- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (General UK); 1 edition (1 September 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780141037455
- ISBN-13: 978-0141037455
- ASIN: 0141037458
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.4 x 17.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 281 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Love in the Time of Cholera: Popular Penguins Paperback – 1 Sep 2008
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About the Author
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born on 6 March 1927 in Aractaca, Colombia, and died on 17 April 2014 in Mexico City, aged 87.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 for a body of work that includes novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories.
His most famous works include Leaf Storm (1955), In Evil Hour (1962), One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), The Autumn of the Patriarch(1975), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), The General in His Labyrinth (1989), News of a Kidnapping (1996), Living to Tell the Tale (2002) and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004).
'Marquez writes in this lyrical, magical language that no-one else can do.' Salman Rushdie
'Marquez is a retailer of wonders.' Sunday Times
'An exquisite writer, wise, compassionate and extremely funny.' Sunday Telegraph
'An imaginative writer of genius.' Guardian
'The stories are rich and startling, confident and eloquent. They are magical.' John Updike
'One of this century's most evocative writers.' Anne Tyler<
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Top international reviews
Maybe I'll rediscover the book's appeal, though hopefully before another thirty years pass! Meanwhile I can't bear to give such a great writer fewer than four stars.
The bizarre thing about this book was that I came away with the sensation that, in its almost 400 pages, nothing had happened, when in reality the book tells the story of two people’s entire lifetimes.
Despite its title, I don’t consider this to be a book about love. What Florentino feels for Fermina is not love but infatuation. Without ever having spoken to her, he decides that he loves her and must marry her. That she seems to respond to his stalkerish behaviour remains an unexplained mystery to me and so her decision to rebuff him came as no surprise. His decades-long obsession with her never really seems realistic, which places in doubt the ending of the novel and renders it unsatisfactory.
The writing is drawn out and takes a long time to get somewhere. Don't expect to be captivated and drawn into a compelling novel. While it focuses on a fictional character and a chance to observe a character from a perspective that we may not readily encounter, it is still very difficult to empathise and develop an interest, even if it's a negative one.
It is considered a love story but is more focused on infatuation, obsession and an inability to move on in life. The difficulty in accepting it as a love story is that it verges on creepy and uncomfortable.
I could not finish this book but managed to get halfway, enough I feel to give this review.
So why did it take me so long to get through the book in its entirety? I think one reason is that I found it so easy to take a break from the narrative; Marquez began his literary career more as the writer of short stories, and in many respects this novel is like a collection of such tales rather than a standalone piece. I was reminded of 'Winesburg, Ohio' on several occasions; we learn about every last romance enjoyed by Florentino Ariza and each takes the shape of a short story; after each, I paused as if to delight in the writing, but then with my attention distracted I put down the book and found something else to do.
However, the temptation to give the book up as lost was one I never entertained; I knew I would finish it, if only to see if Ariza ever found the true love he was seeking, and to see if Fermina Daza would become his beloved.
It is a beautifully written story that was recommended to me by my very own 'Florentino' and I so enjoyed reading it that I delayed finishing it as I didn't want it to end.
What I discovered was not so much a novel as a love letter; it is a love letter addressed to love itself. The story focusses on three individuals and charts their experiences of love over the course of a lifetime. Many varieties of love are explored: faithful, unfaithful, obsessive, innocent and (a warning for the more cautious reader) this involves some descriptions of sex and, towards the end of the book, an account of paedophilia. That said, it was never pornographic or particularly vulgar; it was carefuly done.
Marquez writes in a very vivid way, with visceral descriptions of his characters and settings. So even though there is very little 'action' in the book, there are passages of extreme floridity, where the reader is just immersed in his world, drawn in by the beautiful phraseology. I read this as an English translation although it was clearly translated by an American, which has resulted in the book being punctuated by spelling and grammatical errors and one or two sentences that simply make no sense whatsoever, but don't let that distract from overall quality of the book. Marquez's writing is just too good to be ruined by the translation.
I cannot really recommend it enough to you. It is not a particularly short book, but reading it never felt like a chore. It was a joy to go through from start to finish and it is a book I am sure I will read again in the future.
"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."