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Love in the Time of Cholera

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In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

348 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 1985

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About the author

Gabriel García Márquez

625 books34.4k followers
Gabriel José de la Concordia Garcí­a Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Garcí­a Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York. He wrote many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best-known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magical realism, which uses magical elements and events in order to explain real experiences. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo, and most of them express the theme of solitude.

Having previously written shorter fiction and screenplays, García Márquez sequestered himself away in his Mexico City home for an extended period of time to complete his novel Cien años de soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude, published in 1967. The author drew international acclaim for the work, which ultimately sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. García Márquez is credited with helping introduce an array of readers to magical realism, a genre that combines more conventional storytelling forms with vivid, layers of fantasy.

Another one of his novels, El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985), or Love in the Time of Cholera, drew a large global audience as well. The work was partially based on his parents' courtship and was adapted into a 2007 film starring Javier Bardem. García Márquez wrote seven novels during his life, with additional titles that include El general en su laberinto (1989), or The General in His Labyrinth, and Del amor y otros demonios (1994), or Of Love and Other Demons.

(Arabic: جابرييل جارسيا ماركيز) (Hebrew: גבריאל גארסיה מרקס)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 25,524 reviews
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
August 8, 2013

Okay. I like Marquez. I think his writing is beautiful, his settings are evocative and masterfully portrayed, and yes, his books are pretty romantic, and I always enjoy magical realism (this one could have used more of that last bit, though). The last twenty pages of the book even manged to suck me into the romance of the story, and I found myself finally really invested in this love story instead of being vaguely creeped out (we'll get there). Look, I even found a really nice passage to quote:

"It was as if they had leapt over the arduous calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death."

See? That's fucking beautiful, and even if I didn't like the story itself, I still liked the writing. So call off the dogs, Marquez apologists, and let's get to the ranting portion of the review.

Fair warning to all who proceed past this point: I am preparing to don my Feminist Rage hat and shout about rape culture. Those who plan to leave mean comments calling me an idiot or telling me that I misunderstood the book, remember that you were warned. BEWARE, FOR HERE BE DRAGONS AND ANGRY FEMINISTS.

Here's something I learned about myself while reading this: I have absolutely no patience for books about obsession disguised as love. I hated it in Twilight, I hated it in Wuthering Heights, I hated it in The Phantom of the Opera, and I hated it here. It would be one thing, I decided, if Fermina Daza felt as passionately about Florentino Ariza as he felt about her. But she didn't love him. For her, their romance was a brief fling in her teens, and she stopped loving him when she returned from her trip. She continued not loving him, until he wears her down (after writing her letters constantly despite her explicitly telling him to fuck off out of her life) and she basically shrugs her shoulders and says, fine, might as well.

The lesson men can take from this book is that if a woman says "no" (as Fermina frequently and clearly says to Florentino), she really means, "make me change my mind." NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE. THIS PHILOSOPHY IS NOT OKAY AND IT IS WHY RAPE CULTURE EXISTS. NO MEANS FUCKING NO, EVERYBODY. IF A WOMAN TELLS YOU TO LEAVE HER ALONE, YOU LEAVE HER THE FUCK ALONE. IT IS NOT ROMANTIC TO OBSESS ABOUT HER FOR FIFTY YEARS, IT IS CREEPY.

And OF COURSE Florentino still fucks anything that moves while claiming to be in love with Fermina, because he is a man and that's just how it works. Which leads me to my next ranting point: this book romanticizes rape.

(you can still get out, guys - it's only going to get worse from here)

First there was the intensely unsettling way Florentino loses his virginity: while traveling on a ship, a woman drags him into her cabin and forces him to have sex with her. Then Florentino falls in love with her. Because of course he does. I was willing to chalk this scene up to the common misconception that men cannot be sexually assaulted because men are horny dogs who are always up for sex no matter what - fine, whatever, I'll let it go. But then later, a minor female character describes the time she got raped, and I'm going to let you guys read this while I do yoga breaths in the corner and count to ten slowly:

"When she was still very young, a strong, able man whose face she never saw took her by surprise, threw her down on the jetty, ripped her clothes off, and made instantaneous and frenetic love to her. Lying there on the rocks, her body covered with cuts and bruises, she had wanted that man to stay forever so she could die of love in his arms."


Once more with feeling: NOPE.

AND THEN, as the creepy pedophilic cherry on top of this rape sundae, Florentino's last affair is with a child. When he is in his sixties. The best part is that he doesn't even use the classic pedophile's defense of "yes, she's young, but she ACTS like a grown woman!" No, Florentino sees that this child is going to be smoking hot when she grows up, and decides that he can't wait that long. Then this passage happens:

"She was still a child in every sense of the word, with braces on her teeth and the scrapes of elementary school on her knees, but he saw right away the kind of woman she was soon going to be, and he cultivated her during a slow year of Saturdays at the circus, Sundays in the park with ice cream, childish late afternoons, and he won her confidence, he won her affection, he led her by the hand, with the gentle astuteness of a kind grandfather, toward his secret slaughterhouse."

The hero of Love in the Time of Cholera, ladies and gentlemen. Let's give him a round of applause.

If anyone wants to join me in the corner, I will be staying here for the rest of the week.
Profile Image for Jaidee.
580 reviews1,106 followers
September 1, 2019
5 "masculine, organic, decaying...." stars !

8th Favorite Read of 2016

Do not make the mistake that this book is about love.

This book is about much more common vices.

Vices that masquerade for love.

Jealousy, obsession, desire, pity and vengeance.

Perpetually selfish penises promising but only perjuring voluminous misunderstood vaginas.

Men using women that use men.

The demise of the body, civilization, disease, poverty, stolen riches, subservience, slavery.

Sexual abuse in the guise of parental guidance.

Smothering overindulgent mothers psychologically killing sons and maiming daughters.

Beauty and comfort for the very few. Shades of skin as important as class and wealth.

Narcissism, poetry and empty years of mindless despair.

Rot, sickeningly sweet perfumes, theft and unknown history.

Oh no, do not misunderstand -this book is not about love. Anything but.
Profile Image for Samantha Newman.
150 reviews28 followers
October 5, 2007
I previously read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and I liked it a lot, and I was intruiged by the title "Love in the Time of Cholera" so I thought I'd read it.

Within the first few pages I had the inkling I didn't like it, but sometimes it takes books a little while to get warmed up. Plus, I don't like starting a book and not finishing it, because I know I'll never go back to a book I stopped reading because I didn't like it, and if I stop reading it, I'll never know if I would have liked the rest of it. So I forged ahead and completed the whole book.

First off, the magical realism that made "100 yrs. of Solitude" so gripping was not as prevalent in "Cholera." I actually only saw it a few times in the entire novel, unless it was so well-done that it was just perfectly woven into the book and I didn't notice. I doubt that though...but this was easy to get over; I mean, it's a different book, so it was bound to be, well, different from "100...Solitude."

But I guess my conservative / religious side was riled up by the rest of the book. It portrays everyone as being incredibly sex-oriented. Men, women, everyone. And not "morally" so, if you know what I mean. Everyone sleeps around, while married and while unmarried. And the tone of the book seemed to be saying that that's expected - quite frankly, like the more sex a person has, most of the time with the more people, the more normal and in some ways the more gifted they are. I'm generalizing quite a bit, not getting into the specifics of the story and my reactions to them, however.

Now this book is on Oprah's book club list and she said it's "the greatest love story" she's ever heard. Alright...if a good love story equals someone "waiting" for their true love, where waiting means having sex with everything that moves. And now they're making a movie. The tag says "Florentino, rejected by the beautiful Fermina at a young age, devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart." ?? I guess I can see how you can read the book that way. I guess I just don't prefer books where carnal affairs are the center. And I didn't read it that way. It didn't seem to me that the carnal affairs were a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart. They seemed like he just wanted to have sex in the meantime. SOMEWHAT SPOILER ALERT BUT NOT REALLY:::::you cannot declare yourself a virgin just b/c you didn't love the hundreds of people you had sex with before your "one true love."

What bothered me I think was that in the end, I couldn't tell if the novel was condoning a life of promiscuity as long as it leads to one "true" love, or if it was condemning its character's behavior in some ways. I tend to lean towards thinking it wasn't really condemning it though. I probably missed something, I'm sure. Because not being sure what a book was saying is not usually the book's fault.

In some ways it should have been titled "Sex in the Time of Cholera," because the term "love" was used instead of "sex" almost constantly, and obviously, those are two very different things.
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 8 books16k followers
April 25, 2022
الرواية التي حارب فيها ماركيز الزمن
*المراجعة بها حرق للأحداث*

‏ الكوليرا داء
والحب داء
كلاهما يغير حياة المرء
كلاهما يعلن حربا شرسة ووحشية‏
كلاهما قاس وفتاك ‏
وكلاهما يستهلك صاحبه

تقول والدة فلورينتو في لحظة تأمل
‏” ..الحب شبيه بالكوليرا ..“ ‏

الحرب والكوليرا والحب
كلهم يطهرون المرء بطريقته
يعيدون تشكيل من يصاب بأي منهم

ولكن الحب حرب ضد الموت‏
وهو من يضمن لصاحبه الخلود
عكس الوباء وعكس الحرب والقتال

فلورنتينو في النهاية
يتخلص من باقي المسافرين على المركب الذي يحمله ‏وحبيبته العجوز
‏ بخدعة أن السفينة أصاب من عليها وباء الكوليرا ‏
وتنتهي الرواية والسفينة تعبر النهر ذهابا وعودة ‏
رافعة علم الوباء الأصفر

الحب والحرب والكوليرا
ثالوث الموت والحياة

‎‎إن هذا الحب في كل زمان وفي كل مكان"
لكنه يشتد كثافة كلما اقترب من ‏الموت"‏


ما ألهم ماركيز هذه الرواية في البداية كانت على حد قوله
قصة حب أبيه وأمه ‏
فأبوه عامل التلغراف ‏
نمت بينه وبين لويسا (أمه المستقبلية) قصة حب قوية وحارة‏
ورفض أبوها تزويجهما‏
وكانت الرسائل التلغرافية هي طريقة التواصل الأقوى بين الاثنين
ولكن في النهاية تزوجا وأنجبا للبشرية غابريل
الروائي الأكثر إدهاشا عبر التاريخ

ولأنهما تزوجا صغيرين كان على ماركيز أن يستوحي قصة الحب بين اثنين ‏كبار في السن من قصة أخرى
وهي قصة قرأها في إحدى الصحف عن وفاة رجل وامرأة أمريكيين في ‏الثمانين من العمر
كانا يجتمعان كل عام في أكابولكو
حتى قُتلا ذات يوم على ظهر قارب ‏
تم الكشف عن قصة حبهما تلك بعد وفاتهما‏
حيث كان كل شخص منهم متزوج بآخر

هذان إذن هما الخيطان الرئيسيان لقصة فرمينا وفلورينتينو


أحداث الرواية تعانق نهاية القرن التاسع عشر‏
في زمن الحروب الأهلية والأوبئة‏
‏ زمن يستفيق فيه المجتمع الفقير في الكاريبي
‏ ليجد نفسه وجها لوجه مع انجازات القرن العشرين العجيبة‏
بكل تأثيراتها على نمط حياتهم ووعيهم بها

كل شيء يتغير

وهنا –وكعادته ينقلك ماركيز إلى داخل واقع مجتمعه‏
إنها بانوراما كاملة من الأشخاص من مختلف الصنوف ‏
موظفون وأمهات وبحارة وغانيات وأطباء وعاملات تنظيف
‏ مع وصف دقيق مبهر لهذا العالم الذي يعيشون فيه
‏ من تفاصيل المهرجانات وأشكال عربات النقل ‏
وطرائف الكرنفالات


ماركيز روائي مدهش كالعادة‏
يلعب بكراته بمهارة ساحر قديم
فيتدفق الخيال معانقا قسوة الواقع‏
وتتضافر الأحداث بنوائب الشخصيات
يحكيها لنا فيدهش ويسحر ‏
حتى أنك لتشعر وكأنه لم يكن بالإمكان حدوث ما حدث بأي شكل آخر

وبينما يتعمق ماركيز في شخصية فلورينتينو‏
يبدو وصفه لفيرمينا ودوافعها سطحيا إلى حد كبير
وكأن فيرمينا نفسها مجرد رمز
لا كتلة انسانية من لحم ودم

