Gabriel García Márquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
November 20, 2018
“… and taught him the only thing he had to learn about love: that nobody teaches life anything.”
El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera) is a novel written by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. It was published for the first time in 1985 in Spanish and three years later in English. The book takes place in Colombia (although the author does not specify where exactly) approximately between 1880 and 1930, and it tells the story of the secret love between Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza.
I am not the kind of reader that is always looking for a romantic book to read. In fact, I try to avoid romantic topics. But since I had always heard about this book and its movie, I decided to give it a try and wasn’t disappointed at all. García Márquez has the power to make you feel what the characters feel, smell what the houses and the streets of this town smell like, be impatient, laugh, cry and even reflect about life itself:
“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.”
The language used in this book can have two faces: the first one shows an easy language to follow the story line; and the second one can be a little bit tiring due to the description of every detail: how the houses are decorated, the smell of the streets, why the characters decided to have certain table in a certain place, and so on. But at the same time, this type of descriptive language can help the reader to have a closer relationship between the characters and their environment. Especially when it comes to describe what Florentino and Fermina think of and feel for each other:
“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.”
Something interesting about this book is that the author does not give you all the information about the characters at once. As you go deeper in the story, García Márquez can play with the time: tell something about the past, go ahead in the future and come back to the present. A characteristic that, in my opinion, gives the book some texture.
Nowadays, the loyalty that Florentino has for Fermina’s love can seem unreal and maybe utopic. But perhaps the way the author writes the novel and present it to the reader, may make you believe that we all deserve to be loved with deep passion, that at the end of the road waiting is worth it, and that we can love several times but that love has and will always belong to that special one. To sum up, this story is entertaining, passionate, pure. Nothing else to add, except that in live there are people that were born just with the purpose to love each other.
Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Titel: El amor en los tiempos del cólera
Publisher: Oveja Negra
Name: Angela Castro
City you’re from: Bogota, Colombia
City you live in now: Hamburg, Germany
Who are you? I made a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages. Currently I work as teacher in a bilingual kindergarten with kids between the ages of 1-3.
Why do you like to read? I like to read because reading opens your vision of the world. It’s an easy and entertaining way of learning and exploring different aspects in life: emotions, feelings, reason, family, friends, politics, etc.
How do you prefer to read? I prefer to read books in the language they were written: Spanish or English. I love reading in bed or in my couch in the evening with a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine.
What would you like to recommend regarding reading and books? Take your time enjoying a book. It’s for pleasure, not a speed contest. Try not to watch a movie based on a book you liked very much. It may take the charm away.