Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307389732
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/05/2007
Series: Oprah's Book Club Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 16,640
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 7.92(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Colombia in 1927. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time Cholera, The Autumn Of The Patriarch, The General In His Labyrinth, and News Of A Kidnapping. He died in 2014.

Hometown:

Mexico City, Mexico

Date of Birth:

March 6, 1928

Place of Birth:

Aracataca, Colombia

Education:

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 1947-48, and Universidad de Cartagena, 1948-49

Read an Excerpt

IT WAS INEVITABLE: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love. Dr. Juvenal Urbino noticed it as soon as he entered the still darkened house where he had hurried on an urgent call to attend a case that for him had lost all urgency many years before. The Antillean refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, disabled war veteran, photographer of children, and his most sympathetic opponent in chess, had escaped the torments of memory with the aromatic fumes of gold cyanide.

He found the corpse covered with a blanket on the campaign cot where he had always slept, and beside it was a stool with the developing tray he had used to vaporize the poison. On the floor, tied to a leg of the cot, lay the body of a black Great Dane with a snow-white chest, and next to him were the crutches. At one window the splendor of dawn was just beginning to illuminate the stifling, crowded room that served as both bedroom and laboratory, but there was enough light for him to recognize at once the authority of death. The other windows, as well as every other chink in the room, were muffled with rags or sealed with black cardboard, which increased the oppressive heaviness. A counter was crammed with jars and bottles without labels and two crumbling pewter trays under an ordinary light bulb covered with red paper. The third tray, the one for the fixative solution, was next to the body. There were old magazines and newspapers everywhere, piles of negatives on glass plates, broken furniture, but everything was kept free of dust by a diligent hand. Although the air coming through the window had purified the atmosphere, there still remained for the one who could identify it the dying embers of hapless love in the bitter almonds. Dr. Juvenal Urbino had often thought, with no premonitory intention, that this would not be a propitious place for dying in a state of grace. But in time he came to suppose that perhaps its disorder obeyed an obscure determination of Divine Providence.

A police inspector had come forward with a very young medical student who was completing his forensic training at the municipal dispensary, and it was they who had ventilated the room and covered the body while waiting for Dr. Urbino to arrive. They greeted him with a solemnity that on this occasion had more of condolence than veneration, for no one was unaware of the degree of his friendship with Jeremiah de Saint-Amour. The eminent teacher shook hands with each of them, as he always did with every one of his pupils before beginning the daily class in general clinical medicine, and then, as if it were a flower, he grasped the hem of the blanket with the tips of his index finger and his thumb, and slowly uncovered the body with sacramental circumspection. Jeremiah de Saint-Amour was completely naked, stiff and twisted, eyes open, body blue, looking fifty years older than he had the night before. He had luminous pupils, yellowish beard and hair, and an old scar sewn with baling knots across his stomach. The use of crutches had made his torso and arms as broad as a galley slave's, but his defenseless legs looked like an orphan's. Dr. Juvenal Urbino studied him for a moment, his heart aching as it rarely had in the long years of his futile struggle against death.

"Damn fool," he said. "The worst was over."

He covered him again with the blanket and regained his academic dignity. His eightieth birthday had been celebrated the year before with an official three-day jubilee, and in his thank-you speech he had once again resisted the temptation to retire. He had said: "I'll have plenty of time to rest when I die, but this eventuality is not yet part of my plans." Although he heard less and less with his right ear, and leaned on a silver-handled cane to conceal his faltering steps, he continued to wear a linen suit, with a gold watch chain across his vest, as smartly as he had in his younger years. His Pasteur beard, the color of mother-of-pearl, and his hair, the same color, carefully combed back and with a neat part in the middle, were faithful expressions of his character. He compensated as much as he could for an increasingly disturbing erosion of memory by scribbling hurried notes on scraps of paper that ended in confusion in each of his pockets, as did the instruments, the bottles of medicine, and all the other things jumbled together in his crowded medical bag. He was not only the city's oldest and most illustrious physician, he was also its most fastidious man. Still, his too obvious display of learning and the disingenuous manner in which he used the power of his name had won him less affection than he deserved.

