Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Every now and then a novel comes along that plays games with me. It’s not until I can view it in it’s entirety that I can sort out my opinions on it. Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera was one of those novels for me. It started out fantastic, a unique story with a well developed setting and well defined characters that I enjoyed. As I continued with the novel, my thoughts began to blur. The characters became blurry for me. I didn’t know how to feel about them. My thoughts would change from page to page. Characters that I loved would suddenly seem vile and vice versa. But by the time I finished the novel, Marquez had sealed the deal for me. His beautiful words had won me over and I’m so happy that I chose to read this wonderful work of literature.

Love in the Time of Cholera is a love story. It is not your typical love story, however. This story is honest. The characters admit that sometimes love is feigned and at other times love comes as a surprise. It is the story of Fermina Daza, Juvenal Urbino, and Florentino Ariza; three characters that will remain with me for a long time. The setting is Colombia in the early 20th century and Marquez does an amazing job at placing the reader in that setting with it’s warm landscape, almond trees, and markets. Florentino Ariza pledges his love to Fermina Daza when they are both in their youth, but the relationship is forbidden by Daza’s father. Fermina Daza marries Juvenal Urbino, a doctor who saves the town from the cholera epidemic, and Florentino Ariza spends the next fifty years having various affairs with women who will never match up to Fermina Daza while observing her from the sidelines. When Urbino dies, Ariza once again pledges his love to Daza.

This book won the Nobel Prize for literature and I can’t argue with that. I don’t know if this book would be for everyone though. It is not a fast moving book at all, and I think that it is best read slowly. I’d also recommend that it be read in the summer as it goes nicely with the weather. This book reads like a memoir, a history of lovers. There are emotional highs and lows; anger, betrayal, love, passion, death, deceit, hilarity, honesty, and contentedness. There were times when I found it hard to stick with the book because it seemed stagnant, but it all comes together when observed as a whole and that final picture is a beautiful one. I’m glad that I saw this one through. Marquez has written a true masterpiece of literature and I look forward to visiting some of his other works.

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9 Responses

  1. I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed the book – it’s one of those books you can’t predict if someone will like. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who fall under its spell, it is very rewarding.

    You should try “One Hundred Years of Solitude” one day. I think you’d probably like it better than this one. It’s full of fantasy elements and they are beautifully used.

  2. I’m so glad you liked this book! Like Nymeth said, it’s not for everybody, but I loved it. I haven’t read One Hundred Years of Solitude yet, but my husband is just finishing it, and he’s really liked it.

  3. Nymeth, Great! I was wondering where to go next with him and you just answered my question for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Robin, I really did enjoy this one. Looks like One Hundred Years of Solitude is where I’m going next!

  4. I’ve read 100 Years of Solitude and enjoyed it, but magical realism can be very, very freaky and you have to be extremely patient with his writing, I think. You’ll probably like it. It does require a bit of concentration. But, I think Nymeth is right – I really think it would be right up your alley.

  5. Bookfool, The deal is sealed! One Hundred Years of Solitude is officially going to be my next Marquez book ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. another positive review about this book!

    its interesting that the novel played with you like that…

    the characters sound very interesting indeed – i knew it was a good story, but i didn’t know the characters were that cool! i really like the idea of depicting love from such a realistic angle.

  7. JP, That’s what I loved so much about this book…it was a very realistic portrayal of love…no fairy tale romance here. There’s cholera for Christ’s sake! lol…The characters were all very cool. Highly recommended. The novel definitely played with my mind and kept me reading. I didn’t know what to think of the character, very similar to real life sometimes.

  8. Beautiful review! I read OHYOS a few months ago and had some of the same feelings as you did. A lot of back and forth, but in the end his language is captivating.

  9. Thanks Trish! I’m glad to hear that someone else had similar feelings towards one of his novels. I think it really took finishing the novel and then looking at the whole thing to fully appreciate it and when I did that, it was beautiful!

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