Book Review: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Magical Realism

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is, without a doubt, the most ingenious and insightful storyteller of the current conventional times. His stories are like a breath of freshly blossomed lillies on a midnight summer breeze. Love in the Time of Cholera is a masterful piece of a love story that is unconstrained from any evils that reality could ever foster.

“All that was needed was shrewd questioning, to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were as the same as those of cholera.”

Florentino Ariza confesses to Fermina Daza about his vow for everlasting love for her; after fifty-one years, nine months and four days of being in love with her; on her first night as a widow after the death of her husband Dr. Juvenal Urbino; when both of them are dawning in their early seventies. A childhood love story that never found an end, is born anew in the twilight of their lives.

Love in the Time of Cholera is full of strong, distinguished characters which highlights Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s exceptional skills when it comes to character building. He paints the sunny Caribbean cities with stories of irrevocable love that surpasses the outbreaks of civil wars, cholera and infidelity. One of the most important aspect of this book is how the author makes the reader chase the eccentricity to which love can travel, the revolutionary modes taken out of unrequited love and the unorthodox ways in which love can be endlessly kept alive. 

Lastly, Love in the Time of Cholera is an intelligently put book of lovers, poets and dreamers who pray, to a God of their own, for a love that flames their lives into a phoenix of happy endings.  

A handful of my favourite quotes:

  1. The scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
  2. Each man is master of his own death, and all that we can do when the time comes is to help him die without fear of pain.
  3. Life had shown her that perhaps it was exemplary.
  4. …she had helped him to endure the suffering as lovingly as she had helped him to discover happiness.
  5. Only a person without principles could be so complaisant toward grief.
  6. But if they had learned anything together, it was that wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.
  7. …it was as if he had dared to look death in the face for the first time, and it had looked back at him.
  8. The man who has no memory makes one out of paper.
  9. In reality they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself alive in every line.
  10. It was difficult to imagine the number of things that men left after love.
  11. On night she came back from her daily walk stunned by the revelation that one could be happy not only without love, but despite it.
  12. I turn over to you the keys to your life.
  13. Little by little the fragrance of Fermina Daza became less frequent and less intense, and at last it remained only in white gardenias.
  14. … her 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.
  15. The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.
  16. It is as if he were not a person but only a shadow.
  17. She always felt as if her life had been lent to her by her husband.
  18. My heart has more room than a whorehouse.
  19. Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability.
  20. Humanity, like armies in the field, advances at the speed of the slowest.
  21. Old people, with other old people, are not so old.
  22. He was beginning to defer his problems in the hope that death would resolve them.
  23. Love is ridiculous at our age, but at theirs it’s revolting.
  24. He was overwhelmed by the belated suspicion that it is life, more than death, that has no limits.
  25. Too much love is as bad for this as no love at all.

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