Customer Review

149 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MANY ASPECTS OF LOVE, June 9, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Love in the Time of Cholera (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) (Paperback)
Love in the Time of Cholera takes place circa 1880-1930 in an unnamed Caribbean seaport city. The three main characters form a triangle of love, with the hypotneuse being the quintessential romantic, Florentino Ariza, a man whose life is dedicated to love in all its aspects.
As a young apprentice telegrapher, Florentino Ariza falls hopelessly in love with the haughty teenager, Fermina Daza. Although the two barely meet, they manage to carry on a passionate affair via letters and telegrams, until one day, Fermina Daza, realizing that Florentino Ariza is more "shadow than substance," rejects him and marries the wealthy dandy, Dr. Juvenal Urbino instead.
Florentino Ariza, who has sworn to love Fermina Daza forever, is, of course, stricken to the core, but Fermina's marriage is nothing he can't handle. As one century closes and another begins, Florentino Ariza rises through the ranks of the River Company of the Caribbean and sets off on a series of 622 erotic adventures, both "long term liaisons and countless fleeting adventures," all of which he chronicled and all the while nurturing a fervent belief that his ultimate destiny was with Fermina Daza.
Fifty-one years, nine months and four days after Fermina's wedding, on Pentecost Sunday, fate intervenes and Fermina becomes a free woman once again when Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies attempting to retrieve his wayward parrot from a mango tree. Seeing his chance at last, Florentino Ariza visits Fermina Daza after the funeral and declares, "I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love." Fermina's reaction is not quite what Florentino was hoping for. She orders him out of the house with the words, "And don't show your face again for the years of life that are left to you...I hope there are very few of them."
Fermina Daza, however, hasn't quite gotten Florentino Ariza out of her system and the story ends, symbolically, with a river journey into eternity.
It's hard to believe that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has written a book that is better than One Hundred Years of Solitude, but with Love in the Time of Cholera, he has done just that. Not quite magical realism, it is still magic of the highest order and it is pure Garcia Marquez. An exquisite writer, Garcia Marquez tells his tales with passion, control and unblinking humor with just the right amount of the fabulous woven in.
Unlike some of his slightly claustrophobic works, this novel has an almost epic quality and Garcia Marquez handles the shifts in time and character perfectly; from the opening lines you know you're in the hands of a master. The book is flawless: Not one word is out of place, not one sentence is awkward. Lesser authors might slip into the maudlin when writing an entire book on the many aspects of love, but Garcia Marquez never gives us less than crystalline insight into what it really means to live, to love and to live a life of love. The last chapter alone is a masterpiece no one who's loved, or loved and lost, will ever forget.
As the book closes, we sail down the river with Garcia Marquez at the helm, safe in the knowledge that he is a navigator of the highest order, one who can pilot the river of love unerringly. He certainly does just that in this shining, sometimes funny and always uplifting book of flawless perfection.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 29, 2011 3:55:22 AM PST
M. Marbus says:
Why did you have to quote the ending? A good review but a bit of a spoiler.

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 3:49:47 PM PST
The "Caribbean seaport city" is Cartagena de Indias
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