لقد امتلك فلورينتينو قدرة هائلة على الصبر والتصميم والكفاح‏
وحاول بشتى السبل الترقي والصعود والحصول على المناصب والأموال‏
وبرغم كل ما فعل ‏
برغم علاقاته الجسدية مع عاهرات وفتيات قصر وأرامل وزوجات أخريين‏
لم يكن ذلك فحشا ولا طمعا أو جشعا بقدر ما كان رحلته الخاصة ‏
للبحث عن سبل كي يرتق�� بشخصيته ويقويها
كي يبقى حيا صابرا منتظرا هذا اليوم الذي سيجمعه بها‏
فرمينا حلم العمر والداء الذي لا يريد منه شفاء‏

‏"علمته الشيء الوحيد الذي عليه ان يتعلمه عن الحب
وهو أن أحدا لا ���يستطيع تعليم الاخرين الحياة"‏

‏ترتبط فرمينا بزوج لا تشعر معه سوى بالتبعية ‏
روح بليدة لم تكن تناسب روحا مثلها متمردة ونارية
ولكنها تعيش معه راضية لأكثر من خمسين عاما ‏
تعيش حياة اختارتها لنفسها ‏
طمعا في حياة أفضل وأرقى ‏
وأكثر بهجة وإثارة للمتعة من حياتها الفقيرة


ثلاث وخمسين سنة من الصبر‏
وستة أشهر من الانتظار
وأحد عشر يوما من الألم

هذه هي المدة التي فيها انتظر فلورنتينو فرمينا‏
لم يكف فيها عن حبها أبدا
حتى يجيء اليوم الذي ينتصر فيه الحب
هذه هي مفاجأة الرواية حقا
فلم تنتهي بنهاية مأساوية كليشيهية بموته وحيدا وسط زجاجات الخمر
حيث تزوره الحبيبة التي حرم طوال العمر منها
وتودعه الوداع الأخير
فهو ليس فيلما عربيا قديما بالأبيض والأسود
إنها رواية لماركيز ولأنها لماركيز كان عليها أن تنتهي هذه النهاية العجيبة ‏والرائعة ‏

‏"كانا ينسابان بصمت كزوجين قديمين كوتهما الحياة
إلى ما وراء خداع ‏العاطفة
إلى ما وراء حيل الاوهام القاسية وسراب خيبة الامل"‏

فعلى ظهر سفينة ‏
يقرر الحبيبان العجوزان أنهما صارا ‏
‏"في مرحلة أفضل لوصول مرحلة ما وراء الحب ‏
وهي الحب لذات الحب" ‏

ويهربان معا
متحديين الزمن والمجتمع والواقع
وقوة الكوليرا الاهثة بالموت

‏ للحرب وجه واحد هو الكوليرا‏
وللحب وجه واحد هو الربيع الدائم
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
July 30, 2021
(Book 236 From 1001 Books) - El Amor en Los Tiempos del Cólera = Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez

Love in the Time of Cholera is a novel by Nobel prize winner Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez first published in Spanish in 1985.

The main characters of the novel are Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Florentino and Fermina fall in love in their youth.

A secret relationship blossoms between the two with the help of Fermina's Aunt Escolástica. They exchange several love letters. However, once Fermina's father, Lorenzo Daza, finds out about the two, he forces his daughter to stop seeing Florentino immediately.

When she refuses, he and his daughter move in with his deceased wife's family in another city. Regardless of the distance, Fermina and Florentino continue to communicate via telegraph.

However, upon her return, Fermina realizes that her relationship with Florentino was nothing but a dream since they are practically strangers; she breaks off her engagement to Florentino and returns all his letters.

A young and accomplished national hero, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, meets Fermina and begins to court her. Despite her initial dislike of Urbino, Fermina gives in to her father's persuasion and the security and wealth Urbino offers, and they wed.

Urbino is a medical doctor devoted to science, modernity, and "order and progress". He is committed to the eradication of cholera and to the promotion of public works. He is a rational man whose life is organized precisely and who greatly values his importance and reputation in society. He is a herald of progress and modernization.

Even after Fermina's engagement and marriage, Florentino swore to stay faithful and wait for her. However, his promiscuity gets the better of him. Even with all the women he is with, he makes sure that Fermina will never find out. Meanwhile, Fermina and Urbino grow old together, going through happy years and unhappy ones and experiencing all the reality of marriage.

At an elderly age, Urbino attempts to get his pet parrot out of his mango tree, only to fall off the ladder he was standing on and die. After the funeral, Florentino proclaims his love for Fermina once again and tells her he has stayed faithful to her all these years.

Hesitant at first because of the advances he made to a newly made widow, Fermina eventually gives him a second chance. They attempt a life together, having lived two lives separately for over five decades. Urbino's function in the novel is to contrast with Florentino Ariza and his archaic and boldly romantic love.

Urbino proves in the end not to have been an entirely faithful husband, confessing one affair to Fermina many years into their marriage.

Though the novel seems to suggest that Urbino's love for Fermina was never as spiritually chaste as Florentino Ariza's was, it also complicates Florentino's devotion by cataloging his many trysts as well as a few potentially genuine loves. By the end of the book, Fermina comes to recognize Florentino's wisdom and maturity, and their love is allowed to blossom during their old age.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «عشق در زمان وبا»؛ «عشق سالهای وبا»؛ «عشق در سال‌های وبا»؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 1995میلادی

عنوان: عشق سالهای وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: مهناز سیف طلوعی؛ مدبر، 1369، در 508ص؛ تهران، نشر نیک، 1373، در512ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان کلمبیائی - سده 20م

عنوان: عشق در سالهای وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: اسماعیل قهرمانی؛ تهران، روزگار، 1383، در 525ص؛ چاپ پنجم زمستان سال1388؛

عنوان: عشق در زمان وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: بهمن فرزانه؛ تهران، ققنوس، 1385، در 542ص؛

عنوان: عشق سالهای وبا؛ نویسنده: گابریل گارسیا مارکز؛ مترجم: کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، آریابان، 1385، در 520ص؛ چاپ سیزدهم اردیبهشت سال1393، در 520ص؛

کتاب عشق سالهای وبا، در باره ی یک عشق قدیمی، بین یک دختر و پسر، و زنده شدن دوباره ی عشق بین آنها در زمان پیری، و پس از درگذشت شوهر دختر است؛ در این داستان زیبا و عاشقانه، روحیات شخصیتها بخوبی تصویر شده است.؛

نقل از کتاب: (عقل زمانی به سراغ انسان میآید که دیگر کاری از پیش نمیبرد.)؛ پایان نقل

مقدمه مترجم: (عشق سرخ است؛ سرخ سرخ، به رنگ خون، با همان صلابت، که از عقیق زخم سینه، به بیرون میتراود، و شقايق و لاله، بر گستره ی زمين، میپرورد؛ عشق آبی نيست؛ اگر اندوهی دارد، میرا و فانی، و شادیهایش اما، جاودانی ست.؛ هرگز نمیمیرد، جان میبخشد، و گاهی نيز، جان میستاند؛ ولی هميشه، زنده است؛ تنها در صورتی در لحظه ی مرگ افسوس خواهم خورد، که مرگم به خاطر عشق نباشد؛ هرچه در مورد یک عشق اتفاق بیفتد، بر همه عشقها در سراسر جهان اثر خواهد گذاشت.)؛ پایان نقل از مقدمه؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 07/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,084 reviews6,998 followers
March 9, 2022
[Edited, spoiler added 3/9/22]

Can unrequited love last a lifetime? That’s the premise of this book. A 76-year-old man pines for a woman all his life. Now her husband has died. Does he still have a chance?

The man and woman were in love as teenagers, but they mostly exchanged secret notes. She was guarded by her nanny and when her father discovered the relationship, he took his daughter away for three years. It worked.

When they returned to the city the young girl no longer loved the boy. She married a man who became a prominent and wealthy doctor. The doctor’s claim to fame was cleaning up the Colombian city of the open sewers that led to cholera. In 1900 we’re told the man is 40, so you can figure out the time frame.


The main character has an uncle who runs the local steamboat river shipping company. He starts out sweeping the docks, becomes a clerk, and over the years eventually rises to manager. As manager he attends various cultural events in the city and occasionally gets a glimpse of his beloved. She and her husband are the most socially prominent people in the city. Sometimes he gets a smile or a nod from her; sometimes not. Meanwhile

The story alternates between his story and hers. The constant civil wars of Colombia provide background. Finally her husband dies and, not having talked with her for 51 years, he makes his move.


There is excellent writing as we would expect from Marquez. Some passages I liked:

“He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”

At one point the woman confronts her husband about his infidelity; he admits it and weeps. She is disappointed because he did not do what she had hoped he would do: “…deny everything, and swear on his life it was not true, and grow indignant at the false accusation…even when confronted with crushing proofs of his disloyalty.”

“She was a ghost in a strange house that overnight had become immense and solitary and through which she wandered without purpose, asking herself in anguish which of them was deader: the man who had died or the woman he had left behind.”

“Always remember that the most important thing in a marriage is not happiness, but stability.”

“ ’No, [I’m] not rich,’ he said, ‘I am a poor man with money which is not the same thing.’ ”


An excellent book. I had read this years ago and I should have re-read it sooner. A classic from the master of Latin American literature that I will add to my favorites.

Photos from top: A street in Cartagena from cartagenaexplorer.com
Steamships on the Magdalena river around 1873 from media.istockphoto.com
The author (1907-2014) from okdiario.com
Profile Image for MsAprilVincent.
534 reviews74 followers
May 10, 2009
I don't like this book.

I don't like the characters. (This was going to be a list, but then I realized that this is the only reason I have.)

Florentino Ariza is a baby. Seriously, his mom gives him whatever he wants, and she tries to make everything all right for him, and he is very, very ... if he lived today, he would be one of those emo kids with the dyed black hair and the eye liner and the journals full of bad poetry (he does write bad poetry, in the book), all "Nobody gets me," and just a grating, time-sucking, high maintenance type. He rationalizes his behavior in whatever way he can, so he never feels that he is doing anything wrong.

I grew impatient with him fairly quickly; I wanted to wring him by his neck and yell, "GET OVER IT!!!" I have no tolerance for that kind of behavior.
Sometime during the Seduction of the 600, it says that Florentino Ariza thought that when a woman said no, she really meant something else (that's a paraphrase). This is another thing I have no tolerance for. So, when he persisted in his attentions to Fermina Daza, even after she'd made her own feelings quite clear (TWICE), and she came around to his way of thinking, it justified his behavior. I don't think he should be rewarded for that. I think he should be kicked to the curb.

Fermina Daza was almost likable; I was almost there with her, but then I realized that there wasn't anything really likable about her. She was efficient and organized, she was well-behaved, and she was boring. Why did men love her? What did she have to offer? I DON'T KNOW.

I did like Juvenal Urbino. Of course he dies in the first chapter.

It seemed to me that the book dragged on FOREVER; I kept looking ahead to the end of a chapter and sighing, "Forty-two more pages." (The chapters are long.) Even though two weeks doesn't seem like a long time, it's a long time for ME to be reading a book, particularly one that isn't a thousand pages long and written in Elizabethan English.

I didn't think this was any kind of love story. Like Wuthering Heights, it's more a love-gone-wrong story, or an obsession story; none of the characters really displayed any of the traits that I would associate with love, one which--the chief one, I would say--is selflessness. None of them were willing to put anyone else above themselves, and maybe that's why I didn't particularly care for them, or for this book.

I've written a more in-depth review here.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
266 reviews18.8k followers
July 29, 2019
Siempre digo que no tengo libro favorito, pero después de esta lectura empiezo a dudar.
García Márquez hace magia con los personajes y la ambientación.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
695 reviews1,072 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 9, 2018
DNF at page 218.

This is tough for me to admit. I hate not finishing books but I cannot carry on with this any longer when I am not enjoying it and I have so many other books I could be reading instead.