His instructions to the inspector and the intern were precise and rapid. There was no need for an autopsy; the odor in the house was sufficient proof that the cause of death had been the cyanide vapors activated in the tray by some photographic acid, and Jeremiah de Saint-Amour knew too much about those matters for it to have been an accident. When the inspector showed some hesitation, he cut him off with the kind of remark that was typical of his manner: "Don't forget that I am the one who signs the death certificate." The young doctor was disappointed: he had never had the opportunity to study the effects of gold cyanide on a cadaver. Dr. Juvenal Urbino had been surprised that he had not seen him at the Medical School, but he understood in an instant from the young man's easy blush and Andean accent that he was probably a recent arrival to the city. He said: "There is bound to be someone driven mad by love who will give you the chance one of these days." And only after he said it did he realize that among the countless suicides he could remember, this was the first with cyanide that had not been caused by the sufferings of love. Then something changed in the tone of his voice.

"And when you do find one, observe with care," he said to the intern: "they almost always have crystals in their heart."

Then he spoke to the inspector as he would have to a subordinate. He ordered him to circumvent all the legal procedures so that the burial could take place that same afternoon and with the greatest discretion. He said: "I will speak to the Mayor later." He knew that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour lived in primitive austerity and that he earned much more with his art than he needed, so that in one of the drawers in the house there was bound to be more than enough money for the funeral expenses.

"But if you do not find it, it does not matter," he said. "I will take care of everything."

He ordered him to tell the press that the photographer had died of natural causes, although he thought the news would in no way interest them. He said: "If it is necessary, I will speak to the Governor." The inspector, a serious and humble civil servant, knew that the Doctor's sense of civic duty exasperated even his closest friends, and he was surprised at the ease with which he skipped over legal formalities in order to expedite the burial. The only thing he was not willing to do was speak to the Archbishop so that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour could be buried in holy ground. The inspector, astonished at his own impertinence, attempted to make excuses for him.

"I understood this man was a saint," he said.

"Something even rarer," said Dr. Urbino. "An atheistic saint. But those are matters for God to decide.''

In the distance, on the other side of the colonial city, the bells of the Cathedral were ringing for High Mass. Dr. Urbino put on his half-moon glasses with the gold rims and consulted the watch on its chain, slim, elegant, with the cover that opened at a touch: he was about to miss Pentecost Mass.

In the parlor was a huge camera on wheels like the ones used in public parks, and the backdrop of a marine twilight, painted with homemade paints, and the walls papered with pictures of children at memorable moments: the first Communion, the bunny costume, the happy birthday. Year after year, during contemplative pauses on afternoons of chess, Dr. Urbino had seen the gradual covering over of the walls, and he had often thought with a shudder of sorrow that in the gallery of casual portraits lay the germ of the future city, governed and corrupted by those unknown children, where not even the ashes of his glory would remain.

On the desk, next to a jar that held several old sea dog's pipes, was the chessboard with an unfinished game. Despite his haste and his somber mood, Dr. Urbino could not resist the temptation to study it. He knew it was the previous night's game, for Jeremiah de Saint-Amour played at dusk every day of the week with at least three different opponents, but he always finished every game and then placed the board and chessmen in their box and stored the box in a desk drawer. The Doctor knew he played with the white pieces and that this time it was evident he was going to be defeated without mercy in four moves. "If there had been a crime, this would be a good clue," Urbino said to himself. "I know only one man capable of devising this masterful trap." If his life depended on it, he had to find out later why that indomitable soldier, accustomed to fighting to the last drop of blood, had left the final battle of his life unfinished.

