2007: 161. Love in the Time of Cholera

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Oh, how trendy I am! Luckily I started reading it before Oprah announced, and had a copy at home (indeed, only read it because it was my next commuting book), so I was spared the indignity of 1) a movie tie-in cover and 2) an O sticker.  

I didn’t love this book like people seem to love Garcia Marquez (or is it One Hundred Years of Solitude that they love so?).  Again, there is the translation problem - is it better in Spanish, but more so, the story didn’t captivate me.  I loved Fermina Daza - her feistiness (for lack of a better word) and capriciousness, her contradictions made her seem real to me, but I wasn’t sympathetic to Florento Ariza, who seems to me less like “a man with the soul  of a poet and the patience of a saint” (as my book flap pronounces him), than a man with an idee fixe, who was more in love with the idea of unrequited love than the actual woman, who was not that faithful when he was sleeping with every woman in town, and who lost his chance at real happiness.  The fact that he convinced Fermina Daza in the end doesn’t make his story less unappealing to me.  It seems like another tale in the long tradition of glorifying “sensitive” men who are really sort of overpossessive creeps (see e.g. Llyod Dobler, that oh so charming stalker).

And yet - the last image of the book - the solution that Fermina and Florento come upon to continue their romantic idyl has stayed with me.  And there was language, and lushness and understanding of human emotions that rang so true, that I can’t say I disliked Love in the Time of Cholera - rather that I liked parts of it a great deal, while not caring for the central story one bit.

Recommended for: People who like lush emotionally loaded prose; romantics who can over look some flaws.


Date/Place Completed: 10/16/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017