The writing is tedious. Focused on a man rejected when he was young and his infatuation with this woman for years afterwards. He sleeps with numerous other women, as we are shown in detail. His first love marries another, but he still cannot move on.
His obsession borders on the creepy, he never really knew her that well in the beginning anyway let alone to call it true love.
I’m fed up, so I’m giving up. No rating.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,612 followers
March 20, 2018
!بماذا خرجت من تلك الرحلة؟ لا شئ يا صديقي
اه، سوي أنني زرت جزر الكاريبي بواقعية لاتخلو من السحر لأول مرة دون قراصنتها وجوني ديب

و اﻷهم، أني تيقنت أن الشيخوخة ومرور الزمن ليس مفزعا لهذا الحد إذا ماكنت تعرف الحب حقا

أنها رحلة نصحني بها مديري العزيز 'ستقرأ عن الحب في زمن الشيخوخة، بوصف مشاعر ساحرة كما لم ولن تقرأ في حياتك' وقد كان محقا
الغريب إنني بعد منتصف الكتاب وجدت نفسي أكتشف أن الرواية ليست لوني المفضل من الروايات علي اﻷطلاق...دراما رومانسية بلا خيال ..ومع ذلك لا أستطيع إيقاف سماع ثرثرة الماركيز جابريال جارسيا يحكي تلك الحكاية في بالي، بأسلوبه الساحر الذي يربط بين الحاضر والماضي بل ولمحات من المستقبل في فقرة واحدة!!!، و بتعريب العلماني صالح، وجدتني منجرفا مع تلك الثرثرة العجيبة كأنني أعيش تلك الحياة...وأشيخ بها
فقد برع كعادته في وصف الزمن..وعلامات مروره القاسية

الحب في زمن الكوليرا، أوائل القرن العشرين بالكاريبي في 6 فصول مختلفة طويلة
الفصل 70 صفحة تقريبا عدا اﻷخير 90 صفحة
مرة اخري نفس نصيحتي كـريفيو مائة عام من العزلة
.أمنح الفصل حقه في وقت القراءة، ال70 صفحة حوالي ساعة ونصف إلي اثنتين -نسخة ترجمة صالح علماني-، هي نفس النسخة المتاحة الكترونيا ولكن الصفحات الالكترونية أطول مساحة

وأهلا بك في جزر اﻷنتيل حيث رائحة أشجار الموز واﻷنهار و حلوي جوز الهند...وللأسف رائحة الجثث أحيانا من بقايا إعصار الكوليرا العاتي
الكوليرا التي حاول الدكتور خوفينيال اوربينو تحصين بلدته منه بنشر الوعي الصحي، إنه الدكتور الأهم ذو الصوت المسموع بالبلد بعد سنوات الخبرة الطويلة
ورائحة مداخن الباخرات النهرية التابعة للشركة الوحيدة واﻷهم بالمنطقة، شركة الكاريبي للملاحة النهرية التي يرأسها خلفا لعمه فلورينتينو أريثا بعد سنوات من العمل الكادح
وما يربط الدكتور اوربينو بالسيد الوقور أريثا سوي أن الإثنان أحبا إمرأة واحدة...فيرمينيا داثا...ولكن لهذا قصة طويلة...ولكن دعونا نقسم رأينا بالرواية بحسب فصولها

الفصل اﻷول : الحب الزوجي المؤبد

في فصل واحد ستتعرف علي د.خوفينيال أوربينو، الكبير عمرا ومقاما سابق الذكر، في صباح يوم 'نحس' ، الذي بدأه بزيارة أخيرة لصديق مستحدث له ليتعرف علي جثته، ويبدي أسفه لإنتحاره لسبب غير الحب
ستتعرف علي تقديسه للحب، بالرغم من أن حبه لزوجته فيرمينيا داثا توطد بحكم العشرة الزوجية
بأسلوب الثرثرة الساحر يروي لك الماركيز السنوات الأخيرة في عمر زواجهما، الخلافات التي لا يخلو ما يشبهها في أي عصر وأي بيت في العالم

عشقت ذلك الجزء جدا، رأيت جمال الحياة الزوجية بمشاكلها وواقعيتها، حقا من قال أن أدب الرواية هدفه المتعة وأن ليس للرواية رسالة...إذا لم يغير رأيك ذلك الفصل بتحمل الحياة الزوجية فما قد يفعل؟
ستري وقوف الزوجة مع زوجها كداعم أمام علامات الشيخوخة القاسية، كيف يجعل هذا الحياة أكثر أحتمالا
ما هدف أي رواية غير منحك منظور أجمل للحياة؟
'الله وحده يعلم كم أحببتك'

يا للقشعريرة التي تسببها لي الماركيز بهذا الجزء، بهذه الجملة البسيطة

وينتهي الفصل بصدمة لي، ثم بإكتشاف شخصية جديدة..إنه فلورينتينو أريثا...بطل الفصل الثاني

الفصل الثاني :الحب المراهق البائس

وستتعرف فيه علي شباب فلورينتينو أريثا، حياته مع أمه السيدة القوية التي تعرف كل شئ عن الحب ...والكوليرا
وعمله في التلغراف معجزة هذا الزمان، وهذا العمل بالتلغراف الذي يتسبب في عشقه وأفتننانه المراهق بفيرمينا داثا
والتي أيضا ستتعرف عليها في شبابها وعمتها و أبيها الذي جاء بهما مهاجرا من سان خوان هاربا من الكوليرا
ستتعرف علي تشديد أبوها الرهيب عليها حين يعرف بأعجاب ذلك الفتي البائس بها، وفترة حبهما القصيرة برغم من إبتعادها عنه بأمر أبيها إلي بلدة أخري لفترة ما
أحلام المراهقة و شقاوتها و حلم البحث عن الكنوز الغارقة ببحار الكاريبي منذ قرن مضي

جمال وصف الحياة بتلك المنطقة الكاريبية برع بها الماركيز كعادته، ومزج اﻷساطير بالواقع، وشرحه المتقن لحب المراهقة المتقلب كان أكثر من ممتاز بهذا الفصل
'رباه ، ياللرجل البائس!'

تنتهي بهذه السهولة ,بتقلب حب المراهقة قصة حب فلورينتينو أريثا المراهق التي كانت أعراضها أشبه بالكوليرا ...ولكن من قال أنه شفي منها للأبد؟

الفصل الثالث : الحب الأرستقراطي الناضج

حيث تتابع عودة دكتور خوفينال اوربينو الشاب ذو اﻷصل الارستقراطي إلي موطنه الكاريبي بعد دراسته الطب في باريس...لماذا عاد؟ ﻷنه سقط في أحابيل الحنين الخادعة، فقد كان شابا لا يعرف أن ذاكرة القلب تمحو كل الذكريات السيئة وتضخم الذكريات الطيبة..عاد للواقع الغارق في اﻷهمال الصحي الرهيب، عاد فاتحا صدره كأبيه لممارسة الطب ومواجهة أسباب تفشي الكوليرا، ولكن في موطنه
ولأسم عائلته، وتفوقه صار له صوتا مسموعا في البلد..خاصا بعد أصلاحاته الصحية لمواجهة الكوليرا
ونتيجة تشخيص خاطئ للكوليرا قابل قدره...التي تعلق بها قلبه وظل قلبها عصيا ، فيرمينيا داثا
فيرمينيا داثا التي تفاجأ بتغير ردود الأفعال حيال حب هذا الدكتور لها من كل من حولها باﻷخص الذين رفضوا قبلا حب فلورينتينو أريثا لها ... حتي توافق علي الزواج أخيرا منه بعد محاولاته وكل من حولها ﻷقناعها
كل من حولها أقنعوها بالطبع عدا فلورينتينو أريثا..الذي قرر الهرب من البلدة كلها ليحاول نسيانها بحجة تعلم التلغراف، ويركب السفينة البخارية ﻷول مرة التابعة لشركة عمه ، شركة الكاريبي للملاحة النهرية

وأثناء سفره يصاب بحمي الحب مرة أخري عندما يفكر أن هذا نفس يوم زواج حبيبته الوحيدة...نفس الحمي التي أصيب بها قبلا، حمي تشبه حمي الكوليرا...ولكنها لم تلزم الباخرة بإعلان وجود راكب مصاب بحمي الحب كعادتها عند أصابة راكب بالكوليرا عن طريق رفع راية الكوليرا الصفراء الكئيبة

بديع هذا الفصل في وصف الماركيز لتلك الرحلة النهرية باﻷمازون بين جزر الكاريبي , ستشعر كما لو أنك مع فلورينتينو أريثا علي متن السفينة وتري مايراه من فابات خلابة
وستشعر بجمالها أكثر حين تري الفصل الأخير نفس الرحلة بأختلاف مرور الزمن ، وأثاره القاسية ورسالة الماركيز من كل تلك الرواية

الفصل الرابع : الحب البوهيمي، وحب الباذنجان

هنا نتابع مغامرات فلورينتينو أريثا البوهيمية ، والتي لجأ لها كعلاج للكوليرا، عذرا ، كعلاج أو باﻷدق مسكنا ﻷلام تعلقه بفيرمينا داثا
حيث قرر العودة لبلدته ومحاولة أن يكون ذو شأن فقط ليليق بها بعد عمر طويل، بعد موت زوجها...فبالرغم من زواجها فهو لم يفقد اﻷمل بعد
ولكن حادث فقد عذريته في السفينة بالفصل السابق علي يد إمرأة مجهولة تحول اﻷمر بالنسبة له كعادة ، بالرغم من شعوره أنه بذلك يخون فيرمينيا داثا
وفي نفس الوقت نتابع تأقلم فيرمينا داثا مع حياتها الزوجية،وحماتها في تأقلم وصل لحب الباذنجان

وإذا كان هناك ما يعذبها فهو الحكم المؤبد المفروض عليها بتحضير الطعام اليومي, إذ لم يكن الأمر يتوقف عند إعداد الطعام في الموعد المحدد , بل لابد أن يكون كذلك متقنا, وأن يحتوي علي ما يريد الزوج أكله دون أن تسأله عما يريد وأذا ما سألته يوما, فإن سؤالها سيكون طقسا أخر يضاف إلي طقوس الروتين البيتية التي لا طائل منها , لأنه سيرد عليها دون أن يرفع نظره عن الجريدة "أي شئ" . والحقيقة أنه كان يقول ذلك بطريقته اللطيفة لأنه ما كان يستطيع أن يتصور لنفسه كزوج أقل استبدادية, لكنه حين يجلس إلي المائدة لا يقبل أي شئ

ربما أكثر ما أعجبني بهذا الجزء هو ثرثرة الماركيز عن التفاصيل الجميلة للحياة الزوجية بين خوفينال اوربينو و فيرمينيا داثا بخلافاتها التي لا تختلف في أي مكان بالعالم وأي عصر بطريقة واقعية، لا أدري فعلا كيف جعلني هذا الجزء أشعر بقرب ماركيز مني وكأنه فعلا جالسا معي يحكي تلك الحكاية بربطه لتلك التفاصيل الصغيرة حتي وصل لجزء الباذنجان، ومغزاه في تلك الرواية

بالنسبة لي هذا الفصل يعيبه كثرة الجنس به عن أي فصل أخر .. ولكن هناك شيئا ما في أسلوب الماركيز يجعلك تشعر بعدم فجاجته رغم بوهيمته المفرطة، لذلك لم أنقص التقييم كثيرا، ولكن وجب اﻷشارة حيث لا يمكن تجنب الفصل لأن به أيضا غير الجزء البوهيمي كيفية وصول فلورينتينو أريثا لمنصبه كصاحب شركة الكاريبي للملاحة النهرية ، وحبه الخالد رغم كل شئ
وربما أجمل ما بالفصل هي تلك الفترة التي قضاها يكتب رسائل العشق للعاشقين بدون مقابل، والتأثر بقصة وفاة أمه..تلك السيدة القوية التي عرفت الحب ولكنها, المسكينة , خلطت ذاكرتها بين الحب وبين الكوليرا في سنوات شيخوختها

الفصل الخامس : الحب و الزمن

هذا الجزء قد يعتبر نهاية جزء الأحداث السابقة لنهاية الفصل الأول والتي تعبر عن الحاضر حيث أن باقي الفصول هي فلاش باك او الاحداث السابقة للفصل الأول، حتي تصل لنهايته مرة أخري بنهاية هذا الفصل..أي تصل للوقت الحاضر

ستجد بالنسبة لخوفينال اوربينو و فيرمينيا داثا كيف تحول زواجهم وقاوم كل المشاكل حتي وصل للحاضر..حتي وصل لتلك الجملة الجميلة
'الله وحده يعلم كم أحببتك'

وكيف وصل فلورينتينو أريثا لمكانته ، وغرامياته ومع ذلك متشبثا بأمل عودته لفيرمينيا داثا
وكيف ��مر الزمن تاركا أثاره علينا....التيمة الرئيسية للرواية

إذ أنه لم يتعرف علي قسوة الزمن من خلال مظهره هو بالذات بقدر ما تعرف عليه من التبدلات التي يلاحظها علي فيرمينا داثا كلما رآها