At six that morning, as he was making his last rounds, the night watchman had seen the note nailed to the street door: Come in without knocking and inform the police. A short while later the inspector arrived with the intern, and the two of them had searched the house for some evidence that might contradict the unmistakable breath of bitter almonds. But in the brief minutes the Doctor needed to study the unfinished game, the inspector discovered an envelope among the papers on the desk, addressed to Dr. Juvenal Urbino and sealed with so much sealing wax that it had to be ripped to pieces to get the letter out. The Doctor opened the black curtain over the window to have more light, gave a quick glance at the eleven sheets covered on both sides by a diligent handwriting, and when he had read the first paragraph he knew that he would miss Pentecost Communion. He read with agitated breath, turning back on several pages to find the thread he had lost, and when he finished he seemed to return from very far away and very long ago. His despondency was obvious despite his effort to control it: his lips were as blue as the corpse and he could not stop the trembling of his fingers as he refolded the letter and placed it in his vest pocket. Then he remembered the inspector and the young doctor, and he smiled at them through the mists of grief.

"Nothing in particular," he said. "His final instructions."

It was a half-truth, but they thought it complete because he ordered them to lift a loose tile from the floor, where they found a worn account book that contained the combination to the strongbox. There was not as much money as they expected, but it was more than enough for the funeral expenses and to meet other minor obligations. Then Dr. Urbino realized that he could not get to the Cathedral before the Gospel reading.

"It's the third time I've missed Sunday Mass since I've had the use of my reason," he said. "But God understands."

So he chose to spend a few minutes more and attend to all the details, although he could hardly bear his intense longing to share the secrets of the letter with his wife. He promised to notify the numerous Caribbean refugees who lived in the city in case they wanted to pay their last respects to the man who had conducted himself as if he were the most respectable of them all, the most active and the most radical, even after it had become all too clear that he had been overwhelmed by the burden of disillusion. He would also inform his chess partners, who ranged from distinguished professional men to nameless laborers, as well as other, less intimate acquaintances who might perhaps wish to attend the funeral. Before he read the posthumous letter he had resolved to be first among them, but afterward he was not certain of anything. In any case, he was going to send a wreath of gardenias in the event that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, had repented at the last moment. The burial would be at five, which was the most suitable hour during the hottest months. If they needed him, from noon on he would be at the country house of Dr. Lácides Olivella, his beloved disciple, who was celebrating his silver anniversary in the profession with a formal luncheon that day.

Once the stormy years of his early struggles were over, Dr. Juvenal Urbino had followed a set routine and achieved a respectability and prestige that had no equal in the province. He arose at the crack of dawn, when he began to take his secret medicines: potassium bromide to raise his spirits, salicylates for the ache in his bones when it rained, ergosterol drops for vertigo, belladonna for sound sleep. He took something every hour, always in secret, because in his long life as a doctor and teacher he had always opposed prescribing palliatives for old age: it was easier for him to bear other people's pains than his own. In his pocket he always carried a little pad of camphor that he inhaled deeply when no one was watching to calm his fear of so many medicines mixed together.

He would spend an hour in his study preparing for the class in general clinical medicine that he taught at the Medical School every morning, Monday through Saturday, at eight o'clock, until the day before his death. He was also an avid reader of the latest books that his bookseller in Paris mailed to him, or the ones from Barcelona that his local bookseller ordered for him, although he did not follow Spanish literature as closely as French. In any case, he never read them in the morning, but only for an hour after his siesta and at night before he went to sleep. When he was finished in the study he did fifteen minutes of respiratory exercises in front of the open window in the bathroom, always breathing toward the side where the roosters were crowing, which was where the air was new. Then he bathed, arranged his beard and waxed his mustache in an atmosphere saturated with genuine cologne from Farina Gegenüber, and dressed in white linen, with a vest and a soft hat and cordovan boots. At eighty-one years of age he preserved the same easygoing manner and festive spirit that he had on his return from Paris soon after the great cholera epidemic, and except for the metallic color, his carefully combed hair with the center part was the same as it had been in his youth. He breakfasted en famille but followed his own personal regimen of an infusion of wormwood blossoms for his stomach and a head of garlic that he peeled and ate a clove at a time, chewing each one carefully with bread, to prevent heart failure. After class it was rare for him not to have an appointment related to his civic initiatives, or his Catholic service, or his artistic and social innovations.

What People are Saying About This

Abraham Verghese

The most sensuous novel I have read.

