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: 18,212
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1927. He attended the University of Bogotá and went on to become a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. He later served as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, he is the author of several novels and collections, including No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The General in His Labyrinth, Strange Pilgrims, Love and Other Demons, and most recently, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, as well as the autobiography Living to Tell the Tale.

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. 306 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.
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.
indygo88 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
As I look over other reviews of this book, they seem to range from very low to very high. And then there are the few somewhere in the middle. I can't sugarcoat it: I had a fair amount of difficulty getting through this one. It's really only a little on the long side as far as novels go, but realistically, it felt like a monster of a book. The formatting of the book largely contributes to this: very few, very LONG chapters, long paragraphs, and minimal dialogue. I think what Marquez is trying to do with this story is present a somewhat non-traditional definition of what "love" is. I don't necessarily disagree with his interpretation, but it requires some open-mindedness on the reader's part. And a lot of patience. Had this story been about one-fourth the length it was, it would've been more palatable. As it was, I had to force myself to keep going. The writing, to me, was almost too flowery at times, and I don't think there was any one character in this novel that was truly likeable. And because of that, in addition to the other above-mentioned characteristics, I found myself not able to really invest any true feeling or soul toward the story or cast. I was mostly just interested in getting to the end so that I could start the next book on my reading list.
lkernagh on LibraryThing 1 days ago
"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."So begins Marquez's novel of unrequited love spanning over 50 years of the lives of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, the object of Florentino's undying love.After finishing this one, part of me wants to say that all one needs to read is the opening sentence, but that would be cheeky of me and would deprive the reader of some beautiful writing. Sadly, the meandering nature of the story-telling and what I will classify as gaps in information in what could have been an otherwise satisfying read, left me wanting something different/better to read. Florentino is not my idea of a romantic - not as written by Marquez. He is just a little too free in the wooing of women (of all ages) for me to take his undying love for Fermina seriously, which I felt was a rather huge flaw with the story. The build up to the ending and the ending itself left something to be desired as well. I vaguely remember seeing the movie adaptation a few years ago. After reading the story, I would recommend that readers bypass the book and watch the movie instead. Overall, this is a story worth reading for its written prose and descriptions of South America of the time period, but not for the characters or the manner in which the plot is conveyed. The writing style was the one redeeming quality for me.
jddunn on LibraryThing 1 days ago
My second Marquez, after reading and loving 100 Years of Solitude. Reading a second book by him, the whole Magical Realism, ever-so-slight-warping-of-reality thing starts to feel like a schtick after awhile, but damn, it¿s a really excellent and well-executed schtick and it keeps me coming back. This one is a lot more personal and character-based than 100 Years, with several very well-drawn and complex characters, who are more than just avatars for other things. And of course, more of Marquez¿s slightly askew world-building genius too. However, in the end, the ambiguity over whether the protagonist and his obsessive love are admirable or monstrous is what really interested me the most. I love me a novel where you end up unsure whether you even like the protagonist or not after you¿ve just spent several hundred pages immersed in their world and worldview. Challenging and interesting stuff, though maybe not for everybody because of that.
slpenney07 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Summary: Six hundred and twenty-two affairs ago, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza had a passionate love affair through letters and telegrams. Instead, Fermina married Dr. Juvenal Urbino. The death of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, the famed photographer of children, brings Florentino and Fermina together again.The Take-Away: I never would have read this book if it hadn't been for my book club. As I read, I continued to get lost in the poetry of the prose. I have the same problem when I read poetry. I forget that there's a story being told also. By the end, I understood what attracted people to it, but I've read better literary novels that didn't leave me so confused.I didn't understand why Fermina married Florentino. What convinced the feisty girl to give up her love? And what's the significance of the first scene? I'm sure it was explained in there somewhere, but I lost track of the thread that carried the story.Personally, I don't like to have to work this hard for a story.Recommendation: Skip it, unless you like long, winding stories with obvious endings.
BellaFoxx on LibraryThing 1 days ago
This is more than a love story, it is a life story. From the first time Florentino Ariza sees Fermina Daza he loves her. He sends her letters and she is in love with him. Then one day, she feels her love is an illusion and leaves him, when she marries a wealthy well-born doctor, Florentino Ariza realizes the only way to have Fermina Daza is to wait until her husband dies. This is what he does, the book takes us through his love affairs while he is waiting, through Fermina Daza's marriage, the hard beginning to the loving years to her despair at her husband's death, at which time Florentino Ariza declares his love for her once again.This is a beautifully written book with lush descriptions and evocative prose, I was transported to another world, where the jungles had raucous parrots and the rivers had alligators sunning themselves. In these rivers were floating corpses, rotting and fetid. Well, that is what happens with Cholera.At first I felt the story was moving too slowly, after all the book covers over 50 years and I did not see how Mr. Márquez would fit it all in, but the pieces come together and the story leads to its eventual and satisfying conclusion.If this is the sort of book you enjoy, you would probably like this book, if you prefer thrillers and true crime books with murderously depraved spouses that prefer murder charges to divorce court, you will probably not like this book.
spounds on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Eh. VERY slow. And as my friend Russell once said about Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights..."Get over it! Find someone else to love!"
jakjonsun on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I don't know if it was the translation, but something was lost with this novel.The poetic descriptions of action (so captivating in One Hundred Years of Solitude)left the reader wanting actual dialogue. A story which attempted to portray the struggles of love, somehow got hung-up on the struggles of daily living. The constant repetition of mundane, and seemingly incidental, details -- who's eating what? where Simon Bolivar slept? the peculiarities of a European waltz -- exhausts the reader, vainly searching for a love story. It's strange, because I usually like this style of writing; but it just didn't work for me here.I'll give Marquez the benefit of doubt, and say it's me not him. But I just didn't get into this book. If it wasn't for that inner romantic goading me to finish, there were many times I would have stopped all together searching for an illusive love on a riverboat marked Cholera.