لقد كان الرجال يتفتحون بنوع من الشباب الخريفي, فيبدون أكثر وقارا مع أول الشعرات الشائبة , ويصبحون فاتنين و جذابين, خصوصا في عين النساء الشابات , بينما تضطر زوجاتهم الذاويات إلي التشبث بأذرعتهم كي لا يتعثرن بظلالهن ذاتها. ولكن هؤلاء الأزواج ما يلبثون أن ينزلقوا فجأة بعد بضع سنوات إلي هوة شيخوخة مرذولة جسدا وروحا , وحينئذ يصبح علي زوجاتهم المستقرات اسنادهم من أذرعهم كالعميان الباحثين عن صدقة , والهمس في أذانهم كي لا يجرحن كبرياءهم بأن ينتبهوا جيدا لأن عدد الدرجات التي سنزلون ثلاث وليس اثنين, ويساعدونهم بمشقة علي عبور الشارع وكأنه المخاضة الوحيدة في نهر الحياة الأخير

ربما عاب الفصل أيضا شيئا من البوهيمية، ولكن في نفس الوقت قدم شكل عام بسطور بسيطة الحياة السياسية بالكاريبي ، حربها اﻷهلية ودساتيرها التي لا تختلف كثيرا عن سابقتها...بل وﻷستكمال جو الثرثرة تجده يذكر لك تلك التفاصيل البسيطة التي تشعرك فعلا أنتقلت لزمن أحداث الرواية
كان غارقا في قراءة
L'Île des Pingouins
الرواية التي قرأها الجميع في تلك الأيام

ولكنه يظل من أجزائي المفضلة بالرواية لوصفه المخاوف التي يشعر بها المرء بسبب مرور الزمن..الزمن وعلاماته القاسية...أمر برع الماركيز وصفه هنا كما في مائة عام من العزلة ....باﻷخص كما يشعر به فلورينتينو أريثا من مراحل كبره في السن من صلع وفقد أسنان

وعندها فقط أدرك أن المرء يعرف أنه قد بدأ يشيخ حين يبدأ بالتشابه مع أبيه

الفصل اﻷخير : الحب في زمن الشيخوخة...الحب في زمن الكوليرا

وهذا هو الجزء اﻷجمل، والذي سأتركك لتكتشف أحداثه بنفسك
ولكن سأقول لك أمرا ، نعم سينتصر الحب
من قال أن ليس للرواية هدف ولا رسالة...إنها عن حب يبقي ويستمر ، حب يدفع للأستمرار والحياة
برغم الكوليرا، برغم الشيخوخة أو العجز
برغم الزمن وقسوة مروره
إن الحب يصبح أعظم و أنبل في المحن

محن، مش مُحن ، بضم الميم، إيها المؤلفين المصريين الممحونين

هذا هو الحب...الحب الذي يجب أن تعرفه كي تعيش
أنظر لغابات الكاريبي حول نهر اﻷمازون في الرحلة النهرية اﻷولي بالفصل الثالث ثم إليها بعد 51 سنة، ذلك التماثل البديع الذي رسمه الماركيز بالنهاية

حين أكلت التماسيح أخر الفراشات و أنقرضت الأطم الأمومية واختفت الببغاوات والقرود والقري , وأنتهي كل شئ

إنظر إلي الشخصيات و شيخوختها وعجزها....ثم أنظر ما قد يفعل الحب بك ومن حولك
إنه الحب الذي يجدد الحياة
ويهزم الزمن ، حتي لو كان زمن الكوليرا

ليست لوني المفضل من الروايات، ﻷني لأعتقد أنه من الصعب أن يقنعني روائي أخر بالحب مثلما فعل الماركيز جابريل جارسيا

محمد العربي
من 10 فبراير 2015
إلي 14 فبراير 2015

ملاحظة علي جنب

المنتج سكوت ستيندورف ، منتج فيلم الحب في زمن الكوليرا عام 2007 ظل قبلها لثلاث سنوات في مطاردة الماركيز الذي لا يوافق علي تحويل رواياته لأفلام ليحتفظ القارئ بتخيله لها
قال له المنتج عبارة كانت سببا في أقناع الماركيز للموافقة علي الفيلم،... قال له أنه يعتبر نفسه فلورينتينو أريثا وتلك الرواية هي فيرمينيا داثا بالنسبه له، ولن يتنازل عن حلمه بتحويلها لفيلم ولو لواحد وخمسين عاما

وبصراحة، لقد أبدع المنتج في جعل الفيلم قريبا جدا جدا من روح الروابة

وأن تضايقت لحذف جزء غابات الكاريبي بالنهاية وموقف الكابتن عن الصيد الذي أعجبني بقوة بالرواية بالرغم من صغر الدور ولكن التصوير عاما بالفيلم ممتاز -بالطبع يعيبه فحسب شئ من العري بالأحداث
لا تنس أذا أعجبك هذه الرواية يجب قراءة روايته الأخري عن الزمن
وإن كانت مختلفة تماما
ما الذي كنت تنتظره؟- تنهدت أورسولا, وأضافت :- إن الــزمـــن يـمـضـي

من ريفيو مائة عام من العزلة
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,815 followers
November 19, 2015
This was not the book for me. I know a lot of people give it praise and it is considered a classic, but I never got into it.

It rambled . . . it was repetitive . . . I got bored.

What was supposed to be a story about love seemed to be more about twisted obsession and I never found it endearing. None of the characters were all that great and I pretty much found myself feeling sorry for everyone.

I was thankful when I was done.
Profile Image for Guille.
755 reviews1,537 followers
May 21, 2020
Una de las más grandes historias de amor jamás contada.

Una de las mejor contadas historias de amor jamás vivida.
Profile Image for Mohammed-Makram.
1,395 reviews3,086 followers
October 12, 2022

كانت تبدو له جميلة جدا. فاتنة جدا. و مختلفة جدا عن الناس العاديين. بحيث لا يدرك كيف لا يختل الأخرون مثله بصناجات كعبيها على بلاط الشارع. و لا تضطرب قلوبهم بهواء تنهدات كشكشها. و لا يصاب العالم كله بالجنون حبا بحركة ضفيرتها و طيران يديها. و لجين ضحكتها.
و أنت في حضرة الماركيز لا تتوقف عن الانبهار في كل لحظة. انه لا يحكي بقدر ما يبث لك من أحداث بل يجعلك تراها رأي العين. ليس ذلك فحسب و لكنه أيضا يطلعك على ما في النفوس و يجلي خفايا القلوب بسرد بسيط و مسترسل لا تكلف فيه و لا عناء و كأنه أنفاس حسناء مستغرقة في النوم.
جميعهم كانوا متأكدين من أنهم رأوه مرات عديدة بل و دخلوا معه في صفقة ما. لكن أيا منهم لم يستطع تحديد ملامحه في ذاكرته. عندئذ انكشفت لفرمينا داثا الأسباب الكامنة في اللاوعي و التي منعتها من حبه. و قالت: يبدو و كأنه ليس شخصا و انما طيفا. طيف شخص لم يره أحد من قبل.

هوّ ثابت
هيّا مشيت
هوّ طبّق بالساعات
هيّا سابت
هوّ تبّت
هيّا عاشت
هو مات
الزواج هو أن شخصين لا يكادان يعرفان بعضهما و لا تربطهما أية صلة قربى. مختلفي الطبائع و الثقافة. بل و مختلفي الجنس أيضا. وجدا نفسيهما ملزمين فجأة بالعيش معا. و النوم في السرير نفسه. و المشاركة في مصيرين ربما كانا مقررين في اتجاهين مختلفين. انه ينتهي كل ليلة بعد ممارسة الحب و لابد من العودة إلى بنائه كل صباح قبل تناول الفطور.

ما كانت قادرة على تصريف إحساس عميق بالغضب من الزوج الذي تركها وحيدة وسط بحر الظلمات. كان كل شيء من أشيائه يدفعها للبكاء. البيجاما التي تحت الوسادة. و الخف الذي كان يبدو لها دوما و كأنه خف مريض. و ذكرى صورته المطبوعة في عمق المرآه و هو يخلع ملابسه فيما هي تسرح شعرها للنوم. و رائحة بشرته التي ستبقى عالقة في بشرتها لوقت طويل بعد موته. كانت تتوقف عن أي عمل تقوم به و تضرب جبهتها بكفها لأنها تذكرت فجأة شيئا نسيت أن تخبره به و ترد في ذهنها في كل لحظة الأسئلة اليومية الكثيرة التي لا يستطيع الإجابة عنها أحد سواه. لقد قال لها في أحد الأيام شيئا لم تستطع تصوره: ان المبتورين يحسون آلاما و خدرا و دغدغة في أرجلهم التي لم ما عادوا يمتلكونها. و هذا ما شعرت به هي من دونه .. كانت تشعر بوجوده حيث لم يعد له من وجود.

اصطدم برسالة مبللة بالماء المتجمع وراء الباب و تعرف من المغلف في الحال على الخط المتسلط الذي لم تستطع تبديله كل تقلبات الحياة. بل انه أحس برائحة العطر الليلي لأزهار الياسمين الذابلة. لأن قلبه حدثه بكل شيء منذ الرهبة الأولى. انها الرسالة التي انتظرها دون لحظة راحة واحدة خلال أكثر من نصف قرن.
ولما تتلاقى الوشوش مرتين
ما بيتلاقوش يوم اللقا التاني
عمر الوشوش ما بتبقى بعد السنين
نفس الوشوش دي بتبقى شيء تاني

بتبدّل الأيام ملامحنا
ترعشنا, تنعشنا تشوّشنا
يا ترى اللي بيعيش الزمن إحنا
والا الزمن هوة اللي بيعيشنا
كلاهما كان مرتعدا. لا يعرف ما الذي يفعلانه بعيدا عن شبابهما. على شرفة بلاطها كرقعة الشطرنج في بيت ليس ملكهما و لا يزال يعبق برائحة الميت. انهما يجلسان معا للمرة الأولى لا تفصل بينهما سوى هذه المسافة الضيقة و لديهما فائض من الوقت ليريا بعضهما بهدوء بعد نصف قرن من الإنتظار.

Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,291 followers
March 30, 2023
De cînd cu opinile medicilor, neurologilor și psihologilor de orientare analitică, toată lumea crede că iubirea durează (cel mult) 3 (trei) ani. Cînd durează 4, e vorba de o psihoză și pacientul trebuie internat într-un azil.

Și totuși Florentino Ariza (un individ cam ridicol și cam rigid, dar simpatic) o iubește (și o așteaptă) pe numita Fermina Daza vreme de „cincizeci şi unu de ani, nouă luni, patru zile, șase ore, douăzeci și șapte de minute și 32 de secunde”.

Într-o recenzie din 1988, Thomas Pynchon afirmă că acțiunea romanului se petrece cam din 1880 pînă în 1930. Deci, Florentino se îndrăgostește în preajma anului 1880 (mai precis, cu cîțiva ani înainte) și nu se oprește din iubit nici în 1930, cînd Fermina rămîne văduvă, infirmînd astfel, prin sentimentul lui peren, toate previziunile medicilor. El are 76 de ani, ea 72, exact vîrsta potrivită pentru o aventură sălbatică, decisivă. Iubirea lui e un fenomen incredibil (o monomanie), cum numai în poveștile cu zîne și în romanele lui Márquez e cu putință:
[Florentino] „Nu încetase nici măcar o singură clipă să se gîndească la ea, de cînd Fermina Daza îl respinsese fără drept de apel, după o iubire lungă şi zbuciumată... N-a fost nevoie să ţină socoteala uitării, trăgînd zilnic cîte o linie pe zidurile vreunei carcere, pentru că nu trecea nici măcar o zi fără ca ceva să nu-i amintească de ea”.

Romanul e interesant din cu totul astă pricină. Trebuie citit lent, fiecare propoziție ascunde o surpriză și e bine să te bucuri de ea. Criticii de la Kirkus Review tocmai asta i-au reproșat prozatorului: că și-a construit frazele cu mai multă atenție decît capitolele. Romanul ar fi precar tocmai sub aspectul construcției. Nu mi s-a părut. Construcția e după modelul clasic, firul narativ se rupe destul de rar. În fond, e vorba de niște biografii nu neapărat spectaculoase, dar suficient de interesante ca să-ți continui lectura. Stilul, în schimb, e meseriaș. Prozatorul e stăpîn pe arta lui. Nu am întîlnit fraze de umplutură, cei de la Kirkus Review au exagerat.