Reading Group Guide

"A rich, commodious novle whose narrative power is matched only by its generosity of vision." –The New York TimesThe introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group’s reading of Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez masterful novel of unrequited love.

1. Why does García Márquez use similar terms to describe the effects of love and cholera?

2. Plagues figure prominently in many of García Márquez’s novels. What literal and metaphoric functions does the cholera plague serve in this novel? What light does it shed on Latin American society of the nineteenth century? How does it change its characters’ attitudes toward life? How are the symptoms of love equated in the novel with the symptoms of cholera?

3. What does the conflict between Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Florentino Ariza reveal about the customs of Europe and the ways of Caribbean life? How is Fermina Daza torn between the two?

4. Dr. Urbino reads only what is considered fine literature, while Fermina Daza immerses herself in contemporary romances or soap operas. What does this reveal about the author’s attitude toward the distinction between “high” and “low” literature. Does his story line and style remind you more of a soap opera or a classical drama?

5. After rejecting Florentino’s declaration of love following her husband’s funeral, why is Fermina eventually won over by him?

6. Why does a change in Florentino’s writing style make Fermina more receptive to him?

7. What does Florentino mean when he tells Fermina, before they make love for the first time, “I’ve remained a virgin for you” (p. 339)?

8. Why does Florentino tell each of his lovers that she is the only one he has had?

9. What does Florentino’s uncle mean when he says, “without river navigation there is no love” (p. 168)?

10. Do Fermina and Dr. Urbino succeed at “inventing true love” (p. 159)?

11. Set against the backdrop of recurring civil wars and cholera epidemics, the novel explores death and decay, as well as love. How does Dr. Urbino’s refusal to grow old gracefully affect the other two characters? What does it say about fulfillment and beauty in their society? Does the fear of aging or death change Florentino Ariza’s feelings toward Fermina Daza?

12. Compare the suicide of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour at the beginning of the book with that of Florentino’s former lover, América Vicuña at the end. How do their motives differ? Why does the author frame the book with these two events?

13. Why is Leona Cassiani “the true woman in [Florentino’s] life although neither of them ever knew it and they never made love” (p. 182)?

14. When Tránsito Ariza tells Florentino he looks as if he were going to a funeral when he is going to visit Fermina, why does he respond by saying, “It’s almost the same thing” (p. 65)? (Used by permission of Penguin Books.)

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Love in the Time of Cholera 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 326 reviews.
L.Emerson More than 1 year ago
This is the most gorgeous book I've ever read, not just for the plot, which is interesting, but because it is written with the highest level of storytelling skill. I thoroughly loved it. Readers looking for more than just a good book will be well satisfied. The most discriminating critics, wanting to give their time over only to a true work of modern literature, will find it here.

It was originally written in Spanish, and was probably a wonderfully crafted piece of literature in the author's native language. After all, it did win the Nobel Prize. But I believe a tremendous amount of credit for the lushness of this work in this, its English version, belongs to the unsung translator who did an absolutely stunning job. Like most of us, I've read translations of other works that seemed a bit clunky or repetitive. But this one was masterful, every page containing new descriptions that leapt off the page with bright clarity and clever originality.

