Let the 2015 book reviews commence!
I picked up Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez when Nathan and I were at my parents’ over the holidays. I had also picked it up once in college and a few times in high school prior to that trip, but I never could get through the book and would soon enough put it back down on the shelf.
This time around, pure stubbornness (and vague curiosity) propelled me back between its covers once again. I was captured with the determination that so often bewitches us at the turn of a new year – and is gone by February of course – to get through the novel even if it took all spring. (Luckily that was not the case – too many other good books await me! And I think my resolve would’ve waned, just as it does for many others, by the beginning of next month.)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a prolific writer who died just last April, leaving behind a legacy of novellas, novels, short stories and even film. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 and is remembered most prominently for his story One Hundred Years of Solitude. However, it was his book Love in the Time of Cholera that found its way into my parents’ house by way of my sister, like so many others do, and so that is the one I read to start the new year.
The novel is a love story from beginning to end, but Marquez also weaves the themes of solitude, aging and death strongly throughout the book. It begins with a young love between teenagers Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza. Fermina eventually marries a wealthy doctor instead, and the rest of the story involves Florentino’s undying commitment to her despite her unavailability. Now you see where my curiosity was piqued to get to end – I had to see if his patience paid off!
Marquez is a master at character development, and his voice did not waver throughout the course of the novel. Despite the extensive aging that takes place for the characters in the bookl, not a single one ever lost their authenticity and the reader was still able to recognize their 16-year-old selves within their 76-year-old selves by the end of the story. Marquez also crafted beautiful narrative about somewhat taboo themes; to have a novel that so baldly discuss death and aging (which in society I think we shy away from doing) was a refreshing – although somber – change.
Ultimately, I can see why the novel and its author are so highly acclaimed. However, I definitely only got through it because I was tired of not having been able to before now. It was a little slow for me, but it did give me plenty to think about. His characters are so perfectly human, and by that I mean: completely imperfect. It was really cool to see that notion so beautifully portrayed with the patient, masterful narrative that Marquez achieved in this novel.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Stats: 368 pages
Recommended for: Anyone in the mood for a love story that is unlike many of the hurried, fickle popular ones today and yet similar in that we are all imperfect, and therefore our love will be imperfect too. It’s interesting to read the issues that that imperfection brings about over the years for the characters in the book!
Up Next: I have several that I’m interested in reading somewhat soon, but I’m going to take a few days to decide which one my brain is in the mood for after this one. I know, the suspense is killing you… 🙂 Stay tuned!