Dar am întîlnit, în traducerea românească, firește, sintagme și enunțuri care ar merita studiate de orice tînăr debutant interesat de secretele artei scrisului: „rîsul libertin al papagalului”, „ochi livizi”, „răbdare minerală”, „piele străvezie, ca de parafină”, „țipătul sordid al păsărilor”, „o femeie cu pleoape portugheze, care o fac și mai distantă”, „mireasma sibilinică a gardeniilor” etc.

Dacă vrei să cîștigi premiul Nobel și să ai parte de o binemeritată glorie postumă, e bine să parcurgi foarte lent acest roman.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
566 reviews3,927 followers
January 27, 2021
Hacía tiempo que no leía un libro con tanta calma, disfrutando de cada página, deteniéndome con cada pequeña historia y personaje.
Ambientado en el Caribe a finales del siglo XIX, vamos a seguir durante más de 60 años la vida de Fermina Daza y Florentino Ariza, de sus conocidos, amigos, familiares y por supuesto, de sus amores contrariados.
Es la historia de una obsesión, la historia de un tiempo extraño y mágico y del amor en todas sus formas.
He amado mucho a Fermina Daza (MARAVILLOSA) y he sentido horror con Florentino Ariza (una y otra vez), y de todas maneras creo que ambos son grandísimos personajes, complejos, reales, e hijos de su tiempo.
Y es que esta es una historia de personajes, no hay más. Y García Marquez te lleva por donde quiere y como quiere, te muestra la vida de infinidad de personas y a través de ellos te habla de la época, las costumbres, la guerra, la enfermedad, la muerte... pero también de cómo el amor sobrevivía en cada rincón.
Un libro que aunque al principio me costó un poquito, he terminado disfrutando enormemente, siento que ya echo de menos a estos personajes...
***Probablemente se haya convertido ya en uno de mis libros preferidos de García Márquez (aunque me cuesta elegir).
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
653 reviews7,015 followers
October 16, 2014

This review is now also available at The Bombay Literary Magazine (TBLM): The Infinite Capacity for Illusion

The words I am about to express:

They now have their own crowned goddess.


Whither The Magic?

One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favorite novels. Which is why, when I started reading Love in the Time of Cholera, one of the things I noticed immediately was the lack of the subtle brand of magic that I had so enjoyed. I missed it and was on the lookout for it. I wanted it badly and went around every corner with the expectation of a cheerful reunion. But it was not to be.

As Pynchon says: the “reality” of love and the possibility of its ultimate extinction become Love’s “indispensable driving forces,” whereas magic in all its guises and forms becomes peripheralized or “at least more thoughtfully deployed in the service of an expanded vision, matured, darker than before but no less clement”. 

Why this marginalization of the extraordinary? Why this deliberate move towards realism? Why no Magic?

I kept asking myself this as I read, and beyond. Was I to understand that it is because Love in itself is Magic? That was too cheesy, even for Márquez who never shies from telling me a cheesy sub-story if it needs to be told.

Or is it because Love in the Time of Cholera is to seen as the product of a more experienced author, who no longer needs the resources of magic realism and hyperbole to surprise the reader?

One thing was sure, Love in the Time of Cholera is not only about Love, even when it pervades every page. Indeed, it covers, through its characters’ wide amorous and business interests, an entire era and all the social classes, spanning over fifty years of Latin American life, from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the first two or three of the twentieth.

Love in the Time of Cholera, while on a much smaller scale than One Hundred Years of Solitude, deals with the Colombian civil wars of this period and the violence left in its wake. Márquez however wants these historical and political concerns to be passed largely unnoticed by the reader. While One Hundred Years of Solitude disguises the political themes through the uses of myth, fantasy, hyperbole, and magic realism, Love in the Time of Cholera disguises them through its depiction of an eternal, sometimes exasperating, almost unrealistic love affair, one which flouts the conventions of every love story the reader might have come across.

Love in the Time of Cholera is often quite bleak due to this veering towards stark Realism, to this occasional historical invasion of the narrative. Much of this realism arises from Death and Decay - the central themes of the novel. However, Márquez does not completely give up on Idealism either. In fact he is neither an Idealistic or a Realistic author - he is just a supremely eloquent voice speaking from the vantage-point of his own old age and wisdom.

To me, Love in the Time of Cholera is a magnificently gloomy novel though Márquez’s masterful sorcery masks it well, with his verbal cascades of descriptions and his narrative’s seductiveness.

Márquez’s novels are almost invariably gloomy. They are apocalyptic. They are decadence distilled.

Then why the popularity? Why do we love them? Why are we uplifted? Is it because of Márquez’s enthusiastic exuberance? 

I think it is because of the Quixotic Heroism of the people who populate these doomed worlds.

It is this heroism that veils the Apocalyptic forebodings that pack so densely like storm clouds throughout the firmament his novels.

After all, Consider how during the entire time he waits to talk to Fermina again (fifty-one years, nine months, and four days) Florentine Ariza is dauntless and never ever gives up even the slightest sliver of hope. Nothing could shake this man:

“And how long do you think we can keep up this goddamn coming and going?” he asked.

Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights.

“Forever,” he said.

The Heart of Darkness: Death & Decay

There is so much I would like to say about this amazing novel. There are so many themes that could be explored. But in this review I will try to focus on the Beginning and the Ending of this intricately structured novel, and try to tease out the the thread that explains the absence of Magic.

The whole novel is too broad a canvas to be explored in a review. For this, I limit myself to the broad themes of Death, Decay & Redemption, and allow the political, ecological, societal and personal aspects of these themes to play themselves out below the current, so to speak.

The Institutions of Love: Inventing Love

He was aware that he did not love her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength, and also because of some vanity on his part, but as she kissed him for the first time he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love. They did not speak of it that first night, when they spoke of everything until dawn, nor would they ever speak of it. But in the long run, neither of them had made a mistake.

The theme of Juvenal’s love story is about the incompatibility of love and social convention, the conflict between desire and social life. It is quite easily the crucial conundrum the novel wants to solve - the 'other' to the novel's essence. Security, order, happiness - can these when added together in the right proportions provide an equation for Love? 

For the sort of Love that can stop the decay that seems to have beset the entire world? Apparently not. It is not enough.

Through Juvenal’s invented Love, Márquez is not simply criticizing the institution of marriage, instead he is criticizing the very illusion that allows this - the illusion that the world and the worldly goods and pleasures can produce Love.

Instead Márquez wants to show that it is Love that can create (or recreate) the world.

Ultimately Love is love of Love itself, not merely the desire for its actual attainment or even the act of its fulfillment. Passion is its own object.

Pitted against such an impossible ideal, all convention or institutionalization obstructs love’s ultimate goal, which is to forestall death and decay.

The ultimate goal of Love is to save the world, to create it anew.

Gerontophobia & Ecocide: Destroying Love

So why is this world so much in need of saving?

The cosmic decline in Love seems to be the cause for alarm, the cause for the pervasive decay that invades the world of the novel:

Everything in this novel, from the environment, to the city, to the rebels, to the civil wars, to the people, to the pets are ancient - as if they were part of this earth from the very beginning, but everybody is in the throes of love. And everything ancient is also decaying, sliding slowly towards the final end of death - so is the sadness and the conventional love represented by Juvenal.

But it is not just about the human lives. Márquez writes as much about places as about people. This one is also about the death of a river, of a town, of a society… or murder, rather. Of Nature’s Old Age inflicted prematurely by youthful humanity.

This is the ecological sub-theme of the novel - It is the river, finally, the Great Magdalena (in Spanish, the “river of life”) that highlights this for us. The abundant nature that surrounds the town is caught in a process of irreversible decay. Alligators, manatees, monkeys, and birds disappear from the jungle; toward the end, the riverboats have difficulty finding enough wood for their boilers. While the political urgency of this topic is clear, cosmic decline in Love in the Time of Cholera has a different meaning and is linked to the theme of the interruption of love discussed before.

Paralleling the old age of his characters with the decay envisioned by this ecological wasteland (of their own making), Márquez is pointing out to us the true nature of Decay - of Humans and their self inflicted sufferings bringing the decay of old age upon themselves and upon the whole of nature.

This is the central tenet of the novel - Love in the Time of Decay.

However, there is more. And Márquez is not afraid to set this counter theme out in the very opening scene itself:

The Sweet Smell of Bitter Almonds

Counter to the dark theme of decay that is to be developed for most of the rest of the plot, early in the novel, an act of brave revolt against this inevitability establishes the counter-current against the steady march of decay.

Jérémiah de Saint-Amour (soon forgotten and never again mentioned) takes this revolutionary step (again drawing our attention the continuous revolution in which the political life of the novel is set) by choosing to die before decay sets in. This act initiates the long debate that runs throughout the novel about Love and its objective - are we to preserve Love at the expense of Life or to preserve Life through Love? By raising this question so early, by calculating his suicide long beforehand, by choosing to end the world than to let it go to rot, to see it rot, Saint-Amour stays alive through the rest of the novel, haunting it.

Being a witness to the decay of love was the most unbearable to Saint-Amour, the Saint of Love?

What we see dramatized at the end of the book, however, is the possibility of genuine passion and romance in old age. There is a clear contrast between Saint-Amour’s suicide and the protracted love life of Florentino Ariza, but it is a contrast that conceals a profound affinity. Saint-Amour kills himself to preserve his body from decay, to fix its image, as it were, through death.

Love and decay, then, constitute the double focus of this novel, the former being present in countless ways throughout.

Love in The Time of Cholera: The Post-Apocalyptic Paradise

… his mother was terrified because his condition did not resemble the turmoil of love so much as the devastation of cholera.

Every page of this novel is rammed full of love, beyond the capacity of any reader to fully comprehend. Love is in the air like Malaria; and in the water, like Cholera - its infections are inescapable!

All aspects of love are covered in exquisite detail - from teenage love to old age; from sexual to rapine to platonic; from formal courtship to marital to unconsummated; to unrequited love to the excesses of suicide and adultery; from the mundane normalcy of love to the incestuous abnormalities.

The reader has to consider carefully in the midst of this overwhelming abundance and variety the treatment that Márquez gives to love in this novel. Love in the novel is not the purely romantic love -carefree, easy flowing, spontaneous, and idealized.

Instead, the novel’s great affirmation of romance, is in the face not just of a hostile or prosaic world, but of the darker side of romance itself.

It is Operatic, Quixotic & Dionysian Love that is celebrated. It is Love as the Second Coming!

Sailing The River of Love: The Voyage of Re-Birth

Youth, Love, Old Age & Death - The Four Unknowns. This should have been the order of Life.

However, in this world of Márquez, the only ages that can hope to be able love/live seem to the Young and the Old. In between lies the desert - the only time we are allowed to live - when not capable of love. It is a paradox on which the very survival of this fictional universe seems to depend on.

Love and Life cannot coexist then - The solution is to give up the life they know for Love. To take the ultimate leap of faith.

So hoist a yellow flag on the Ship of your Life (Second Fidelity) and sail on the Great Magdalena (in Spanish, the “river of life”) in a State of Emergency! Let Love in the Time of Cholera be the entirety of the River of Life. Love should now destroy that earlier Life instead, just as Cholera can squeeze it out. And then be reborn, afresh.

The novel ends with the central characters challenging their entire social world and the very conditions of their existence by their grand romantic gesture, by their final, and what seems like eternal, trip on the Magdalena river. This is the necessary reaction to the decay that is fast on the route to complete extinction, to death.

Love and Cholera will both go extinct otherwise, rooted out by Life.

Love is shown as the redeeming force that saves both humanity, nature, culture and history. It appears as a divine force that defies everything. As if in biblical terms, the novel seems to assert that it is not yet too late to stop the end of humanity and to reach out for grace and happiness.

Most importantly, never allow the Yellow Flag to be questioned. Sustain the ardor. Maintain the symptoms of Cholera/Love. The pestilence is to be maintained at all costs! Only then will the world let you sail on.

Of course, the novel ends with the reader wondering if Fermina and Florentino will ever be able to come ashore and exercise their second chance.

We are left to question this act for ourselves: How do we save the world? By Escape into an Unrealistic Fantasy? Or is love more real? The answer, at least inside Márquez’s world is quite clear.

This final triumph is exquisitely multi-layered. Fermina and Florentino will remain isolated from the real contagion of their earlier Life by allowing their Love to be disguised as Cholera.

They are not rejecting the world, they are allowing the world to reject them instead.

The quarantine is really against love, the sickness that society will not, can not tolerate, the sickness that society fear as much as a deadly epidemic, the sickness that the society fears will wipe it out.

Instead it is that very sickness, which is recognized by conventional society as its biggest scourge, that saves the characters from extinction, along with the manatees, the alligators, and the monkeys.

