Thursday, December 20, 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: Love in the Time of Cholera
Author: Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Edith Grossman
Country: Colombia
Year: 1985
Rating: A-
Pages: 348

There are already some great reviews of this book out there: Eva at A Striped Armchair, Tanabata at In Spring it is the Dawn, Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot, and Chris at Book-A-Rama have all read Love in the Time of Cholera this year.

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

Challenge book? I read this for the Book Awards Challenge and 2nds Challenge. It was on my list for the Expanding Your Horizons Challenge, but that doesn't start until January so I'm not going to count it.

Short summary: How long would you wait for love? Florentino Ariza is preared to wait 51 years, 9 months, and 4 days. Love in the Time of Cholera is above all a love story set in the late 19th and early 20th century; a story about all the different ways that people can love each other.

What I thought: This novel is in a style completely different from One Hundred Years of Solitude (I would not classify it as a "magical realism" novel), but it retains the lyrical, passionate, and evocative prose that Marquez is so well known for. It is a love story, but it is not only a love story--more of an in-depth look at love and obsession, and how it can change and evolve over a lifetime.

I always love the imagery in many South American novels, and Marquez is one of the masters. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes magical realism, thoughtful prose, and strong character development. It is a book that demands your attention - if you don't have the time to immerse yourself, hold on to it for another day.

Interesting tidbit: In Spanish, el cólera means cholera, but la cólera means choler or anger. If you take this to the extreme, it can be used to describe warfare. In the novel, victims of the civil war are often mistaken for victims of cholera.

From the sky they could see, just as God saw them, the ruins of the very old and heroic city of Cartagene de Indias, the most beautiful in the world, abandoned by its inhabitants because of the cholera panic after three centuries of resistance to the sieges of the English and the atrocities of the buccaneers.

Someone said that cholera was ravaging the villages of the Great Swamp. Dr. Urbino, as he spoke, continued to look through the spyglass.
"Well, it must be a very special form of cholera," he said, "because every single corpse has received the coup de grace through the back of the neck."


Bookgirl's Nightstand said...

I agree, this is so different from 100 Years of Solitude. I love this book and it's one of my all time favorites. So glad you enjoyed it.
Are you going to see the movie? I don't think I will.

Eva said...

Thanks for the link-love: that was sweet. :) That tidbit was super, super interesting...I think they should put that in the preface to the book!

Nyssaneala said...

Iliana - I haven't decided about the movie yet. Maybe when it comes out on video, but I don't think it looks very good.

Eva - You're right, they should! Those kinds of things always make me wonder what else was lost in translation...although I think Edith Grossman did a wonderful job translating this book!

Juli said...

I just grabbed this off the exchange shelf at our school library (and left a James Patterson). Looks like a made a good find. Thanks for the review.

bookinhand said...

I enjoyed your review! I bought this book a while back and it's waiting to be read. I have it on my Romance Reading Challenge list for 2008, so I know I will get around to reading it eventually; now, after reading your review, I want to read it sooner than later! Diane

Chris said...

I'm glad you liked it even if I didn't :)

Bookchronicle said...

I must admit that I struggled a bit myself with Love in the Time of Cholera. Part of me loved the tender romance, but another part of me struggled with some of Marquez's female depictions and his style. Overall I did enjoy the book but for the latter half of it I kept wishing I was reading Albert Camus' The Plague instead.

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