Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera

Book - 1988
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Florentino Ariza waits fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days to finally possess Fermina Daza, a woman who once promised her love but then jilted him in favor of another. The plot contains profanity, sexual situations, and violence.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1988
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780375400698
Call Number: F GARCIAMA
Characteristics: 348 p. ; 25 cm


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In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart ... Read More »

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Apr 02, 2021

My perspective on this book is going to be different from many others, but perhaps that is why there is value in sharing it. As someone who identifies as Asexual (and possibly Aromantic), I am certainly not the intended audience for this book. I cannot imagine being so consumed by desire for a person as to render myself physically ill. I cannot imagine loving one singular person so much as to wait to be with that person for over fifty years. But hey, credit where it is due, Love in the Time of Cholera was the closest anyone or anything has come or likely will come to put me in that headspace. Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has such a palpable love for love that it is infectious... even, if my experience is any indication, for people who normally don't experience such things.

I have often shared memes on social media involving absurd, overdramatic examples of romance and couples, jestingly under the caption "Are straight people okay?" Love in the time of Cholera might as well come with the subtitle "Are straight people okay?: The Novel."

The structure of this book is unusual, to say the least. The plot is one part bodice ripping romance novel, one part breezy history of modern Columbia, and three parts meandering slice of life story. And while the plot drags in places (okay, in every place) the prose is beautiful enough to usually keep you engaged. Gabriel Garcia Marquez (and to an unclear extent, translator Edith Grossman) can turn a phrase so beautifully that it almost doesn't matter if the actual story seems to be going nowhere. You just feel yourself wanted to go along for the ride.

Well... you want to go for the ride up to a point. Then you encounter the point of the novel where our primary protagonist, eternally pining lover-boy Florentino Ariza, grooms a teenage girl to be his lover despite being, at this point in the novel, well into his sixties. YIKES!!!

And lest you think that this is some brilliant twist, spending two-hundred pages just to lure our guards down before hitting us with the revelation that this guy is a monster, the book seems to treat this behavior as if it is... charming?

I guess that answers my own rhetorical question. The straight people are most definitely not alright!

Mar 25, 2021

Per Shakira

Nov 07, 2020

An almost perfect work - a bit soppy, and the character of Fermina is the second most foolish woman in literature (the first is the dolt Madame Bovary). Some of the love scenes have some florid language, eg., "...drowning in the slimy marsh that flowed from her womb." (p.178). There is very little dialogue. The book is written in six unnumbered chapters with no other breaks in the text, with the result that the story flows and unfolds effortlessly and steadily. Some of the phrases are pregnant with meaning, eg., "...the ethical management of forgetfulness" (p.186) - apt for the people of the information age: to respect proprieties.

Oct 07, 2020

the end was the best part of the book - I'm not a big lover of fiction - it was ok but Florentino Daza is a tiring character - I liked the setting in Colombia and the Magdalena River

Jun 28, 2020

The movie I chose to watch gross me out.
The book was an unopened gift that I flout.
From cholera to corona, years elapsed.
My expectation which the translation surpassed.

Death to begin,
Escape pain.
Live to love,
More is vain.

Magnificent landscape,
Nature and history, no escape.
From the splendid words, here found no hero.
Modest, humble is Flo.
Nurture, dream in poem.
He deemed to be a loyal lover.
He suffered a life of a womanizer.
His ultimate pursuit may be one Fermina.
His last pearl of paramours was young Vicuña.

Authentic depiction enriched vista,
Fantasied relations fabled saga.
No serious heartbreaking,
when dying
always trying.
Sentiment, not all agreeable to the author,
lascivious, tend to male temper.
But my pleasure,
throughout met with humor.

May 11, 2020

Love, death and identity. ⁣

How did Gabriel García Márquez manage to simultaneously grapple with all three within a single work? ⁣

The most central is evidently love, which is shown in such variations that its very definition is explored. Many of us would agree that a publicly harmonious marriage is not sufficient to be called love, but what about decades of companionship? Last words before one’s death?⁣

I have been describing the relationship between Dr.Juvenal Urbino and his wife, Fermina Daza, but Florentino Ariza’s love for the lady is even more ardent, albeit somewhat arbitrary and selfish. ⁣

Florentino Ariza “waits” for Fermina Daza for decades but has an incessant flow of affairs during this time. They include widows who open his eyes to sexual pleasure, wives and girls who die because of him, and even a coworker who is his mother, his nurse, and platonic love. Which of these can be called love? Or are all of them so to various degrees? ⁣