It is Love that saves all in the end - at least we are left to imagine that possibility. Now, in this Post-Apocalyptic Paradise, age is of no consequence; Life has been transmuted and preserved by Love, like Saint-Amour’s Love by death.

Life has been reborn in the Second Coming of Love!

Love, in short, will always be in the time of cholera, under the Yellow Flag’s protection.


So, now we can come back to the question we started with - of the Absence of Magic.

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the apocalypse came in spite of Magic, in Love in the Time of Cholera, redemption comes despite its absence!

Unlike the death that starts off One Hundred Years of Solitude, here that death, the suicide, is ultimately sublimated into love - and decay is arrested in its unreality!

In fact reality has instead been reinvented in their own terms, where previous reality was rejected outright.

The capacity for illusion is magic enough to save the world, and our souls. This Infinite Capacity for Illusion can bring on the required apocalypse and we can live as if the Kingdom of Heaven/Cholera was already here on earth, under that banner of protection!

Only then can the Magic return.
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
849 reviews5,811 followers
May 20, 2022
The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.

For fifty-one years, nine months and four days, Florentino Ariza pines for Fermina Daza in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, a sweeping epic of love, plagues, and an awareness we are all marching towards death. Though known for his expertise in magical realism, here Marquez opts for a more direct approach in realism, chronicling the many years of unrequited love and allowing the magic of everyday reality to be its own fantastical journey through life. This is easily achieved by Marquez, a writer with prose of such intense beauty and a gift for commanding complex plots in an engaging manner. The book is dense, but in the way a diamond is dense, the prose compounding insights and observations through each perfectly written sentence (though it can be a bit of a slog at times). What results is that, in a book about both love and illness, we find love to appear as illness itself, with Florentino seeming to take pleasure in his own suffering. Marquez creates a very Humbert Humbert-esque character from him, with his reprehensible actions not condemned through the narration and allowing for a dynamic look at obsession in love as well as the impetus behind perseverance.

Something I enjoy with Marquez is how surprising his books can be. The novel begins with Dr. Juvenal Urbino, who we quickly learn dies, though much of the beginning of this book surrounds his relationship with his wife, Fermina. It’s the subversion of expectations of narrative that make this book quite fun, although it is lacking in the overt humor that we find in most of his works. Though with the Doctor we are thrust into a major theme of the book: the inevitability of death.
'At eighty-one years of age he had enough lucidity to realize that he was attached to this world by a few slender threads that could break painlessly with a simple change of position while he slept, and if he did all he could to keep those threads intact, it was because of his terror of not finding God in the darkness of death.'

We see the doctor finding his body and mind becoming strangers to one another and throughout the novel, one dealing with cholera, we are constantly aware everyone has an expiration date.

She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anything in the world, but only for his own sake.

This is key for Florentino, as he suffers in love for Fermina as he ages. The ending, which is beautiful, becomes both a revisit of young love as well as a reversal, with the act of lovemaking focusing on their aging bodies as they attempt to sail off into a reclamation of eternal youth. It is as if in his self-imposed suffering he finds himself most alive, and—such as when he is jailed for serenading Fermina—reveling in his impression of himself as a martyr. Marquez excels at symbolism and imagery, with flowers being the most profound of them in this novel, and there is no better metaphor for Florentino’s self-martyring behavior than when he devours the flowers that remind him of Fermina only to become violently ill.

There is no greater glory than to die for love,’ thinks Florentino, but what is love to him. He posits love making as the ultimate act of love, yet despite a lifetime of constant sex with other women, still tells Fermina he is a virgin. On the surface, this is a lie he tells her to impress her, but to him this is his truth: the acts of sex meant nothing because only sex with her would count as love. This novel often seems to be read as one of great love, but I found it to be just the opposite, showing how vulgar much of our socially accepted impressions of love to be. His obsession is less endearing and more an act of control: he wants her for himself and when she was taken from him in their youth he feels he must reclaim the control he had. Even Fermina tells Florentino that they are strangers to one another. Much of Florentino’s love for Fermina is less love of her and love of his idea of her.

Over time, each character seems to reveal themselves as corrupt. Florentino is a charming character to read about, but he is quite despicable. There is certainly a Lolita-like element to this book in that way. He is a womanizer (Marquez makes some sweeping generalizations about women and their “ways” here that are…not great) and even leads some of them to their death. With one, he writes that she belongs to him on her body, which causes the woman’s husband to slit her throat. But most despicable is the grooming of América Vicuña, a 14 year old girl he forces into a marriage with when he is 70. The metaphor is certainly there, the idea of his ravaging and destruction of her (aptly named America) fitting into the theme of cholera, a disease coming from Europe, ravaging the Americas as well as all the other elements of European colonialism over the Americas that embed themselves into the book, but maybe the rape and grooming of a 14 year old girl doesn’t need to be the way we blithely go about this in books? It’s a “yes I get it” but also can still be problematic. It is revealing of Florentino, however, as he is more relieved that he is not implicated in her death than he is grieving for her loss.

However, Marquez is masterful with complex characters and this book is quite the adventure in character development. While it is easy as a bystander to condemn Florentino for many of his actions and question if he truly loves Fermina, there is a lot of internal conflict going on that unveils his motives. Early on he is sexually assaulted by a woman and he is unable to determine which woman it was. There is a bit of a sense to the "hurt people hurt other people" idea, which doesn't condone him but does give an idea into how his behavior is a reaction to that coupled with the loss of Fermina.

I find Fermina to be the more interesting characters here as well. Her life is tragic and often dictated by the whims of men (such as her father, who forces her to break off contact with Florentino) but is also regarded much like an object by them. However, and possibly as a reaction to it, she can be very headstrong. She refuses to forgive her husband until he submits to her wishes, and is against the feeling of guilt, something likely due to how impressionable she was as a child and not wanting to feel vulnerable.

I find it amusing, too, that what she enjoys in Florentino at the end is the ways in which he reminds her of her former husband and that ‘the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability,’ enjoying the consistent moments instead of the sweeping joy that Florentino seems focused on. She is the realist whereas Florentino seems the idealist, who, in his grand quest for great love and martyring himself for its cause, commits despicable acts and glosses over them. In fact, much of her realization in adulthood had been that Florentino's charm had been an idealization of him and his promises. The love of the idea of him, which, as we see, goes both ways. It isn't until late in life they can remove all of this and be at peace with their feelings for each other. For Florentino, it was fulfillment for his years of struggles and the climax to his 622 relations, for Fermina it is companionship in the waning years of life.

Overall, this is a fine book with a lot of great writing and wonderful character development, but it never quite hit me the way his other works have. But wow can Marquez write. I suppose much of it is that tales of obsessive love strike me as more problematic than they would have when I was younger, though I did enjoy the way Marquez makes this almost a subversive reading of that. Yet he also dives into their characters to make this much more than simply a story about love but about why we feel, act, and most importantly, react, to the life around us. This was certainly an interesting book to read as we are also living in the times of Covid, a joke made in reference to this book so often that my book club finally decided to read it. An intense and interesting character study, Marquez once again shows why he is a household name of literature.


‘They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.’
Profile Image for Siobhan.
37 reviews19 followers
June 26, 2007
I learned that I will never be a great writer, because sometimes, there are people like Marquez, who manage to write such an amazing piece of art without making it ponderous, pretentious, or difficult.

It's not really about the plot, is it? A guy is in love with a girl, and waits for her for 50-odd years, while conducting his own affairs.

Here's the thing, though. The way the story is told is segue-free, almost conversational, but with such sumptuous detail and description, that it can only be explained as an absolute justification specifically for the written word. No other format for this story would be good enough.

It made me crave to read it in the original Spanish, though. There were paragraphs that I knew did not carry the same weight in English (and this translation is really beautiful) that it would have in Spanish.

Amazing book. Really. Please read it.
Profile Image for Rhona.
179 reviews2 followers
March 1, 2008
I did not enjoy this at all. This is a book about a weak man excessively obsessed with a married woman for over 50 years. He pines his time away with 622 sexual encounters that he records and we have to read through. The book is SLOW! He is sickly obsessed. He's a pervert, possibly a pedophile. He finally is reunited with his true love when she is in her 80's and then he describes their bodies and love life. Don't recommend this to anyone! This is not what true love is...it is a book about obsession and weakness. Wasted my time when there are so many wonderful books out there to read!
Profile Image for William2.
745 reviews2,959 followers
November 19, 2016
One of the few writers I have read who can show sex convincingly on the page, so that it reinforces character and extends action, and doesn't become a narrative sinkhole in which entropy prevails.

Depressingly great. One of those books one knows one could never write yet still one wishes -- pointlessly -- that one could do so.

Laden with vivid detail. It moves almost flawlessly, from sequence to sequence with nary a foot put wrong in terms of diction or tone.

Relentless storytelling, like diamonds pouring endlessly from a sack. Enormous reading pleasure. A bit too lacrhymose toward the end for my taste, but this is a quibble. On the whole a shattering novel despite it conventional structure.

Warmly recommended.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
January 15, 2022
“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Image result for love cholera

Because I'd heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera was so different from One Hundred Years of Solitude (one of my favorite novels), it took me a while to actually read it. Love in the Time of Cholera is very different from .One Hundred Years, but it is a wonderful character-driven story that spans the entire life and loves of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. They had been passionately in love in their youth, but Fermina eventually rejects Florentino for a wealthy doctor. Florentino's life is spent in expectation of one day reuniting with his love (amid a reported 622 affairs)! Fantastic ending! 4.25 stars.

“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”
Profile Image for Liz.
4 reviews6 followers
January 8, 2008
I feel suspicious about the fact that I didn't fall for this book the way Florentino Ariza fell for Fermina Daza. I am compelled to blame my lack of appreciation on poor reader comprehension rather than GGM'S writing, because only one of us won the nobel prize and I'm pretty sure it wasn't me. However, I'm no idiot either, so I'll at least take the liberty to explain my grievances:

1. As a synesthete, I found Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza's names to be WAY too similar. They look the same; I kept getting them mixed up! I think it was unecessary to pick the two most F, vowel, R, N and Z laden names ever for use in this one story.

2. The narrator kept making very definitive, bold claims that 3 pages later turned out to be completely untrue. For example (not real quotes) "This particular bed-fellow was the closest thing to love that Florentino Ariza ever experienced apart from Fermina Daza." Turn the page, now talking about a brand new lover, "Now, as it turns out, THIS particular bed-fellow was actually the closest things to love that FA experienced apart from FD." Next chapter, another new lover "Okay, SERIOUSLY, this is the one this time"... etc. Similar broken promises were made about various other topics. Perhaps this was done on purpose to demonstrate the fickle nature of life or love or something like that, but for me all it did was make me yell at the pages, scolding the narrator for being a big liar.

3. Florentino Ariza = mid 70's, Young Girl placed in his "care"= 14. It's just not okay. (P.s. She later kills herself because he ruined her life and stole her innocence, and his only reaction to it is that he has a bout of indigestion while lying in bed with the woman he left her for...what a swell guy). P.s. he also kinda kills another woman...the one on whose stomach he writes with red paint and her husband murders her when he sees it.

4. The whole premise of the book is the waiting...FA is waiting to finally be with FD. And when the wait is over, I don't feel like there's any reward. Nothing between them is all that magical...yeah they have fun on the boat, sure the fun is a little subdued because of their age, etc...but ultimately I don't understand what the point of all that waiting was for when he seems to have just about as much a connection with FD as he had with any of the other 621 ladies over the years. I dunno...as I stated in point #2, the ABSOLUTENESS of this book is what really holds it back for me. He says he absolutely loves FD, better than the rest, into eternity...he says this, but the reality is actually quite different. The ending is the same kind of thing...is that boat really going to sail up and down the river FOREVER? No. It's not. So why cheapen it with the gross exaggeration...just say "until we die" or "until somebody makes us stop"... it doesn't sound as cool but it means more.

In summation, it wasn't a horrible book but there were a few things that made it less than perfect. The writing really redeemed it, however, and made the experience pleasurable overall. An example of this is the detail GGM throws in about Urbino drinking chamomile tea, any then rejecting it, saying that it tastes like windows. Everyone is perplexed, thinking he must be crazy. Then they taste it themselves: Yup. Windows.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Steven Medina.
189 reviews843 followers
April 14, 2021
Un libro sobre amor, vejez y tradiciones.

