Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: love in the time of cholera

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: love in the time of cholera
Date Posted: 9/4/2008 2:21 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top
I'm reading this now and it kinda feels like there are a lot of random and obscure words being thrown around, like "miasmic". does anyone honestly know what "miasmic" means without looking it up? I really like the story, however, I feel like there is a lot of these obscure words that detract from the story. There have also been several that are made up versions of other words that are no where to be found in any dictionary...and it took a good amount of hunting in the Oxford English Dictionary (which for me is the end all of dictionaries). It really starting to detract from an otherwise captivating story. does anyone else find this problem or is it just poor uneducated me? I'm also wondering if maybe it's the person who translated the book that has done this to it?
Date Posted: 9/4/2008 6:37 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 437
Back To Top

I did not enjoy this book at all....it's actually one of the few books that I didn't even finish.  Could be a poor translation, but I also think it's his writing.  Is it really necessary to call everyone by their full name every other sentence?

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 11:02 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
Back To Top

I loved the book; I remember having the same reaction, though, as if the translation into English had been done in a very academic, rather than colloquial, style---they were words I knew, though, so I just ignored that and chalked it up to the translation. I do not recall his other books having the same feel, so maybe they were translated by native English speakers---with a less than PhD vocabulary, LOL!

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
Back To Top

I'm not a big fan of magical realism, so Garcia-Marquez tends to leave me a bit cold.

 

 

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top
hmm I wish I could read it in it's original language to see what it's like. I like the story so far (I'm only about 50 pgs in though) and I like the descriptions of the people and stuff, but these crazy words all over the place kinda take away from it. It just doesn't feel as if the person writing/translating it honestly uses these words or has them in their vocabulary. I swear they are just sitting there with their thesaurus looking things up. It feels very much like Philip Roth's writing to me. As if they are trying really hard to be academic. as if it's the words themselves that make a good book and not how they are used. oh well, I will finish the book. hopefully it gets better.
Date Posted: 9/5/2008 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/15/2005
Posts: 456
Back To Top

does anyone honestly know what "miasmic" means without looking it up?

*raises hand sheepishly* 

I've read other Garcia-Marquez, but not this one.  I agree, his style is not for everyone, and translations can be a bit iffy.  I liked the other stuff I read by him years ago, but this isn't going to be on books I've read list anytime soon.  I've got way too much other stuff to read in the near and distant future.

Date Posted: 9/5/2008 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
Back To Top

*raises hand sheepishly* 

 

Actually, me too :)

Date Posted: 9/8/2008 1:16 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top
lol! so far you are the only two who know, I'm very impressed! I'm not suer I will read anything else by him any time soon after this one. I like it. but with school it's a little too much of the looking up words for me. maybe I'll try again come christmas vacation. but I will finish this one. I like the story and would like to see the movie.
Date Posted: 9/10/2008 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2007
Posts: 3,314
Back To Top

Hmmm it was interesting to see all your thoughts on this book. It's on my TBR pile. Hopefully I'll like it!

Date Posted: 9/11/2008 7:20 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

I've come across "miasma" or "miasmic" in books where they are referring to funky air, something that was once widely believed to be responsible for illnesses. But, if you use it in a sentence while you are driving past the harbor when it's stinky and foggy, the people in your car will look at you strangely. Guess they don't read the same things I read. ;-)

As for Garcia-Marquez, I enjoyed One Hundred Years of Solitude more than Love in the Time of Cholera.

Date Posted: 9/11/2008 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top
lol, I know. I tried using it the other day and got funny looks. Once I figured out what it meant I couldn't get it out of my head and I found all these great opportunities to use it! oh well. Another word that I ended up looking up to make sure I had it right was quotidian...and then the next day my english lit teacher actually used it. I was so proud of myself that I knew what it meant! I picked Cholera because there is a movie out that I want to see when I'm done. I probably should have looked more into the author before I bought it. I might have started with something else and then had a better appreciation for this book. oh well. I'm still working through it.
Date Posted: 9/30/2008 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2008
Posts: 28
Back To Top

I liked it, but as you say, where I usually devour books, I took my time reading this one.  It wasn't so much that I stumbled over the language, it's that it is written (or translated) in such a fashion that each word has to be tasted; absorbed.  Sorry to wax a bit poetic about it.  I enjoyed the story, but it isn't one I would read again any time soon.

One thing I liked in particular about it is that many books in this vein, where the unrequited love marries another man, the other man is painted so often to be a bad person, or the wrong man.  In this book, Dr. Urbino was a perfectly good man, if not her childhood love. 

Date Posted: 10/1/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
Back To Top
Well I gave up on this one. It required too much effort for me right now. too much other school work that I have to digest. And I started reading Madame Bovary with some of the people over in the classics section and I enjoy thinking about that one more than this one. I'm going to keep the book though and try again, maybe when I'm on a school break so I can just devote the time to that. I agree with you though Emily. It definitely is a book that you have to "absorb" slowly :)