Love in the Time of Cholera

On the flight down to Nashville I finally finished Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which I had started before Christmas. It was a dense book, with exceedingly long chapters, which made it slightly difficult to pick up and put down. Overall I believe I enjoyed it; though there were things I didn’t agree with, it was indeed well-written and an interesting portrait of both individuals and their society.

The biggest message for me was that there are multiple paths our lives can take, and that one is not necessarily better than the others; it all depends on what we make of it. I’ve been questioning the realities of love lately, and to me it seemed that what Florentino and Fermina share in their early life was not love but infatuation; she says this later on, when they are reunited in the end. Similarly, she and the doctor must work to create love after they are married. It seems she is one to whom it does not come easily, despite her strong feelings in other matters. Florentino, on the other hand, is brimming with love. He describes the heart as having many compartments, each of which can be filled with a different person–and indeed he does this through hundreds of affairs over the course of his life, each a temporary blaze of passion that never quite matches his torch for Fermina. I’m still not sure whether to view this as having an enormous capacity for love or just being fickle.

I liked the thread of the cholera epidemic winding throughout, but to me there also seemed to be aspects that were a little too subtle. For example, I was unclear as to how Jeremiah’s suicide and letter affected the rest of the story. Also, I’m not sure I agree with Florentino’s equal emphasis on physical love, especially the affair with the girl America.

I did grow to like the characters even if I didn’t always approve of them. Part of this might just be from the sheer amount of time spent with them, though. Overall I enjoyed reading it, but I’m not sure I’ll pick up anything else by him in the near future, even if One Hundred Years of Solitude is also on the 1001 Books list.

Published in: on January 4, 2009 at 7:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] and Other Stories, which contains four very different stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I read Love in the Time of Cholera two years ago, and I think I prefer him as a short story writer. The title story here is an […]

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