What a waste of a month of my free time.
I'd have finished it sooner but it was a chore.
Newsweek called it "A love story of astonishing power." I call it one long old man's fantasy dreamlife and nothing more.
This is not a page turner but rather a work of art that must be analyzed and dissected slowly in order to benefit fully from its contents. Marquez must be read on several different levels in order to fully appreciate what it is that he is trying to say. The whole work is an allegory of love in all of its various forms and fashions. Marquez decides to build the various forms and shapes of love around Florentino Ariza and his "crowned goddess" Fermina Daza during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Not only does Marquez weave the two lives of these characters marvelously throughout the book's 50 or so year time frame in order to critically analyze love or the appearance thereof, but he takes us back to a time and place where social norms prohibited various expressions of the types of love that he explores. The story is not just about love, but life in general and the inevitable aging process that all must go through, and about believing in something so strongly that you will spend your whole life attempting to attain it no matter the cost.
"Love in the Time of Cholera" tells the story of two men and the strong willed woman they both fall in love with, in the process taking us to a different world in a different era, namely the Caribbean at the turn of the century.
All in all, this is a good novel, and I would recommend it
Lush writing, eye candy for readers of less complicated literary prose. While I can't honestly say that I grew to fully care for any of the characters (finding them self-absorbed, narcissistic beings), I immensely enjoyed much of the journey. The epic nature of the tale lends itself to lush visual imagery, the writing is immeasurably beautiful, and the author's peculiar story of not very likable people is engaging from beginning to end.
As a story with a point of any kind? Not so much. In essence: a humble looking man who lives with his mother falls in love, by letter-writing campaign, with a young girl he has never spoken to. Her father sends her away, but the young lovers continue their written affair. The young lady changes her mind and marries a doctor who seems like a decent man, she also buys a trash-talking parrot. The young man has uncommitted sex with lots of women over the next 50 years, but waits for the now-old young lady to become available again. Of course her old husband dies from a fall while trying to throttle the escaped parrot, and the old sex addict, whose current paramour is a little girl of whom he is guardian, resumes his quest - successfully. The little girl commits suicide. He tries to feel bad about it, but cannot.
Well, not what I'd hoped for. Marquez is a good storyteller, and his characters are quirky - but difficult to develop any sympathy/feeling for. So much rests on the translation, so I could be experiencing some "lost-in-the" effects here, but I found the style not particularly memorable/clever. Don't get me wrong - certainly it's a good read, but not a GREAT one. As far as a "love story" - Time Traveler's Wife wins hands-down. Sorry, Oprah, I won't recommend this one to MY book club...
Jessica O. reviewed Love in the Time of Cholera on
Helpful Score: 2
I have to admit to really loving this book. I like the occasional romance story, but I admit I've become a bit tired of the formulaic, boy falls in love with girl and does everything in his power for her. In a sense this story fits that mold. What sets it apart is the lyricism and the journey. At times I find myself thinking of lines from this book. I think what makes it different is what many people have objections with: Florentino Ariza's many affairs, his pedophilia, and his apparent callousness. Honestly though, what pre-teen hasn't- at least- had thoughts of sex? I remember the age of twelve being full of quick crushes. I will be the first person to denounce an unfaithful lover, but Gabriel Marquez hits on a truth that not too many people seem aware of or ready to admit- that we can love more than one person at a time. And even as Florentino was looking for his next lay, he was debasing himself and coming to terms with the fact that he did actually feel love towards a number of the women he slept with.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was all everyone was talking about when this book came out, so I was happy to have the opportunity to read it. It's a love story, with a twist of obsession and a hint of loco. Florentino falls madly, deeply in love with Fermina. She shares his passion, but their love is not to be. She ends up marrying a nice local doctor. Fermina's family is happy, the good doctor is happy, and Fermina, well she's good with it too. Florentino, however, is devastated. Fermina was THE one for him. Florentino doesn't know what to do. Soon, he finds a way of handling his loss. Florentino buries his sorrows between the bedroom sheets--many, many sheets. In an effort to forget one woman, he sleeps with hundreds. He becomes a man-whore. Mucho, mucho years later Fermina-s husband dies. Undaunted by the passage of time and the venereal diseases he may or may not have picked up, he tries to rekindle his love with Fermina. I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I wasn't too fond of Florentino. Could you tell? Personally, I thought Florentino could use a good therapist. But I did love Garcia Marquez's writing style. His witty prose was amusing, almost lyrical at times. I'm still undecided if it made up for the plot. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
I enjoyed this book, although I found it easy to put down and a bit of a slow read, due to the complex and flowery language used. The words used are not written conversationally, so I found myself having to "translate" in my head and as a result, was not able to read as fast as I ordinarily do. I suspect that this was a tool used by the author forcing the reader to thoroughly absorb every word of the story. I particularly liked that, unlike most unrequited love stories, the spurned lover did not paint Fermina Daza's husband as a bad man or undeserving of her love, but as a good, regular guy. I liked the story, but it's not a quick read. Beautifully, poetically done, but one that I would have to be in the mood to undertake again.
