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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.
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on July 7, 2000
I was so suprised by this book. A love story that is realistic because of the lover's imperfection. Love is not a stagent idea in this book. One sees both the pragmatism of rejected love and devotion to the idea of love. The characters are unpredictable and complex. The main love triange in the story is suported by the richness of supporting characters. The supporting characters take on short main story line roles. This book is about all the aspects and degree of love. Devotion,regection, love, lust, fidelity and infidelity are all mixed. The characters struggle with their relationship, which are fluid and unpredictable as life is. The only love story that is as realistic and challenges the reader as much is the Elornor Gehrigs My Luke and I. This is some of the best fiction that exist!
Florinto is in love with Fermina, and is rejected by her after their initial infatutation. Florintio will not give up he is waiting for Fermina husband to die to recindle the romance. Florintino is a man with need who while being faithful in spirit has affair after affair with other women as he waits. Fermina has to deal with a series of marital strife and bliss as Floritino waits out her marriage. Marquez gets to examine a great deal of love relationships in this book. It is excitingand changing as love and life. This is my first Marquez book but it will not be my last. The text is rich in details and may drag a little at times but preserver it is worththe read.
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on January 11, 2008
I absolutely loved this book. The amount of detail and description that the author uses just make my mouth water-I was lost within this book. The author is very well read himself to write such a beautiful portrait of life.

This is not exactly a love story, but a portrayal of life. Fermina and Florentino meet and then have a brief flirtation (their letters).Her father forces them to part (he takes her away), but this only makes them more determined to be together. When Fermina's father lets her go out on her own, then she sees Florentino face to face and realizes that their "love" was merely an infatuation.

She marries someone else (a rich doctor). The marriage is 50 + years. At the end of the marriage, she finally realizes that she did love her husband. At her husband's funeral, Florentino re-avows his love for her.

She is now free to love Florentino. She does not need a rich husband or to climb the social ladder. She is now in her 70's, but they still have to hide from society to enjoy their love without society's interference.

I am the author of-Dreams in August: Life, Love, and Cerebellar Ataxia
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on March 15, 2017
This books ranks as one of the worst I've ever read. Being a good writer does not equate with being a good storyteller. It's a slow, laborious read. Clearly the author has a gift for the written word, it's the dysfunctional, disturbing, sordid, immoral story he chooses to tell that is unsettling. How any reader could enjoy this story, as summed up in other reviews, is beyond me.
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on March 12, 2007
I'm not going to be one of those reviewers who puts down the 1-star reviews because they don't have a proper "understanding" of the novel. That response is a bit snobbish. I'll agree with some of the negative reviews with regard to their comments on the style of writing: It IS rambling, and frankly, at first this is off-putting. Many times before I reached the halfway point, I became frustrated by Marquez's tangential writing. For instance, he'd mention a side character and then go on for a page and a half describing trivial aspects of this characters life before getting back into the story. Yes, that made for strong character development, but I definitely understand how it could annoy readers.

All that said, I'm glad I had patience and finished the book. In the end, I realized that I liked it in totality more than I liked its parts. It's like taking a trip where there's one mishap after another but realizing at the end that you had a really good time. That's what this novel was like for me.

I will say that it was quite depressing, though. I know others have mentioned that this is a "hopeful" novel, and in ONE way I agree. However, in so many ways, it tells the true story about old age, in all its unfortunately sad detail. SPOILER: I found it sad that Florentino spent his entire life focused Fermina. In the end, it seems as if he wasted his life on a dream. I realize that they get together at the end, but when they do so, they are not the same people as they were during their teenage courtship. Fermina is certainly not the same person, so Florentino was pining for someone who essentially didn't exist anymore. I think this is Marquez's statement about how illusory the memory is.

All in all, this is a good novel, and I would recommend it.
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on January 2, 2008
I have to hand it to the author for taking a unique perspective on love. Unfortunately, because I expected a "love story" I was disappointed that the book is more of a study of love and how various people deal with it. There is almost no dialogue in the book. Instead, the author chooses to focus on the internal world and feelings of the characters. While I don't mind the internal workings and psychology of love and how characters deal with it, I found it difficult to find those characters and their thoughts interesting enough to fill a book.

On the positive side, when the characters do interact, the interactions are captivating. The author is also quite elegant in his writing.

