Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of Love in the Time of Cholera

First published in 1985
Thickness: 348 pages
Personal rating: 3 stars (or a 6 out of 10)

In short
This novel tells the story of love, in a time almost forgotten and depicts the life of ordinary people who lead ordinary lives, but with an experience of love that goes beyond description. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has created a beautiful lyrical epistle about the creative and destructive nature of a chemical process called love.

My two cents
Love in the time of cholera follows the tracks of three people. Fermina Daza, the first lady of this novel, Juvenal Urbino and Florentino Ariza.
First of all we meet Florentino and we are there when he falls hopelessly in love with Fermina Daza. In a world where confrontation isn't an option, he searches and eventually finds a way to express his love to her. They exchange letters for years and eventually he asks her to marry him.
In the meantime Fermina's father find them out and he takes his daughter with him on a journey in order for her to forget the youthful love because he longs his daughter to be well-married and Florentino is just a bastard son.

His intent works but not in a way he had foreseen. Fermina is determined to not forget her love, but when she returns and is confronted with him, she feels that there never has been love for him in her. She feels sorry for him, but lets him down firmly.

Then Juvenal enters the stage. He is a doctor and is back in town after long studies in Europe. Called in when Fermina falls ill, he's determined to make her his and eventually succeeds. Fermina's father is pleased, because Juvenal comes from one of the oldest families in town marking a rise in rank for Fermina.

In the meantime we follow the romantic interests of Juvenal, Fermina and Florentino. When Juvenal has a unfortunate lethal accident, Florentino steps in Fermina's life again and she begins to feel something for him she has always denied she felt.

It's a beautiful story about love, but it can get a little longwinded. Marquez has a way with words, but sometimes the beautifully crafted sentences feel a little empty as if the words are more important than the meaning behind it.
I've read Marquez before, and I will again, because most authors write, but some authors just breathe language and Marquez, along with Saramago is one of those authors. Is it a coincidence that they both live in a very southern climate?