En realidad 4,6

En Colombia, Gabriel García Márquez es sinónimo de genialidad, y no solo por ganar un Premio Nobel, sino porque gracias a figuras públicas como Gabo, el mundo ha dejado poco a poco de catalogar exclusivamente a nuestro país como un sitio de narcotraficantes, prostitución, delincuencia y guerrilla. No hay que engañar a nadie, todos estos problemas siguen ocurriendo, pero Colombia no es solo eso: Colombia también es talento, genialidad, recursividad, pragmatismo, alegría, etc. Es por ello, que no suelo leer libros o ver películas que revelan la «realidad del país» porque en mi opinión esos contenidos no sirven sino para recalcar la imagen negativa que el mundo tiene de nosotros; contenidos, que nos siguen presentando como drogadictos, delincuentes, sicarios, y a las mujeres como prostitutas: No todos somos así, no hay que generalizar. Por lo tanto, como colombiano, me siento muy orgulloso de aquellos compatriotas —como artistas, deportistas y cantantes— que triunfan en el exterior y muestran la verdadera esencia de la que estamos hechos los colombianos. Es un privilegio que Gabo represente a Colombia, y es un honor poder disfrutar de sus historias. Para ayudar a entender la importancia que Gabo tiene en Colombia, mencionaré que incluso su imagen aparece en el billete de cincuenta mil pesos, billete que es el segundo con más valor en nuestro país.

Recuerdo que mi primer acercamiento a Gabo fue a los nueve años cuando cursaba quinto de primaria. En aquel 2002, donde Google aún no era tan conocido, tener una computadora era una excentricidad, por lo que llegar a clase de tecnología significaba ser feliz por dos horas porque por lo menos podía tocar y usar este dispositivo tan novedoso y atractivo. Y como estaba aprendiendo a usar el teclado y el mouse, los talleres consistían exclusivamente en transcribir en Wordpad cuentos, fragmentos o noticias de periódicos. ¡Qué feliz me sentía! Fue allí, en alguna de esas ocasiones, que conocí por medio de una columna de un periódico a un tal Gabriel García Márquez. Años más adelante leería dos de sus obras: Crónica de una muerte anunciada y La hojarasca. Aquellas obras me gustaron mucho y me hicieron comprender —desde ese entonces— que la originalidad de Gabo para escribir era impresionante.

El amor en los tiempos del cólera es un libro que me ha hecho reflexionar seriamente sobre muchos temas. Me ha hecho pensar en la vejez y los dolores que sentiré años más adelante en mi cuerpo; en la contaminación que la tecnología y las nuevas profesiones pueden causar al medio ambiente; en lo especial que era para aquellas personas tomarse una foto; en los beneficios que tenemos actualmente el poder informarnos sobre la sexualidad; en las diferentes reglas que manejaban los colegios en ese entonces; en el honor; en la apariencia; etc. Esa época era tan diferente a nuestra vida actual, que leer este libro es un deleite para aquellas personas que les encanta la ficción histórica. Es un libro que inmerge en las costumbres, pensamientos y sentimientos reprimidos que vivieron nuestros antepasados del siglo XIX e inicios del siglo XX. Y lo que hace especial este libro no son los temas que trata, es la forma como Gabo escribe sobre ellos. Por ejemplo, diariamente recibimos decenas de correos, mensajes de Whatsapp, Facebook, etc., y al principio sentimos satisfacción, pero al volverse frecuente encontrar mensajes por doquier, entonces llega un punto en que el exceso de información nos hace catalogar aquellas notificaciones como «una más», o simplemente como spam. En cambio, en aquella época, una carta significaba mucho. Leer los pensamientos o sentimientos de otra persona causaba una verdadera intriga, adrenalina y ansiedad, para el destinatario que estaba a punto de abrir el sobre. Era tan privado, tan bonito y especial, que sin importar la edad que se tuviera, en ese momento las personas se comportaban como adolescentes. Escondían la carta, sentían miedo e incluso pánico por lo que pudieran encontrar, y leían varias veces el contenido buscando descubrir frases e ideas nuevas, que en su frenética primera lectura no lograron observar. En aquella época en que se ocultaban tanto los sentimientos, una carta era la medicina para calmar la necesidad de expresar los verdaderos pensamientos de las personas.

Cuando recién finalicé el libro, mi primera impresión fue pensar que este libro no trataba sobre el amor sino sobre la vejez, pero ahora que he organizado mis ideas, debo expresar que este libro es una genialidad y es completamente recomendado para cualquier persona que quiera aprender sobre el amor; ya que Gabo, usando a sus dos personajes principales (Fermina Daza y Florentino Ariza), nos muestra las diferentes fases del amor que podemos vivir como seres humanos. Con este libro podremos recordar nuestro primer enamoramiento, cálido e inocente, que todos hemos vivido en nuestra infancia o inicio de la adolescencia; comprenderemos el por qué el miedo a la soledad conlleva a que las personas tengan decenas de relaciones sexuales con diferentes personas; observaremos cómo una boda convenida se convertía en un reto de convivencia, fortaleza y resignación para los involucrados, hasta que finalmente resultaban encontrando una razón para «amar» a su pareja; y obviamente, descubriremos que el amor en la vejez no es significado de pasión, sino de compañía. Sinceramente es un recorrido increíble el que nos ofrece el autor.

Leer la parte inicial fue muy difícil y necesité mucha concentración. Esto, porque el autor cambiaba inesperadamente de tema en cualquier momento y fue imposible predecir lo que venía a continuación. Aunque, incluso aquellas páginas, estaban atiborradas de informaciones interesantes sobre los años posteriores de la Independencia de Colombia. Sobre la prosa realmente no tengo queja alguna, el autor juega con las palabras ilimitadamente, parece que imprimiera sobre cada una de ellas magia, y tiene un vocabulario exquisito que cautiva a cualquier lector. Personalmente estoy acostumbrado a realizar pausas solo cuando finalizo un capítulo, pero aquí no es recomendable ni necesario. Cada capítulo tiene casi cien páginas —de hecho, el libro solo tiene seis capítulos— pero podemos pausar en cualquier párrafo sin tener inconvenientes para retomar la lectura más adelante.

En cuanto a los personajes estuvieron muy bien desarrollados, fue sencillo identificarlos y posiblemente estuvieron basados en personas reales que vivieron en aquellos tiempos. Son personajes que aunque crecieron con otras costumbres y son muy diferentes a nosotros en todos los sentidos, en el fondo buscan lo mismo que cualquier persona de cualquier época: Encontrar su destino e intentar sobrevivir. Eso sí, a pesar del gran trabajo del autor, no logré simpatizar con ningún personaje; esto, aunque su inocencia en la etapa de la adolescencia nos exhibe una bonita historia de amor. Mi desagrado hacia ellos fue porque se convirtieron en personajes muy tóxicos, vacíos y urgidos de compañía cuando crecieron. Claramente las personas cambian, pero cuando eres feliz con ciertas personas y notas en ellas luz, afecto y amor, pero luego de un tiempo sientes que han desaparecido esas características, entonces empiezas a percibir un rechazo natural hacia ellos porque sabes que estás ante un desconocido, y no ante el ser por el cual sentiste en el pasado cariño. Aclaro, no me simpatizaron los personajes, pero están muy bien desarrollados.

Otra contradicción que sentí con esta lectura, es que creí que el argumento sería distinto. Por el nombre de la nóvela, imaginaba una historia de amor dramática y dolorosa entre dos enfermos de cólera que sufrían por su condición y sabían que morirían, pero a pesar de su estado intentaban ser felices por todos los medios: Lo sé, esperaba una historia quizás apasionada y muy cursi. Sin embargo, después de finalizar me alegra que el libro no haya tratado sobre lo que suponía, y por cierto, este título, es el mejor que pudo tener esta novela porque el cólera no hace referencia al estado de los protagonistas, hace referencia a la época en donde históricamente se sitúa esta aventura. Hasta el título fue muy bien pensado.

¿Por qué no le doy las cinco estrellas? Muy sencillo, por culpa del final. En pocas palabras, no me gustó. Respeto la decisión de Gabo, pero no estoy de acuerdo con el desenlace que nos presentó.

En resumen, un libro denso pero fácil de leer, que me ha gustado muchísimo por la prosa del autor y por la diversidad de temas en que Gabo me ha hecho pensar y reflexionar. Es una obra que permanecerá en mi memoria y que recodaré muy seguramente cada vez que —espero— viva una historia de amor. Libro muy recomendado.
Profile Image for Ahmed Kamal.
283 reviews1,045 followers
February 18, 2021
نفس عميق بقى ويلا نبدأ.
عندما اختار الأصدقاء الحُب في زمن الكوليرا لتكون القراءة الجماعية للعاشر من الشهر، لم أستوعب الأمر
ثم مررت بمراحل الفقد الخمسة، فقد شغ�� القراءة، أو فقد الثقة في الحياة اصلا
في البداية أنكرت
ثم غضبت واتشالت واتهبدت
ثم ساومت ولفيت ودورت
ثم تألمت فتعلمت فبكيت
ثم أذعنت وقبلت
القصة كلها تقريبا موجودة على غلاف ظهر الرواية، واحد بيحب واحدة اتجوزت غيره، فصاحبنا العاشق ككل صحابه المغفلين اللي فاكرين ومش ناسين وعلى العهد محافظين، بيفضل يحبها للأبد، الفاجر فاكر نفسه رفعت إسماعيل، ولكن على عكس أبو الرفاع، بطلنا كل يوم بيحب واحدة إلى أن يصل العدد لـ622، وكل ده علشان ينسى واحدة، وبعد 51سنة وتسعة أشعر وأربعة أيام، وعشان «ما الحُب إلا للحبيب الأولِ» بيروح لفيرمينيا اللي زوجها لسة واقع على دماغه وسايب الدنيا وماحدش عارفله طريق جُرة ويقولها: مش هنعيد العُمر من الأول بقى ولا إيه يا قمر؟ ده أنا قلبي إليك ميال ومافيش غيرك ع البال. وكلام ما يدخلش ذمة مراهق بجنيه وربع، وبس كده، هي دي القصة، الباقي كله سرد.
وعلى ما يبدو ماركيز بيكتب بمبدأ:
بينما لسان حالي يقول:IMG-20210218-212342
ودي كانت اللحظة اللي اكتشفت فيها آخر حاجة ممكن أتصورها، إذ فجأة أدركت إنه
وبدأت الرواية تسيطر عليا ودار حوار وهمي بيني وبين ماركيز
IMG-20210218-213627 بمعجزة ما لم أدركها بعد، أنهيت الرواية و
أما بالنسبة لكوني لسة مبهدل الراجل فده طيش شباب عادي.
ودول شوية ميمز لمن قرأ الرواية، مافيهاش حرق عشان ماركيز غير قابل للحرق أصلا، الأمر ومافيه أن من قرأ سيفهم أكثر.
ومن موقعي هذا أحب أقول للكراش: لو بتحبي العُمق والرومانسية فأنا قرأت الحُب في زمن الكوليرا ولم أعتبر ماركيز مملا، ولو بتحبي التفاهة فالريڤيو زي ما انتي شايفة كده كله ميمز، ولو بتحبي الاتنين فـأظن واضح جدا إني
i can do both.
Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,631 followers
March 21, 2023
“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

Love is not patient, love is not kind. It’s envious, it’s boastful, it’s proud. It’s most definitely self-seeking. This book takes the illusion of pure love and turns it upside down. It’s absolutely brilliant. I basked in the beauty of individual sentences and marveled at the epic scope. Don’t expect a romantic, traditional love story or a loveable character to fall for, because you won’t find those things here. What you will find is a sometimes humorous yet painfully truthful story about obsession, marriage, aging, sex, and death. I have to admit that the honesty of Márquez’s brutal points occasionally made me laugh out loud. All of this is set in the sultry heat of a Caribbean coastal city at the turn of the nineteenth century during ‘the time of cholera’.

“At nightfall, at the oppressive moment of transition, a storm of carnivorous mosquitoes rose out of the swamps, and a tender breath of human shit, warm and sad, stirred the certainty of death in the depths of one’s soul.”

Stories about obsession and rather unsavory characters always fascinate me, but I’m aware these elements don’t appeal to every reader. Here we have a young man, Florentino Ariza, who believes he has fallen in love with the adolescent Fermina Daza. When he can’t have her, he spends the next several decades with the intent to grab what he failed to obtain during his youth. Fermina, in the meantime, has married a renowned physician, Dr. Juvenal Urbino. We spend the next three hundred odd pages immersed in the lives of these three (plus some secondary characters) with occasional time shifts that are mastered flawlessly. The idea of “love” is scrutinized without a single reservation on the part of Márquez – both that of the married as well as the unwed. Fermina and Dr. Urbino have their ups and downs; while Florentino has his mad affairs to fill the time before hazarding another attempt at his previously failed conquest.

