiah de Saint-Amour. His friends gather and discuss
Jeremiah's movements which led to his suicide, by
gold cyanide poisoning. The dead man's friend, Dr Juvenal
Urbino, decides that there is no need for an autopsy, and
points out to the disappointed medical intern,
deprived of this opportunity to learn "There is bound
to be someone driven mad by love who will give you the
the chance one of these days"....."And when you do find one,
observe with care. They almost always have crystals in their heart."
Jeremiah's secret love of many years, a mulatta of
powerful presence, had played chess with the old man
on his last night, and knew that he wished for death.
She had beaten him in the game, and "She insisted
that she deserved no praise, but rather that Jeremiah
de Saint-Amour, already lost in the mists of death,
had moved his pieces without love."
The scene thus set, the real story begins. The
Mulatta's complicity in Jeremiah's last actions
underscores the most powerful theme of this book:
the power of love. Briefly, this is the story of a man
who lives for the love of a woman. They meet as
teenagers, and are separated by her disapproving father.
But the young man, Florentino Ariza, pursues his
hopeless love, the beautiful but haughty Fermina Daza,
for fifty years. She becomes the reson for his life,
consumes his every thought, and eventually becomes
his after the death of her beloved husband, the same
Dr Juvenal Urbino of the opening scene. A common plot
indeed, and one which lends itself to melodrama -
but not in the hands of Marquez. This story is told
with the mastery and magic of all of Marquez's
books, and we believe in the characters, and the plot,
because they are essentially true.
The beautiful language, so expressive of wonder
and sadness, and so full of aching truths that we can
all share, is what sets this book apart.
Marquez builds characters like no-one else can. They
follow nature rather than norm, they live
passionate and colourful lives, and when their
time comes, they die with dignity, and sometimes
panache, leaving this world before their presence
becomes dissonant, before the colours dry. Fate and
fatality are accepted in this world which sets
traditional knowledge and instinct above science,
commerce and law. And the result is a book which,
like all of Marquez, is a joy to read and re-read.
am 14. Mai 1997
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera is an epic love story, notable as much for its romanticism as for its unflinching gaze towards the vagaries of love's many faces. For those who scoff at or discard the literary love story, paradoxically, this is the book for you. Set in the seductive Caribbean during the mid-nineteenth century, Marquez's novel explores love in all its manifestations, from the vertigo of idolatry to the dirty dishes of marriage, and his portraits resonate exquisitely for anyone who has nursed this human inkling. Marquez never cheapens love nor falsifies it; on the contrary, he sees love's glory, or lack thereof, with an unerring eye. His portrait of marriage between his two protagonists, Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Fermina Daza, includes such observations such as "The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast." Interestingly, Marquez reveals an astute viewpoint towards the female predicament in marriage: Fermina Daza realizes she is nothing more to her husband than "a deluxe servant;" she feels she is trapped in his "holy service." Nor is Marquez oblivious to the bland atrocities committed by a husband: Dr. Juvenal Urbino proclaims meals prepared "without love;" he never deigns to pick anything up, turn out a light, or close a door. Marquez is a man who observes without bias the diurnal stalemate of a marriage lived daily. He concludes that "nothing in this world was more difficult than love."
Marquez does not limit himself to the domestic pitfalls of marriage. Florentino Ariza, another man who figures prominently in this incognito Caribbean city, has loved Fermina Daza inexorably for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days. His love is fervent and never falters. Yet, before one chalks his devotion to an unlikely romanticism, the love Florentino Ariza fosters towards Fermina Daza is not idealized. Notwithstanding the hundreds of women he frenetically possesses during his admirable wait for Fermina Daza's widowhood, he is hardly a hero of unblemished character. At a very advanced age, he exploits his position as guardian of a 14-year old girl for physical love. Ultimately, when Florentino Ariza is granted the holy audience of Fermina Daza, he abandons the girl, who commits suicide. Towards the novel's conclusion, Florentino Ariza is very old, a victim of festering bed sores and unfettered constipation. Marquez's omniscient eye (or nose) describes the stench of the two elderly lovers as a "henhouse." Despite, or perhaps because of, these prosaic details, the reader does not doubt the authenticity of the feelings presented. Love, in Marquez's lush, grand novel, is made truer because of, not despite, its human frailties
am 9. April 1999
I read Love in the Time of Cholera fresh from the euphoria of having finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is undoubtedly one of the best books I've ever read. Reading these two novels back to back may have been a mistake. Love in the Time of Cholera is a nice story, at times touching, but I did not love these characters, feel their motivations, or really care what happened to them. Florentino, to me, was immature, and his idea of love hardly changed from the time he was an adolescent. He had childish notions of love, and selfishly indulged in relationships with women in a manner that was Freudian, at best. Love is noble, infatuation is not. Therapy may have done him a lot of good. Nor did I care for the stoic, selfish, spoiled Fermina, though she was more practical and grounded than Florentino. She seemed to be a more static version of Amaranta from 100 Years. However, I think Marquez made a strong statement regarding the effect individual pride can have on intimate relationships. Ultimately, these characters seemed destined to make bad, selfish choices, to be immersed in what we now call "game playing." It was very tiring, and I did not believe the relationship at the end of the novel. It seemed like an easy way to end the novel, and I do not think either characters ever found true love. In sum, I was disappointed by Love in the Time of Cholera, though I wanted very much to like it. I will continue to read Marquez, and hopefully my initial love for his work will be restored.
am 14. August 1999
I think a lot of the online reviewers of this book don't realize that this book is not about the relationship of Fermina and Florentino. The book is about love in all of its forms, and the characters in the book exist as vehicles to examine the strangest and most powerful of all human emotions. Love in the Time of Cholera is about: unrequited love (Florentino for Fermina); marital love (Fermina and Juvenal); platonic love (Florentino and Leona); angry love (Florentino and the poet who makes him so furious); jealous love (the adulterous wife killed because of her affair with Florentino); young love (Florentino and Fermina in the beginning); dangerous love (the mental patient and Florentino); adulterous love (Juvenal and his affair, Florentino and many of his women); love from afar (Florentino and Fermina); elderly love (Florentino and Fermina, Fermina and Juvenal; the cyanide suicide); May-December love (Florentino and his ward); the relationship between sex, age, society, art, death and love (pretty much the whole book).
I could go on, but you get the idea. Any attempt to read this book as the story of Florentino and Fermina misses the point. The book is still very enjoyable that way, but look beyond the surface and enjoy Marquez' ruminations on that thing called love that drives us all crazy.
Incidentally, I think it's one of the best books ever written.