The Mexican, Caribbean and South American locations described in the book came to life in vivid detail. Yet for all its exotic richness and scope, the story is still very accessible, the emotions universal, relatable. Characters are developed, a wide gamut of tempers and passions flair all over the place, scenes build across the pages with crescendo. It is even funny at times. I doubt the movie came close to this depth of storytelling. If you saw the film and didn't care for it, don't hold it against the book.
Cornelius_Kneejerk More than 1 year ago
But then it isn't supposed to be. To all of you who are disappointed by this novel or "don't get it" it's because you are falling into Marquez's "trap". This book is not a love story, but more a treatise on the subject of love "in all its many forms". The central relationship between Florentino and and Fermina owes more to Nabakov's Lolita than it does to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It's the way Marquez tells the story that is such a joy, to be savoured and enjoyed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is LUSH and RICH.  One can get lost in the heady scent of a true master. Unfortunately, like Nobel prize winner William Faulkner, this reading requires the reader to reflect, re-read and digest the amazingly descriptive prose; Oprah's only "mistake" in some of her book club choices is that the average reader , often wants a shallow tale that requires little cultural knowledge and even less reflection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. It was a great story and I enjoyed it very much. Didn't want to put it down. One of my favorite books written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez...I recommend it to all...
Guest More than 1 year ago
After much fanfare by Oprah Winfrey and several weeks on various bestseller lists, I had high expectations for Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. However, I found this story to move as slowly as a snail stuck to a glue board. Dense descriptions interfered with the plot. García Márquez's fifth novel is set in a 19th-century fictional South American port city. A young telegraph operator, Florentino Ariza, carries on a romance¿through an exchange of love letters only¿with the beautiful but rebellious Fermina Daza. When Fermina¿s father finds out about the relationship, he sends his teen-aged daughter away. Upon her later return, Fermina no longer has feelings for Florentino Ariza and marries the respectable Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a man who the reader is twice told likes to eat asparagus and smell the odor of it in his urine. Despite being spurned by Fermina, Florentino Ariza continues to pine for her for over 50 years, on occasion almost stalking her. He claims to be saving himself for Fermina but has affairs with hundreds of women. During this period, the reader is often treated to Florentino¿s intestinal ailments and his need for enemas. At one time, Florentino considers pursuing his secretary, Leona Cassiani, and she him, but when she is raped on the beach by an unknown assailant who, we are told, provided her with the best sex she ever had, she no longer has any desire to bed Florentino Ariza. Instead, she walks the beach at night hoping her rapist will ravish her again. As a woman, I was insulted by this passage in the novel, a passage only a man could write. And I was shocked that Oprah Winfrey, a woman who has been so open about her own sexual abuse, could recommend a story in which a character felt this way. Quill says: Don¿t bother taking Love in the Time of Cholera to the seashore this summer it¿s one book you can leave on the shelf.
Peachball More than 1 year ago
When Oprah raved about this book and teared up over the ending...I thought, "I have to read this." Well, I did. From cover to cover, hoping that eventually I would get to the part(s) she raved about. I found nothing interesting at all in this book. I thought it was boring and I really found the love story hard to believe. It was quite a disappointment. I was eager to start a new and "lighter" book immediately.
Tricoteuse on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I know that this is supposed to be an amazing book, and judging by the other reviews a lot of people really love it, but I really did not. I found myself really bogged down in the excesses of the language and I couldn't bring myself to really like either of the main characters (a major flaw in a book that's all about their romance) so that by the end I really didn't care what happened to them, I just wanted the story to end so I could put the book down. Perhaps some day I'll give it another chance and discover something I missed on the first reading, but until then I can't possibly give this more than two stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent, at times funny and yet bittersweet. A good insight into human relationships.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book about 8 years ago. And it's still my favourite. Actually used the very last page as a reading when i got married. It is most romantic, and ageless. Must read.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Disgusting, Opposite of Romance, Trigger Warnings Needed I have no idea how this book has any positive ratings. I read it because it was on a list I found (“Books for Newlyweds to Read”) and was described as being such a romantic story. I found it to be the opposite. The main male character (Florentino) is truly disgusting and in today’s world would be considered a sexual predator and child molester. I can’t believe what a liar he is to the woman he loves and the lengths he undertakes to have sex with prostitutes and children, all under the lie that this somehow keeps him pure. He truly makes my skin crawl and I have never hated a main character as much as I despise Florentino. I don’t really care what “symbolic reasons” Marquez had for Florentino’s actions. I feel like this is an author who tries too hard to be meaningful, pretentious, and intelligent-sounding instead of writing a book readers could enjoy. I have since been told that this author regularly writes about his characters having sex with children, so I won’t be reading any of his other books either. I struggled to finish this book and kept waiting for it to redeem itself, which it failed to do. If you want to spend time looking for meaning within a book, by all means…read this one. I was just looking for an enjoyable book to read before bed. My recommendation: Read something else.
