Thinking Aloud: “Love in the Time of Cholera”

Apr. 26, 2015 by Darius 

I recently read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Like Marquez’s other works, Love in the Time of Cholera is surreal, quixotic, and utterly charming.  It is a love story unlike any other I have read.

In an unnamed country on South America’s Caribbean coast, a young man, Florentino Ariza falls madly, passionately in love with a girl named Fermina Daza when he delivers a telegram to her father’s house.  Though poor, Florentino is a hopeless romantic, finding an outlet for his love by writing dozens of flowery love letters.  Eventually, Fermina succumbs to Florentino’s charms, and the two plan to get married in secret.  Suddenly, though, Fermina comes to her senses and breaks off the engagement.  Ultimately, she marries a wealthy, well-connected doctor.  (This is not a plot spoiler.)

However, marriage to another man is no impediment for Florentino’s love for Fermina.  Florentino resolves to wait until Fermina’s husband dies, however long that takes.  In the meantime, Florentino passes the time by engaging in hundreds of affairs.  More than fifty years later, Fermina’s husband does indeed die.  Florentino attends the funeral, where he hopes to rekindle a long-lost passion.

Love in the Time of Cholera is a classic Marquez novel: it is at times funny, profound, and a little bit off.  The fantastic is combined with the mundane, and one never really knows for sure what might happen in the next sentence.  One thing is sure, though: it is an enjoyable and rewarding book.

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