“The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”

“Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them.”

Nothing about this novel is sentimental; rather, it’s a bit tongue in cheek, in my opinion. There are no answers to the question of true love to be found in its pages. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll nod your head a lot, shake it from time to time, and smirk every now and then. You’ll absolutely admire the prose. You’ll hungrily go looking for the next Gabriel García Márquez book.

“… nothing in this world was more difficult than love.”
27 reviews
September 5, 2008
This book contains the most single lines in one work that I wish to lift from their pages and paste around my house so that I may bask in their glory on a daily basis.

Reading other reviews of this text always puzzles me. No, I don't need everyone to love what I love to the extent that I love it, but it just seems that those who detest it have really suffered a failure at literacy. With the risk of further offense, I will state that I believe the culprit is that cute little "Oprah's Book Club." This is not a work on which you stick a celebrity (if that's what she is) seal of approval and then throw in a gym bag or beach bag and sneak some pages in here and there because some famous lady told you that you should. It's serious literature.

And yet hilarious. Marquez shines as a comic genius of irony (the significance of cholera to this book is, itself, genius storytelling) and critical examiner of human relationships. An exploration on love-- love in all forms-- is conducted as thoroughly as if it were a science project. Perhaps this is where Marquez loses the aforementioned displeased readers, who wish to bottle love in a neat definition or notion that closely reflects the love they are experiencing in their own lives. The world is much broader than our silly little individual plights, my friends, and the experience of love changes if you are to ask an old woman, young man, or adolescent girl to define it. Marquez captures each of their stories, and more, and never asks that his reader compare these to their own experience of love, he simply describes them and includes them in Love's definition.

I find the courtship between Fermina and Florentino dazzling and spot-on. Yes, it is obsessive and incredibly fickle, but that is MY experience of adolescent love! I find new love between octogenarians inspiring and heartwarming, because after an entire lifetime, what two other individuals better know themselves and, thus, are able to give themselves entirely to each other? I also wasn't offended (as many are) by Florentino's relationship with the under-age America. Again, Marquez is being exploratory, and he gives no love or relationship safe haven from his literary microscope. He doesn't purport to create "perfect" and "ideal" characters, and how many of us can truly say we "like" our own mates ALL of the time anyway? This isn't "The Notebook," and some of the depicted relationships might come across as unsavory and vile to some of our self-righteous American eyes, but isn't such narrow-mindedness a bad mate for *real* literature anyway?

"Love in the Time of Cholera" is fine literature. Superbly written, beautiful and rich, I see this as nothing short of a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,857 reviews511 followers
January 22, 2023
"Love in the Time of Cholera" is one of those novels whose beauty fits the title.
At the time of its publication in 1985, readers' enthusiasm was in keeping with the prestige of its author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who award the Nobel Prize for Literature three years earlier.
The story is set in Colombia from 1870 to 1930, in a port of average importance, Barranquilla, flowing into the Caribbean Sea at the Magdalena River's mouth.
Three riverboats, each with two wheels propelled by a wood-fired boiler, ascend the Magdalena several hundred kilometers. A natural decoration of postcards if there were no endless civil war and frequent cholera epidemics in the region.
The writer built his novel by adopting an inverted chronology.
The first part describes the last day of a local personality of eighty-one, Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Their strength in medical studies in Paris illustrated his comeback to the country through a fierce fight against cholera.
The last hours are overflowing with activities depicted on a sustained rhythm alternating the comic of situations and fate; despite a start and a similarly disastrous end, this long introduction often borders on hilarity and constitutes a promising entry.
Fermina, the wife of Dr. Urbino for fifty years, will become the central character of a grand love affair with antiquated romanticism at the death of her husband.
The paternal authority prevented Fermina from fully living their love of youth with a young telegraphist of his age, Florentino Ariza. Yet, despite everything, a three-year inflamed epistolary relationship created a special bond between these two beings.
Fifty-one years, nine months, and four days have passed since Fermina has disregarded, yet the heart of Florentino never stopped fighting for this gracious woman doe eyes.
Paradoxically this melancholy man during this half-century collected no less than six hundred and twenty to two love affairs, women enjoying home very discreetly.
In their seventies, will Fermina and Florentino find the love that once fled them in the late days?
This novel, probably Gabriel Garcia Marquez's most popular and accessible book, is an excellent entry to Latin American literature, whose richness can initially disorient young readers.
A small cruise on the Magdalena in the company of the great Colombian writer would allow you to taste a few more days of summer scenery!
Profile Image for Seemita.
180 reviews1,583 followers
February 10, 2017
When glistening drops of dew swivelled across the leaves,
When hazy films of sun lifted their candid veils;
When morning spring walked the aisle of the autumn road,
I saw a face whose reflection, since years, I have behold.

In envious vanity, she swayed her hair,
In rapturous youth, she erred everywhere;
But stoic her nod was to my pure passion
Which sent me blazing waves of heartburn.

Running behind her, became my moral;
Worshipping her being, was a religion;
In those auburn eyes, my heart would lie still
And yet it would flutter, like about to begin.

A feeling so full, like a maniac I would cling,
It reduced to nothingness, every other thing;
Exquisitely wrapped, as beautiful as one can be
Convinced I was, she was born for me.

Alas! Confession lost breath in a wave of condescension;
But my knees found strength even in that repudiation;
For I never lost my heart as per a plan,
For I never sang a song as a sound man.

Delusional, I wandered into many seductive doors;
Recluse, I made love, with artifice galore.
She glided in the sea of my eyes, like a white swan
Even though she fell into another man’s arm.

Awareness of her otherness came to my ears
Like a winter breeze, cold enough to bear.
So I let it freeze, a corner of my world
And see it melt again in my ardent words;
The words that I blew like clouds in the light,
The words that I hid in the blanket at night,
The words which stood at the threshold of age,
The words that could soon be a magical adage.

In another world, she continued to sew;
Stitching pieces which kept falling due;
She held her resolve, all through though,
Loyalty was her brightest bow.

Seasons dropped, and soared again
Leaving behind many a spring and rain;
Each saying goodbye never without
Her fragrant memory kissing my mouth.

One fine day, I sampled my hands, and pulled the skin off my face;
They succumbed to my pull; the mirror flagged the twilight of my race.
Hastily I knocked at my heart, placing a trembling hand in thrill;
A lovely cooing filled my senses; the bird of love was singing still.

I stepped on that trail again, there was no time to lose;
The ache within was poised to be smeared in love, profuse.
She had, at last, taken the path that had led her to me;
She had, at last, taken the baton to set her heart free.

The ship which carried her, stood wavering near the dock;
As if even that inanimate was drunk under her lock.
Time had robbed her of some shine and gifted her some fatigue too;
In the folds of her sagging skin but, I finally found I was who.

The twinkle from her eyes aimed for my heart;
And joined it with hers while tearing it apart.
Most of the sailors and the marine men stood chuckling at the sight
Of the passionate embrace of two old people, holding on so tight.
But only few eyes could detect a current so resplendent
That bound the two vagabonds into a promise, to be kept.
Profile Image for Kimber Silver.
Author 1 book221 followers
March 13, 2023
"The words I am about to express:
They now have their own crowned goddess."

–Leandro Diaz

Love in the Time of Cholera is not a book that can be taken like a shot of tequila—slammed down then sit back and feel the burn. No, no, this book is like a fine aged wine. I swirled it around the glass and drank in the beauty of his prose. The delicious writing slipped through my brain and settled into my core until I was on fire. I had to commit, to give Gabriel García Márquez my undivided attention.

Love in the Time of Cholera is about passion. Not just desire in love, but many different kinds of craving. The kind of intensity that consumes the soul in a way that will never let go. Many stories are going on at once in this tale. They all swirl around love and loss, be it a person, money, or a life not fully lived. Márquez spoke of the unfathomable pain that can make people go completely mad when their yearnings are not fulfilled. On the other side of the coin, that kind of hunger can drive a person to succeed beyond anything they had ever imagined.

The novel takes place between 1880 and 1930 in an unnamed port city in the Caribbean. A Cholera outbreak devastates the town. Can the new doctor, Juvenal Urbino, who follows in his father’s footsteps, make the changes needed to keep another at bay? We are also introduced to Fermina Daza, and Florentino Ariza who suffer from young love, as well as so many other brilliant characters as the lives in this city unfold in all their magnificent splendor.

Márquez uses foreshadowing exquisitely to draw the line of where you might be going but is that truly the destination? If you don’t keep reading, you’ll never know.

I can’t bring myself to give away spoilers. The story is too beautiful, too heartbreaking, too everything, not to read. Márquez will seduce you if you allow him, but you must give yourself over to the Latino heat of the sweltering Caribbean. You won’t be sorry.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,373 reviews2,245 followers
January 20, 2019
Ditching his trademark magic realism for something more along the lines of psychological realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 1985 novel is by far and away the best book I have read by him.
With gorgeous, lucent writing, full of brilliant majestic whirls, splendour and humour, and a final few lines that finish off the novel almost perfectly, the Colombian simply excels as a writer, and doesn't drive the reader around the bend with a bucket load of long-winded names like those featured in 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'.

Set mostly in an unnamed coastal Caribbean city, and spanning half a century sometime between 1880 and 1930, the novel is simply about love. A love told through all its ages. Garcia Marquez is said to have fashioned his romantic love triangle on the courtship of his parents, though these years correspond more to the lives of his grandparents. Love in the Time of Cholera shows a decidedly modern sensibility, an urban rather than a rural society, and shows it with less mysticism and more social detail than was deployed in the earlier works, that simply adds up to a novel that is easier to relate to. Gone are the ghosts, the voodoo, and the strange happenings, replaced by an arrow crammed full of love, aimed with pinpoint precision at the heart.

One thing is for sure, Garcia Marquez simply loves his characters, but writes about them with a full understanding of their limitations. In his propensity to write passionately, and even beautifully, about the inner life of a character he ultimately dislikes, his insistence on never sentimentalising his protagonists in such a way as to exceed their place in the world, he is a Marxist, but also a catholic in his conception of what is universal and inherent in character, and in his belief in the human soul. These two convictions fight it out through the narrative, and like everything else in Garcia Marquez, they fight strongly, giving the characters' public and interior lives a deeply-textured, rigid, and precise brilliance.

He writes with much passion about the daily bonds and tensile strength of a marriage. And throughout his novel the question of - ‘but is it love?’ hovers and floats over the meaning of a husband and his wife. The three central characters of Florentino Ariza, Fermina Daza, and Dr Juvenal Urbino are all certainly memorable ones, and Garcia Marquez spends as long as it takes to get across his main theme, writing for nearly a hundred pages about extravagant, innocent, high-pitched, poetic, romantic love, as Florentino Ariza falls head over heels for Fermina Daza one day.
Fermina, the lonely, forlorn girl does becomes a woman of the world. She turns into the bourgeois great lady her father wanted her to be, but its Dr. Juvenal Urbino who takes her hand, whilst Florentino Ariza simply waits, with great patience, spanning year on year on year, for her husband to die, and reclaim the one and only true love of his life.

Out of sheer agony, Florentino becomes a womaniser, saving his all his pure love for Fermina.
He manages to find distraction in an endless series of sordid affairs, great and small, with widows, with a woman who sucks a pacifier, and even with a child that is in his custody. Garcia Marquez and his communal voice judge the single-minded pursuit of love harshly, and his judgement extends to a literature which handles the subject superbly well, without the need to get all soppy. Themes of poverty and of riches run strongly, and he tells us a great deal about the internalised longings born of class inequality, and throws in sub plots, both traditional and idiosyncratic, from the most predictable to the sublime, but they only really flutter around the central characters, giving them the greater importance.

The pace of the narrative works beautifully, and only ever gathered speed as Fermina's father takes her on a long journey to try and make her forget Florentino. During her absence Florentino takes to diving on sunken galleons as a way to take his mine off her. It is Florentino’s fate to wait for love, and to make the most out of waiting.

The real magic of the novel for me lies in the fact that Garcia Marquez sets up a predictable plot, gets a little fun out of it, before twisting it around, and letting it fall away softly. It is not so much a story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back (in this case the girl is now a much older woman) as Garcia Marquez is always stubbornly committed to the voice of the community: individual happiness is not considered an absolute good. So although, in the end, Florentino may seem victorious in old age, his life of devotion was not lived without cost.
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