dawnpen on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It¿s enough to say that the writing is a way of living with someone who does not love you, or takes a long time to, or loves very badly. It¿s the listening and being listened to. And it's enormous. Bigger than the things you give up and the things you don¿t find, bigger than despair.
HankIII on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I always wanted to read one of Marquez's novels; I've attempted to read 100 years of Solitude more than I am willing to admit here, and when reading it, I became confused and disoriented, and I quickly lost interest. However, it seemed to me that Love in the Time of Cholera was a much different read: the prose and characters were clear cut; no doubt, it's a romance, but Marquez brings so much more to it with his descriptions of triumphs and tragedies, and growing old. I especially liked the ending; it's not an ending I will forget soon, and it left me on a positive note, not just for the novel, but for Marquez's writing.
spiketorescue on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book helped restore my faith in the idea of love. It's been years since I read this book but the images are still with me.
mysteena on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Chris gave me this for Christmas, per my request. It was a beautiful story, but his writing style was a bit tedious for me at times.
mattviews on LibraryThing 7 months ago
51 years, 9 months, 4 days - which was how long Florentino had waited.Fifty-one years ago, Fermina Daza felt madly in love with Florentino Ariza. The affair was made possible only through her aunt's complicity. But under her father's tight regime and thus his intransigence of her love affair, Fermina eventually broke all ties with Florentino and married Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a wealthy, eminent doctor who merited in fighting cholera along the Caribbean coast by implementing stringent measures. What followed Fermina's denial of his love was an austerely beautiful story of unrequited love that had still not ended half a century later. They were two people, ambushed by death, who no longer had anything in common except the distant memory of an ephemeral past that was no longer theirs but belonged to two young people who had vanished with no vestige. Heartrending but not forlorn, it was during this long period of time (almost all his life) that Florentino changed his entire being. He whiled the years away by engaging in 622 affairs and maintained some link with his lovers but reserved his heart for the irreplaceable Fermina. The idea of substituting one love for another carried him along surprising paths that permitted him to find solace in other hearts for his pain. Florentino, whose only point of reference in his own life was the love affair with Fermina, made a fierce decision to win fame and fortune in order to deserve Fermina. In his demented passion, he did not even consider the obstacle of her being married to the doctor but regarded it an ineluctable event that he resolved to wait without impatience or petulance, even till the end of time. When meeting the doctor, he could not bear the pangs of grief at the thought that the admirable man would have to die in order for him to be happy. Florentino understood both he and the doctor were poignantly subjected to the ineluctable fate of loving the same woman.As the bell tolling resonated citywide for Doctor Juvenal Urbino, who died of a broken spine when he fell from the branch of a mango tree catching a parrot, death had interceded on his behalf after half a century of longing and imbued him the courage to repeat his vow of everlasting love to Fermina. So he planned to attend the funeral...Love in the Time of Cholera is a tapestry of the complicated human emotions: love, repression, nostalgia, sex, concupiscence, and pride. It is a tale of morbidly repressed love, of passion, of obsession, and of indomitable longing and fulfillment. Garcia Marquez, with an incredulously detached voice and matter-of-fact manner, slowly unfolds the story with succulent details and lyrical exuberance. Piercing fluidity and precision of words accentuate the beauty of prose. Peripheral characters are no less etched and are vividly limned to the essence of their thoughts and emotions. The book is riddled with an air of melancholy and repression that is held redeemable by an undying hope.
BrianDewey on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Garc?a Marquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. , , 2005. Finally reread this book to see if it deserves its spot in my memory as being the favorite book I read in college. It does. Wonderfully imagined, beautifully written, and extremely thought provoking this time around. What's captivating my attention this time is how much _______ is an antichrist figure. Dresses in black, professes love but doesn't understand it, sexually abuses a young girl and drives her to suicide, and leads to the deforestation of his country. Reading it through this time, I find him thoroughly despicable. So why does she fall for him? What is the meaning of their final voyage? I don't know.