This novel, again set in an unnamed country (somewhat esoteric until mention of the liberator: Simon Bolivar), it tells of the love between Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. It begins as youthful passion cut short when Fermina opts out to marry a rich, elite doctor. None the less, Florentino retains his love through an astounding 51 years 9 months and 4 days. (The author has a penchant for intricate time periods.) He is a paradox, however, as during this time he engages in 662 illicit affairs; but whos counting. At the death of the doctorthe result of a ridiculous accidenthe declares his love again only to be again rebuffed. Flashback to the intricate details of the doctors courtship and early married life mingled with Florentinos rise to fortune and his profligate life. As in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the author, through the medium of the doctor, wells on disease caused by superstition and the local lack of sanitation. Also, he impresses the reader with knowledge of literature, opera, music, et al. He uses some interesting simile and metaphor. More then once our cast drink coffee as thick as crude oil. (Starbucks? Or maybe Seattle Best?) His narrative ranges from eloquent to unnecessarily crude recounting how Fermina uses her sense of smell to locate her missing child, or Florentinos gas attack during his latter courtship of Fermina. Fermina, when after her husbands death, is disposing of household goods she muses Someone should invent something to do with thing that you cannot use anymore but that you still cannot throw out. How about a garage sale? This worked so well for Irma Bombeck that she went out and purchased more goods just to keep the sale going. (The Grass Is Always Greener Under the Septic Tank) Some absurdities aside, this book is a well-written and interesting portrayal of life across social boundaries.
This is a love story. Fermina Daza is married to Juvenal Urbino. As the story unfolds and he dies, we learn of Fermina's previous love interest who has never forgotten her. Florentino Ariza loved her from when she was very young. The two were engaged briefly and then she broke it off. He remains faithful to her, at least in his mind, by never marrying another (even though he has numerous relationships). When Juvenal dies, he reiterates his love for her.
The writing and the story were compelling. His life however, in the end, seemed a waste. He had success in his business that never brought him complete satisfaction. He had so many happy moments with other people, people he admits he loved, and did not pursue them because of this dream.
Definitely on my permanent library shelf. Years ago this book was my introduction to Garcia Marquez, and it opened a whole new world of literature for me. If you struggled with 100 years of Solitude, try this one first as a palate cleanser!
Love this book: complicated, richly detailed; one drifts along with the storyline... forward, back a bit, forward. Some characters brought to life with brief words, others just as real with great details.
Ludmila P. reviewed Love in the Time of Cholera on
Helpful Score: 1
This is the greatest book I've ever read. This book will make you laugh, cry, while at the same time, make you ponder about the realities of aging, love, injustice and marriage.
I had the opportunity to learn the original in Spanish, and I always wondered how they were going to be able to translate certain parts, which were rich and only understood if you are from certain parts of Latin America. After reading the translation, the quality of it is superb, and I strongly suggest reading this classic tale of love and loss.
Its been a long time, but I seem to recall liking One Hundred Years of Solitude, whereas I found this glorified romance novel to be very trying (even boring) and hoped it would just end as I skipped over whole paragraphs. Having lost hope that the storyline, set in turn-of-the-century Colombia, would develop into something other than a decades-long wait for one single-minded, romantic pervert, Florentino Ariza, to finally consummate his unbelievable obsession for the beauty who rejected him in their youth, I endured the unsavory details of Florentino Ariza's 600+ clandestine love affairs through the years- including one with his 14-year old relative he took guardianship over- at the height of his old age! Is that really necessary?
Though the language was beautiful, the subject grew more and more sickening and the plot and characters rather fizzled out, having no real substance. By the end, all the satellite characters had either died, been killed, killed themselves, or were banished into exile, clearing the way for the impotent climax and unsatisfying ending of the two misty-eyed septuagenarians just sailing off into the choleric sunset together. An epic tale of having one's cake and eating it, too.
There were also many loose ends that were never taken up again, which could have lent more to the story, such as the ongoing civil war, how the doctor came to know his suicidal chess mate (I kept looking for him to reappear), what the father's shady dealings really were, how the picture of the two cousins ended up in the marketplace, the greatly anticipated marriage that never took place, and who sent Fermina Daza all that hate mail! Well, I guess we'll never know.
Having read several books by this author, I have to say that this was my favorite. It's a love story that lasts a lifetime. Both Florentino and Fermina lead other lives after a brief fling during their youth. Florentino becomes frightened of the passionate Fermina and marries a wealthy, well-born doctor who becomes loved and highly respected by all he knows, including Fermina. Fermina's view of Florentino lasts throughout his life. A romantic who reserves his heart for Florentino, he loves women of all ages, having 622 affairs during his life. Howwever, only some of the affairs are outlined in this novel. As I thought about the time it takes to develop an affair I couldn't help wondering how anyone could have time for so many. Anyway, life goes on and the story unfolds.
When Florentio's husband dies at last, Fermina begins to court the woman who stole his heart almost sixty years ago. The book has its dark moments as well as its shining ones but these two individuals discover that they can share a passion long past their youth. I laughed at times and almost cried at others but I did find it a fascinating read. I enjoyed this read but recognize that it may not be for everyone.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Tells the story of a young man finding love in the South America. Jumps from his story in old age and back to him as a young man. Loved it so much I almost didn't want to post it!!!