This is not my style of book, but if you are interested in a story of love versus a characters' love story you will surely enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera.
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on September 22, 2015
[Spoilers] I really can't decide whether to give this book three stars or four. So, instead I'll just say that the writing deserves five stars and the story deserves three. The writing is excellent. It was hard for me to appreciate the story as much. At moments it's funny and engaging and moving, but at times it's just kind of icky. I don't mean icky, in terms of sexual content, but icky in terms of the ethics of the characters. The story starts off great, but by the second half of the book I kind of just wanted Florentino to go to prison..... or die. If, after 54 years, Fermina had taken a long hard look at her choice to leave Florintino and then realized that she had made the right choice the first time around and Florentino had the good grace to kill himself (with cyanide), then I would have felt a lot better about the book. But the man is a rapist, and an egomaniac, and he gets the girl in the end, so ..... I finished the book feeling unsatisfied.
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on May 8, 2000
I was so suprised by this book. A love story that is realistic because of the lover's imperfection. Love is not a stagent idea in this book. One sees both the pragmatism of rejected love and devotion to the idea of love. The characters are unpredictable and complex. The main love triange in the story is suported by the richness of supporting characters. The supporting characters take on short main story line roles. This book is about all the aspects and degree of love. Devotion,regection, love, lust, fidelity and infidelity are all mixed. The characters struggle with their relationship, which are fluid and unpredictable as life is. The only love story that is as realistic and challenges the reader as much is the Elornor Gehrigs My Luke and I. This is some of the best fiction that exist!
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on February 14, 2011
This novel, written by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is a period piece, set in a Caribbean port city (widely cited as Cartagena) in the late 19th and early 20th century. At its heart, it is the story of a tragic love triangle, involving Spanish maiden Fermina Daza, her first ardent suitor Florentino Ariza and her subsequent husband of over 50 years, Dr. Juvenal Urbino.

The story begins with the twilight years of Fermina and Urbino and his accidental death. Ariza then makes his appearance, professing his undying and faithful love over the previous half century. We are then transported back to the childhood and subsequent courtships of the actors culminating in the marriage between Fermina and Juvenal and the heartbreak suffered by Florentino.

Of primary interest to me were both the cultural and societal backdrop painted by the author. Late 19th century Spanish customs and mores were far different than those of today, with the Catholic Church playing an overarching role. Class and status were rigid and conscientiously adhered to, to the detriment of young Florentino.

While the writing is certainly first rate and the imagery very effective, it is at times a little more florid than I generally prefer. There are long stretches of little or no action as the author expounds on the clothing worn by the actors, the weather, the landscape, the emotions and feelings of all involved. Not usually my cup of tea, but not beyond my capacity to appreciate, philistine that I am. That having been said, I found myself warming to the story, and perhaps becoming more comfortable with the style and substance relayed by the author. By its conclusion, I was very favorably disposed toward the novel.

I did have one minor quibble however, and it revolved around Florentino's prodigious sexual appetite and conquests. Soon after the heartbreak of Fermina's marriage to Urbino, it is revealed that in the subsequent fifty years, Florentino conducted an astonishing 622 affairs, well documented in 25 notebooks. While it is not inconceivable that a fellow could sleep with 622 different women in fifty years, it is noted that the 622 "affairs" were not simply one night stands, or visits with whores, but "affairs of the heart". This seems to be wholly unrealistic. Taking into account the population of the city itself, the strict Catholic mores in place and the simple math, it seems highly unlikely that any man could have accumulated such an impressive record. Maybe I'm simply not trying hard enough.
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This is great book and really deserves the tag of "classic" that is associated with it. Marquez creates memorable characters that are demand emotion from the readers as thier life unfolds. Florentino is the unliked the who at first emits nievity turned into annoyance turned into pathos and completed with acceptance. Flamina is portrayed in a delicate manner as loving woman and we come to like her even though she rejects the protagonist. Marquez jumps around these characters lives flawlessly and the book spans their whole life but does not overstay its welcome.
Marquez' imagery goes well with eternal love theme and the reader will finish this book feeling complete and content. For anyone who has viewed a loved one from the outside this book offers eventual hope although some might determine it depressing. Is it better to have loved and lost or to never have loved at all?
Bottom Line: success in a time of cholera!
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