thierry on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The plot of this story can be resumed in a few paragraphs, and from the opening, we known where the story will lead us, but this journey is wonderful. This is a story about longing and waiting and about resistance to giving in and upholding appearances. The author is great at creating and sustaining a universe and characters that are coherent and believeable.
gwendolyndawson on LibraryThing 7 months ago
An achingly beautiful story of Fermina and Florentino, adolescent sweethearts unable to consummate their love until old age. An exceptional half-century story of unrequited love. Highly recommended.
raphaelmatto on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Not nearly as good as "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
alspray on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It would be an interesting exercise to count the number of times the name "Fermina Daza" is written in this book. While elegantly written, this one is a bit tedious.
nickelcopper on LibraryThing 7 months ago
absolutely beautifully written. marquez is the epitome of a writer, his prose is breath taking and never fails to keep my interest. he creates such vivid characters and amazing visuals. this book is fantastic, hands down one of my favorites. worth a read and then a reread!
kellibee on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I loved this book! Marquez paints a picture for you like you were watching a movie. I really enjoyed the story he tells and the language he uses to tell it.
stipe168 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
What to say... less fanciful than solitude...but possibly.. more passion? These characters..these people... not enough to say about this ecliptic book. ¿it is life, not death, that has no limits¿
Sean191 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It took a little time to get into this book. In fact, I found it a little boring to start, but as it gained momentum, it was an enjoyable ride. Strangely, the most accurate way I can explain it is that the beginning was too long and the ending was too short. This was only my second book by Marquez - I'll probably pick another one up sometime in the future, but I don't believe he's the type of writer that I would enjoy reading works from back-to-back.
BenjaminHahn on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is the first book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that I have read, despite 100 Years of Solitude being recommended to me numerous times by my dear friend Tony. I didn't know quite what to expect. Amber gave me this book when we first started dating 8 years ago and it has set on my shelf for that long. It was finally a choice in our book club in May of 2008 and I thought what better time to read it. Amber read it too, but her original intention for giving it to me as a gift might of had something to do with a cheesy romantic comedy movie staring John Cusak where the female love interest is incredibly superstitious and tries to force spontaneity on everything. I can't quite remember the movie title but it wasn't very good and the female love interest gives Cusak a copy of this book and writes her phone number in it or some such and he spends years trying to find the copy of the book. Anyway, that was the impetus for this book ending up in my library. Upon my first few hours of reading, I discovered that the chapters are extremely long and should probably be called parts since they are 50 to 75 pages long and the book itself is only 348 pages to begin with. This particular edition had a nice but very small font type which made it seem like you were reading at a glacial pace. Regardless, the writing took me to a somewhat vague Latin American country of 150 or so years ago. It is not named necessarily but I think it is describes in a way so you make up this country in your head. The descriptions of the people and places and temperature and culture are so vivid and real that I found myself basically creating this city and country out of my imagination. I didn't really require a historical foundation to place the story. It took me a while to get there but once I let go of that expectation I started enjoying the subtle and somewhat humorous love story that plays out over the course of 74 years. The story jumps around chronologically in a pleasing way that kept my attention, and Marquez would start with an event then shimmy away for pages and pages on some anecdote such as eggplant puree or the household decorations of a secret mistress. I found these little asides to be the best part of the book and it only gave the central narrative more flavor, but others have found it distracting. Of the characters, Florentino was hardest to admire, but I suspect because it was hard for me to put aside my distaste for his taste in women and the choices he makes regarding his lovers near the end of the book. Dr. Juvenal was probably my favorite character because I enjoyed his habits and the way he loved Fermina Daza, not to mention the antics of his household. The incident with the parrot is probably my favorite part of the book, but probably only because it encapsulates the general demeanor of how small events unfold and effect the overall arch of the book. I don't feel however that it is done in a cliche way or that it is forced. Overall, this book is a treatise on the many forms of love, particularly marriage, and how love can change over time and with age. It is a book that required my patience, but satisfying once I finished. If you enjoy writing styles that can seem a bit rambling (Herman Melville comes to mind) then this book is for you. I look forward to reading his other works.