Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Love in the Time of CholeraThe story begins with the suicide of a doctor’s friend and moves from past to present while introducing many interesting characters.  Be sure to jot down names unless you’re quite adept at recall as it moves from person to person quickly.  I was unclear as to who the central characters were until well into the book.

Love in the Time of Cholera is the story of a man’s unrelenting love for a woman who seems unworthy of his affection.  He waits, in fact, for over 50 years, always keeping abreast of the life of his love.  In the interim, he maintains a very healthy sexual appetite that he calculates at 622 liaisons.  At times, the book reads more like the chronicles of the lovelorn’s sexploits rather than an impassioned love story.

Florentino Ariza is the salacious and patient admirer of a long-lost love.  He first sets eyes on a young girl while delivering a telegram and sets out to charm and win her affection.  After a two-year secret courtship, he is rebuffed and his inamorata moves on with her life with nary a look back.  Florentino sets out to prove his worthiness and builds a successful career while bedding many, many women that he keeps so secret the townspeople question his sexuality.  Not a man to be left alone with an innocent woman.

The adored Fermina Daza,  raised by a father of questionable scruples who instills in her a belief that she is worthy of the finest life, is mostly unaware that she is the apple of Florentino’s eye.  She marries a respectable man she grows to love and their marriage has the typical ups and downs of most others.  Why someone would wait 50 years for such a disdainful woman is rather puzzling.

The very young America Vicuna is Florentino’s god-daughter who he seduces at age 12.  She is entrusted to his care while at private school and he takes advantage of her naiveté and her isolation.  A sad little girl without the Lolita like haughtiness, she is destined for tragedy.

I’d love to ask Mr. Marquez what keeps him inspired in his writing.  Perhaps we could take a little trip in the southwest and revisit some of those places he’s been before.  Perhaps his memoir could include his travels and I’d hope to be privy to those stories.

My rating for Love in the Time of Cholera is a 8 out of 10.

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Next up, Don DeLillo’s White Noise…White Noise

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