jcelrod on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Beautifully written in sensual detail. I read this on my honeymoon in Costa Rica and it was the perfect book!
mariamreza on LibraryThing 1 days ago
On the whole a charming novel, in its account of life, its vivid descriptions of the Caribbean coast of Colombia and its environs and life there at the turn of the 20th century, and also in Marquez's wisdom about human nature, particularly the distortion of memories with time. The main drawback was the character Florentino Arizo who, though meant to be absurd and pathetic, does get rather tedious.
dldbizacct on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I read this book because I liked the title (I'm a sucker for an intriguing title) and because it was a Nobel Prize winner. I was a little disappointed. The book rambles on and on and I felt a lot of the detail was just tedious and unnecessary. Maybe it loses something in translation, but I found myself skimming portions just so I could move forward. It redeems itself somewhat in the last part of the book, but getting there seemed to take forever without much engagement.
nancenwv on LibraryThing 1 days ago
For me Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing is strange and meandering with almost interminable details and changes of direction. But it is also compelling because his characters and their lives are full of the complications and duplicity of real life. Love in the Time of Cholera begins near the end of the lives of Dr. Juvenal Urbino and his wife Fermina Daza who have been married fifty years. A mysterious fellow named Florentino Ariza shows up with inappropriate timing and gradually the story of all three unfolds, eventually crossing the point at which it opens. It's a long and complicated story of the perceptions and progress of love. I found it frequently exasperating because of the relentless focusing on odd details and also because I found the character of Florentino Ariza annoying. But it was often very funny too and ultimately satisfying. Garcia Marguez uses the slow paced perspective of long lives to paint an amazing novel. On top of this it plays out in the steamy cholera plagued world of turn of the century Caribbean. A friend of mine told me he's read 100 years of Solitude several times and that it's better with each reading. That makes sense. I think this one will be worth a revisit too.
Rachissy on LibraryThing 1 days ago
As the title suggests, this book is an epic love story following two people from the beginning of their love affair and spanning 52+ years.Florentino Ariza first notices Fermina Daza when he delivers a telegraph to her house. She is 14 and he is 18 and he begins to pursue her, leaving love notes and serenading her from the street with his violin at night. Eventually they begin a timid love affair, leaving notes hidden in various places throughout the town for the other to find. Her single father is understandably upset by this and takes her away for a time in hopes she'll 'move on' or forget him.The plan is successful and Fermina rejects him soon after her return home. She eventually marries a successful and eligible doctor whom she lives happily with for 5 decades. Florentino pines after Fermina for that entire period of time, never marrying and drowning his sorrows in his many love affairs. On the eve of her husband's funeral, Florentino arrives to repeat his vow of everlasting love.I found it to be a very sweet and touching story but I'm not sure if it's the epic romance that so many claim it to be. They aren't separated by great events, distance or any other tragedy. Point blank, Fermina grew up and just fell out of love, changed her mind, the old "it's not you, it's me" bit. Florentino is devastated and never fully gets over the breakup. Yes, it's romantic that he waits for her, pines for her, pleads for her but it's also a tad bit pathetic.I feel his pain, I really do, a lot of people have that big 'one who got away', and I've been there. It totally sucks for a long time but at some point you have to pick up the pieces of heart, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with your life. There were several parts int he book where I just wanted to shake Florentino and scream "Grow a pair already!"So, I enjoyed the book. I thought it was a sweet, sad little story but don't that's about all. It was OK, but there wasn't much reaction outside of that, just OK.
heathereb on LibraryThing 1 days ago
A modern classic, one of my all time favourites. Rich, colourful, romantic
wrmjr66 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
This is a luxurious novel, full of lush writing, interesting and idiosyncratic characters, humor, and of course love. Garcia-Marquez presents love in a multitude of forms: familial, romantic, fickle, constant, deceptive, honest. The plot revolves around three people in what is not exactly a love triangle. Fermina Daza is the woman who is loved by two men. Florentino Ariza is the love of her youth and Dr. Juvenal Urbino is her husband. The book opens with the almost comical death of Juvenal Urbino, then flashes back to tell the story of the lives of the three protagonists. Garcia-Marquez does a wonderful job of capturing the juvenile love of Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza in all its consuming passion and utter silliness. Even more impressive, Garcia-Marquez allows his characters to mature and to change over the course of a half-century as he tells their story. It's a really wonderful book.
kminga24 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Okay, the main characters were a little quirky... Not the greatest book for the first choice in a new book club. Although there was LOTS to talk about at our gathering.
wagner.sarah35 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I just cannot say I found Love in the Time of Cholera enjoyable to read. A wordy narrative that was difficult to get through made this novel a hard read, although the story of love rediscovered at an old age makes for an unique tale.
sharlene_w on LibraryThing 1 days ago
A myriad of stories of love within the story of nearly of lifetime of unrequited love. The author expertly crafts the story of Florentino Ariza and his love for Fermina Daza, who spurns his advances and marries another. While Florentino "saves" himself for Fermina, he engages in a long line of trysts that take us through nearly every conceivable love relationship from young innocent love, to very mature love. In the beginning I thought I was just reading a simple love story, but as soon as I realized how deep and meaningful the variety of love relationships were to the book I became amazed and enthralled. I was swept back in history to Columbia--the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells made me feel like almost like an eavesdropper!
charlie68 on LibraryThing 1 days ago
A humourous and heart-warming story of a man who fails to the marry the girl he loves and then has some other affairs before falling in love again with the original. A dissection into the love between a man and a woman.