Review: Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

firstline love cholera

Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza’s impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Flornetino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the day when he can court her again.

When Fermina’s husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives?

During my degree we were encouraged to take a step outside of the stuffy Western-orientated canon, and to try reading a range of literature from a range of global authors. It was a great opportunity to read translated novels from every continent and to completely expand my literary horizons, but unfortunately since then, I’ve definitely been stuck in a rut of Western and English-language books.

It was therefore great to pick up something completely different and give Gabriel García Márquez a try, and although I know he’s pretty much the writer of Latin-America, and hardly a left-field option, I hope that this will remind me to open the door to trying lots of new and wonderful authors from lots of different countries.

I absolutely loved how Márquez’ writing style was so evocative of South American culture and tone. I really felt so transported to the dreamy, hot Caribbean coast; to the feverish, obsessive love that Florentino Ariza held for Fermina Daza for so many years, and to the idea that old age is coming, like a thief in the night, and it can simultaneously change everything and nothing.

Florentino Ariza is the epitome of a hopeless romantic and his infatuation with Fermina Daza is at once beautiful and limited (and also, a little creepy). In a time when people are dying of a cholera epidemic, Florentino is plagued by love, and there is certainly some irony that Fermino’s husband, Juvenal Urbino, is a doctor who can cure the choleric, but who cannot seem to ignite the same depths of passion in his wife.

The pacing of  Love in the Time of Cholera is dream-like; events seem to happen vaguely, and years go by in mere lines. The whole style was completely different to a lot of books I’ve read, and it was great to lose myself in Márquez’ wondrous prose.

Next onto: One Hundred Years of Solitude and more magic realism wonders!

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