Book Review – Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

By | January 24, 2017

I read ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and then reread many passages. One silly thought kept creeping up. Knowing the appetite of Indian audience, what if a movie was made on such a lovely story? How successful will it be? All it needed was adapting the Mughal era as the backdrop for the story.

CHOLERAThe drama is essentially of patience and preferences. Cupid strikes Florentino Ariza, a telegraph clerk. He falls passionately in love with Fermina Daza. Their clandestine sweet unrelenting love is finally exposed. Fermina father takes her away, but Florentino waits for Fermina to return. She does come back; however, she decides to marry a reputed respected wealthy doctor. The life seeps out of Florentino. He does recover, but remains a romantic. He waits for his love. He has his share of numerous affairs, but he loves none. He lives for the day, when he can court Fermina again. When Fermina husband dies, Florentino seizes the opportunity and wastes no time to declaring his love. Full fifty years, nine months and four days after he first declared his love. Can the young love find its bearing once again in twilight of their lives? Well, you must read to find the answer.

“… He was a perfect husband: he never picked up anything from the floor, or turned out a light, or closed a door. In the morning darkness when he found a button missing from his clothes, she would hear him say: “a man should have two wives: one to love and one to sew on his buttons.” Everyday at his first swallow of coffee and at his first spoonful of soup, he would break into a heartrending howl that no longer frightened anyone, and then unburden himself: “The day I leave this house, you will know it is because I grew tired of always having a burned mouth.” He would say that they never prepared lunches as appetising and unusual as on the day when he could not eat because he has taken a laxative, ad he was so convinced that this was treachery on the part of his wife that in the end he refused to take a purgative, unless she took one with him.” Page 222.

I have become an admirer of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He must be incomparable in his use of language and building a whole arena for the act to happen.

“… there was no sleeper more elegant than she, with her curved body poised for a dance and her hand across her forehand, but there was also no one more ferocious when anyone disturbed the sensuality of her thinking, she was still asleep when she no longer was. Dr Urbino knew she was waiting for the slightest sound, and then she would be grateful for it. Just so she could blame someone for waking her at five O’clock in the morning, so that on the few occasions when he had to feel around in the darkness because he could not find his sleepers in their customary place, she would suddenly say in her sleepy voice “ You left them in the bathroom last night.” Then right after that, her voice full awake with rage, she would curse: “The worst fortune in this house is that nobody lets you sleep” Page 27

There is a rhythmic pulse to the wild playing rides of emotions and their explosions. They are well crafted.

He was corpulent and bull necked, with a golden beard and a liberty cap that he wore when he went out at the night, and all he needed were a string of bells to look like St, Nicolas. At least once a week, he ended the evening with a night bird, as he called them, one of the many who sold emergency love in a transient hotel ….

You see love in all its  glory.

Marquez is poetic in his description and takes the liberty of using long winded interesting narration to slowly build with you the world,   in which the characters will play and emote. What a pity, this is the first book of his, I am reading.

I love the small but detailed smaller stories that are tucked in between the main story structure. Sometime they slow you down as a reader. Nevertheless, they are charming and super interesting, and you don’t mind them as they word by word build a world full of characters.

Come be captivated by ‘Love in the time of cholera’. Follow Marquez, as he takes you on a journey of love. The love which fights all the signs of decay and defeat. The kind of love you wish you were strong enough to nurture.