Love in the Time of Cholera reads like literature's version of a sex book or a romance novel, except without the exciting steamy scenes. It glorifies the fact that Florentino Ariza spends his life stalking Fermina Daza, who decided to marry another man when she and Ariza were still young adults. The book outlines both Daza's and Azira's sexual lives, including Azira's disturbing relationship with the 15-year old girl when he is well past middle age. The re-telling of these sexual adventures moves the plot along, seemingly to make the reader feel sympathetic toward Ariza for his devotion to the unknowing Daza. Instead, though, his obsession with her feels more creepy than romantic.
The writing itself was beautiful. The long, descriptive sentences can be wonderful to read, although the confusing use of pronouns sometimes makes it necessary to re-read a sentence to determine which âheâ is being referenced in different places during the sentence.
I typically read contemporary fiction so I was unsure if I would like this book based on other reader reviews and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed it although it wasn't a fast or easy read. The language/style takes some getting used to but the story is fascinating. It was definitely worth the time it took to get through it.
Marquez is an excellent writer and this work could be categorized as true literature as opposed to popular fiction. The lack of dialogue in the book caught me offguard, and the book is slow at first. But it is a solid read and the plot line is fascinating as the book weaves from romance to romance.
Michele P. reviewed Love in the Time of Cholera on
This was by far the worst book I have ever read. One of the members of my book club chose it based on reviews. None of us liked it and most of us weren't even able to get past the first 50 pages. IT WAS AWFUL!
What a delightful book, and such a joy to read. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I personally enjoy reading a wide variety of styles and genres. This book transported me back in time to a different country and culture. I always learn more about human nature and myself, when I read a book like this one. judyp1223 - 1/19/2010
"With humorous sagacity and consummate craft, García Márquez traces an exceptional half-century story of unrequited love. Though it seems never to be conveniently contained, love flows through the novel in many wonderful guises--joyful, melancholy, enriching, ever surprising."
Slow, boring novel. I tried severeal times to read it and never got more than half way through. I don't know why Oprah liked it. Perhaps you have to read the whole thing, but I just couldn't waste my time with it.
One of the best books I have ever read. You need to love the inner life and the nuances of human psychology to enjoy it, and then you will be rewarded with a masterful, insightful, subtle and enriching look at the vagaries and constancies of the human heart.
After reading the mixed reviews and the blurb on the back cover, I really didn't know if I would be interested in getting through this book. I certainly wasn't interested in the recounting of a man having sex with over 600 women, and happily that wasn't what it turned out to be. Despite generally not liking the characters, I was curious enough about what would happen to them to make it to the end. By the time I did arrive at the end, I found that I felt pretty ambivalent about the story, the characters, and their fates. Despite the beautiful writing, I was easily able to put this book down and come back to it as opposed to devouring it in one or two days. Most people seem to love it or hate and there is only one way to find out which to which camp you will fall...
I loved this book. If you've seen the movie Serendipity, it's the book that is referenced throughout the movie. I had to find it and read it after I saw that movie. The author is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Beautifully written - was originally done in spanish and translated. I loved this book.
Have you ever gone to a movie that was bad from the start, but you stayed until the end due to the cost of the movie or the hope that the movie would get better? This book is like that movie, at least for me. I felt like I was trying to "get through it" due to picking it for my Reading Challenge: a book translated from another language. In spite of the title, I found very little real love in the book and very little to love about it! The protagonist ---(SPOILER ALERT!)---has sex for years with a minor child he was supposed to be protecting, he leaves a painted message on a married lover's abdomen that causes her murder by her husband, he moves from one loveless affair to another with only narcissistic involvement, and he pathetically whines and pines away for an unrequited love for about 50 years. I can't believe this book was: (a) written by a Pulitzer Prize winner, and (b) chosen for Oprah's Book Club. Total waste of my time. (less) 
I found this book extremely difficult to read, and, in fact, only managed to get through the first few pages. Books which are translated into English from the Spanish often seem to be this way. It did, however, have glowing reviews from the reviewers.
Excellent book-- I'm still peeved that when I lost my job my former coworker never returned it to me. I am tempted to repurchase-- though God knows I have 100 other books awaiting for me to read for the FIRST time!
Beautifully written book; old people love is cute.
Description from Amazon.com/Library Journal: While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino's death. In substance and style not as fantastical, as mythologizing, as the previous works, this is a compelling exploration of the myths we make of love. Highly recommended. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
i think you would have a massive brain hemorrhage after reading this, hahaha, and probably be traumatized. gabriel garcia marquez should've put a disclaimer in this book. it's way too rhetoric for pleasure reading hehe. dragging for most (and i mean MOST) parts but a good story nonetheless, despite the unecessary trimmings. i'm leaving it to your discretion.
and it also has a movie which imho best describes the story of fermina daza and florentino ariza (in a shortened, summarized, to-the-point way), his long wait for her and his numerous PG-18 escapades through the years.