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More like painting a picture than telling a story
on January 25, 2015
I can see why Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for literature. The book has a very unique style. It is more like painting a picture with words than telling a story in the usual sense. In a painting you can move your focus, look around and see different parts quickly, then maybe study some details. Similarly, the scenes in the book are not in chronological order. In fact, the first scene is actually near the end temporally (so don't worry that the next paragraph of this review is giving anything away, you will find these things near the beginning of the book). The author gives a glimpse of various points in time, and then fills in details as the book progresses. And, it is more than just a picture of these characters' lives, it is a picture of a time and a place. At the end of the book, you will feel like you have lived there.
For most of the book, I thought it was a tragedy not a love story. I disagree with many reviewers, it was not a book about unrequited love, because Florentino Ariza was never in love. Even though Florentino Ariza was successful in a worldly sense, I felt sorry for him. He never loved Fermina Daza, they were never much more than acquaintances. He wasted his entire life being in love with the idea of being in love, but never understanding what love is. Love is not a disease, it is not infatuation, it is not lust, it is not an extreme form of like. For most of his life, his love was about himself, even when he was proud to be suffering for it. Only at the very end did he realize that love is about the one being loved, it is something you do; love is a verb, not a state of being. Also, only at the end of the book did I really understand the title of the book.