In a town along the Caribbean, during a time when the Cholera epidemic had not yet fully abated, Florentino Ariza, a simple young man who works in the post office, and Fermina Daza, the daughter of a suspiciously wealthy man, fall in forbidden love. But their romance is short lived. After Lorenzo, Fermina’s father finds out about the innocent letters exchanged between his daughter and a common boy, he forbids the relationship and does everything in his power to prevent it from flourishing including marrying his daughter to the wealthy doctor Juvinal Urbino.
Thus begins Florentino’s tumultuous, 50 year-long journey in chasing riches and promiscuity while also remaining faithful (in heart) to his first love Fermina. Omniscient in its point of view, Love in the Time of Cholera follows the life and thoughts of this love triangle, in addition to a plethora of other characters, with much detail and insight. We watch the characters learn, grow, form habits and shed them, take lovers and abandon them, and go through the changes that age and responsibility bring forth.
It’s safe to say that Love in the Time of Cholera is a character driven rather than story driven narrative, meaning that Marquez focuses more on building characters that tie the plot together rather than the other way around. The result is an array of perfectly drawn characters whom the reader gets to know at the most intimate level. However, you may feel that the plot is stagnant at times and that there isn’t much going on, but be patient as the story is worth it.
Love in the Time of Cholera, a work of a romance infused with historical fiction and elements of magical realism, is a modern classic full of captivating imagery and beautifully drawn characters. It’s important to allude to the work of the translator of this edition, Edith Grossman, as her work brought forth Garcia’s mastery and style. At many times, I found myself reading a sentence several times marveling at the beauty of the turn of phrase, wondering whether it would be possible for it to sound better in the original text. Infused with culture and bits of wisdom, this is a great book to enjoy and learn from. A very enamoring read.
If you’re interested in reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, below is the Amazon link:
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Have you read any of Marquez’s work? What your favorite of his books?