Marquez’s Love In The Time of Cholera.
Really, does one need to even say his first two names?
He is Marquez!
We all know who he is.
But truly, this is a book that one wishes, upon setting it down, that it had more pages. And not because it is inconclusive, [even though it is, in many ways inconclusive] but moreso, you want more pages because you want the two characters at the end to sort of fall through the rabbit hole, be reborn or something… see life over again. Have another try at the novel’s final word, “Forever.”
It is set in some nameless Caribbean seaport city, human topography being more important to Marquez, in this novel, than geography.
Takes place between 1830 and 1930.
This is how I am going to do this… this is how I am going to begin to speak of an impossible to summarize, sprawling epic.
I will speak of the three main characters:
As a young telegraph officer, delivering a message to the Daza household, he observes the precociously beautiful Fermina Daza. He obsessively [to put it mildly] falls in love with her, at first sight.
Complications arise [← no pun intended]… Fermina’s father forbids any sort of relationship, and so the two [Fermina is, for the time being, equally enamored] communicate by way of clandestine letters.
Fermina is banished to a foreign land, and in this meantime, Florentino develops into an increasingly [physically] unappealing young man.
Partially described above.
But this is because she can only be partially described, by anyone. She is the "crowned goddess."
She is everything as beautiful as poor Florentino is forced to only imagine!
A Caribbean Juliet, about to meet her Romeo.
Ahhh.... but it shall not be Florentino, after all!
When she returns from her banishment, she still feels that she loves her young suitor.
That is, until she meets him one day in a crowded street, and, upon seeing him, she instantly feels that it was “all an illusion.” She is no longer in love.
Florentino is understandably devastated. [Romeo to the core! Would gladly stab himself if he could find a sharp enough dagger...]
And things are about to get worse for him, because soon, due to a sickness, Fermina meets….
Dr. Juvenal Urbino:
Dr. Juvenal is easy on the eyes! He is everything Florentino is not. Striking, handsome, debonair, and RICH! He too, falls for Fermina’s charms, and she, for his. They marry. Florentino, now wishing himself dead, imposes a self-banishment upon his own life, in an attempt to forget his love for Fermina. Distance from her [as is all distance from true love] is futile. So, he opts for displacement! Since he cannot have her, perhaps he should sleep with half of the entire female world, instead.
He attempts to do just this…. sustaining 622 illicit affairs, until…. until… an aged Dr. Juvenal tries to rescue his errant parrot from a tree…. and…
I SAY NO MORE.
It is too good of a story for me to say anything else about it.
If you have not yet read Love In The Time Of Cholera, I urge you to do so.
Get a copy!
The only other Marquez I have read is One Hundred Years of Solitude.
I declare this book [Cholera] as being much better!
He is Marquez!
Oh, and one more thing.
As I said of the movie version of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, I say the same for Marquez’s Cholera…. The movie is FABULOUS!
Really, amazingly, close to the book.
A wonderfully accomplished movie.
Read the book.
Watch the movie.
[In that order]!
And that’s an order.
He is Marquez!