Love in the Time of Cholera is all about love, but love becomes visceral only with time and identity. Fermina Daza’s impression of her youth is bookmarked by her interactions with Florentino Ariza, just as his is with hers for the rest of his life. To her, their relationship is a distant and erased memory, but to him, it is his vigor and his protection from aging. Love is the soil for growth, the catalyst of maturity, and ultimately, the fuel for new adventures. ⁣

Gabriel García Márquez writes in both details and abstractions. With sensory information, especially the colors of houses and their furnitures, the smell of the sea, the heat and storms, he is incredibly detailed. Yet when it comes to mental and social interactions, he is always one step short of making them explicit, leaving the reader secure of the meaning but still longing for something more, the way we grasp at the trailing hemline of our lover’s shirt when they depart, feeling the fabric and willing our touch to accompany them just a little longer.

Some novels deliver a message, some focus on the characters, and some invite you into their world to simply leave you there.⁣
So after holding your breath for some moments and realizing that no one is going to hold your hand and guide you through the predetermined sequence of events, you begin to wander, sifting through the characters’ joys and tears and unlocking doors at your own will.⁣
The world around you is crisp; the minds are enshrouded. Their thoughts and motives are revealed, but so are their weakness, fickleness, and paradoxical desires. So you remain uncertain of your own path. Are you an onlooker, a part-time participant, or an undetected confidant? Are you meant to look, to remember, or merely to dip your toe into the water?⁣
But the confusion does not stop you from enjoying it all. You wade among the giant heart-shaped leaves and the scattered shades, only to step into a clearing and see the flaming sunset darken. You know it is an illusion but are captivated nevertheless. The toothed clouds smoothen and unclasp, leaving a deep indigo in its place; the heat, which has pursued you all afternoon, abruptly slackens into a breeze.⁣
Reading this book is like sailing on a river. Sometimes we anchor the ship for the night and sway with the day’s memories long into our dreams. Sometimes we ride the current, unable to predict our next stop. Sometimes we become stranded, a little scared but also mysteriously excited. Maybe this catastrophe would lead to our deaths; maybe it is only a minuscule misfortune in the grand scheme of life. But there is one thing we do know — we can sail on this way, forever.⁣
And so we gingerly trail our fingers through the waters, full of love and aging and the stench of cholera, as we sail towards the sunset and into the unknown.

For more book reviews, visit me on Instagram @ RandomStuffIRead!

May 05, 2019

Got monotonous

Apr 05, 2019

" Dr. Juvenal Urbino used to say that he experienced no emotion when he met the woman with whom he would live until the day of his death." "At last Dr. Juvenal Urbino asked the patient to sit up, and with exquisite care he opened her nightdress down to the waist; her pure high breasts with the childish nipples shone for an instant in the darkness of the bedroom, like a flash of gunpowder, before she hurried to cover them with crossed arms." "She responded, and he continued giving her very soft kisses on her cheeks, her nose, her eyelids, while he slipped his hand under the sheet and caressed her flat, straight pubic hair; the pubic hair of a Japanese. She did not move his hand away, but she kept hers on the alert in the event that he took one step further." " ....when he returned to the stateroom he found her waiting for him naked in the bed. Then it was she who took the initiative, and gave herself without fear, without regret, with the joy of an adventure on the high seas, and with no traces of bloody ceremony except for the rose of honor on the sheet." "Although she was as free as he was, and perhaps would not have been opposed to making their relationship public, from the very first Florentino Ariza considered it a clandestine adventure."

PMPL_AnaC Aug 26, 2016

LOVED LOVED LOVED it. It was the first time I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Loved his style, so rich in details, it seems so real. The story is so beautiful, powerful.

chereda Jul 20, 2015

I was surprised to see so many disappointed comments. I wish I could read it in Spanish, it must be even more blazing and eloquent, definitely worth learning Spanish for.
I loved how graphic he is; how he would foreshadow the man's death on the first page and leave you hanging on the edge of your seat till the last. How full of life his prose is, down to the healthy sounds of urination in the bathroom. No holds barred, unapologetic life rubbed in your face, take it or leave it. You know that every word came from personal experience, something he has wept and bled for, and that's how his characters live. I wish I could learn to live like that too.

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Add Age Suitability
Sep 19, 2015

clanath thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

GSPLNadia Mar 31, 2015

GSPLNadia thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jun 09, 2011

srstevenson thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 25, 2010

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Quote
Aug 26, 2016

"It was as if they had leapt over the arduous calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death."

SPL_STARR Jun 15, 2015

"It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."

Jun 25, 2010

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.


Add a Summary
Jun 25, 2010

In their youth, Florentina Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs - yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty-one years, nine months and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.


Add Notices
Jun 25, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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