Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International)
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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 for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

Customer Reviews:

  • Slow ....slow
    A friend insisted that I read her copy of this book. I have honestly tried to enjoy it even half as much as apparently she did but.....slow is an understatement. Also, the lack of chapters and sometimes even paragraphs made it even harder to read.....harder to come back to ...etc. I finally scanned the last 100 pages and considered it a victory that it was finished. ...more info
  • Outstanding Love Story
    Fermina and Florentino are portrayed in "Love in the Time of Cholera" as an eternal match of lovers. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a master in his writings. Florentino is able to maintain his love for his chosen beauty throughout his life. He reluctantly accepts her marriage to another, but he continues to cherish and adore the one true first love of his life. Marquez is a true master at his descriptions of love, and sex and beauty as few authors are capable. His books are very readable, and glue the reader to the characters as if one is actually thrust into the story of his dynamic pictures. I find Marques to be the writer of some of the most compelling novels that I have ever read. I would not hesitate to recommend his books to become a portion of one's favorite library section. Dale B. Haufrect, M.D., M.A. Med DataLink, LLC
    ...more info
  • Review of Love in the Time of Cholera
    5 out of 5 stars

    I recently picked up a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera written by Gabriel Garc¨ªa M¨¢rquez, a popular Columbian author. I looked at the cover, and it was really nicely designed. The only thing that put me off was the Oprah endorsement and the fact that it had been translated. I took the book home anyway and started to read it immediately. By page 15 I was crying like a baby. It takes a certain kind of book to make me cry and this book had me blubbering happy and sad tears throughout the plot.

    The story follows the love affair of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza through a long period of time. In their youth Florentino was a messenger for that new fangled thing the telegram. Delivering a message to Fermina's father grants him his first sight of his life love and his years of longing start at that moment.

    The writer spends a time telling us how they get letters back and forth and how their love grows without even ever to have spoken to each other, then Ferminia's father finds out about the young lovers. He wanted to raise Fermina's station in society and a mere telegram messenger was not what he wanted or expected for her. The book got kind of boring for me here for just a bit. Fermina's father takes her to the country for years while they communicate secretly via telegram.

    When Fermina comes home finally and Florentio spots her in a market, she tells him their whole love has only been an illusion and asks him to please leave her alone. Fermina marries a doctor and gets on with her life while Florentino decides to wait it out. He figures her husband can't live forever.

    Years pass as the story of Fermina and her husband develops and we learn how Florentino makes it through the years. Every fiber in my being was screaming for them to meet or for anything to happen for her to see how much Florentio loves her, but nothing absolutely nothing happens with that couple. Other interesting things are going on. Fermina and her husband have some trials and great times, while Florentino takes over the family business and raises it up to a standard worthy of Fermina.

    In the end the husband dies, Florentino comes to the funeral and delivers my favorite quote from the whole book, and this book is full of one liners that have the ability to make you cry. I won't spoil it for you though.

    In the end this is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read. A bit dark in the sense that Florentino's affections sometimes resemble a stalking kind of nature, but he was pure in his blinding love for Fermina. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be moved by a book. Its been a long time since I was so moved by one myself.

    [...]...more info
  • Slow and not what I expected
    I think the book went way too slow. It came highly recommended and I was disappointed. It was the kind of book that I just made myself read because I don't like to just stop a book half way through. ...more info
  • A Map of Memories from Two Lifetimes of Love
    LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA is an immersion experience, in which others' minds and memories envelop the reader. I enjoyed it even when I thought I wasn't enjoying it.

    The book is about three main characters, Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino, and it begins with Urbino visiting the home of a friend who has killed himself. Urbino is getting on in years, but he has been close with this man and is a distinguished physician, so he visits the home and attends to any needs, even though the death has occurred the night before a big feast day. After this Urbino returns home, and we are immersed into his story, his wife Fermina Daza's and the love of her younger days, Florentino Ariza.

    Ariza was swept off his feet by the young Daza, and wooed her with letters secretly passed between the two against the wishes of her father. Their sweet, young love, however, ended through a series of events and she married Urbino, and spent her long life with him. Ariza never gave up thoughts of her or hope that they would be together, and he kept track of her avidly while moving up in his company and in his work. A devotee of romantic love, he competed in poetry contests and wrote letters for the illiterate to help them woo their true loves.

    This is the basic plot of the book, which is long, involved and very stream of consciousness. Marquez wonders into the pasts of minor characters with great depth, and a reader who is expecting more conventional plot lines may think that in the end, something will happen that will make this information relevant, but such is not the case. However, this time spent on background is not "wasted" or regrettable; it really paints a detailed landscape of all the characters that creates a very rich reader experience. I also experienced an unusual sense of the book's rhythm: the beginning seems very slow and plodding, and yet the end seems to come in a flash, though the style of the writing doesn't change perceptibly.

    I enjoyed this book a great deal, and looking back on it, the memories of what happened in the novel almost feel like my own memories. Perhaps that was what Marquez was trying to create with this lifelong love story -- a sense that the passage of time mingled with memories is a fluid, complex, dynamic experience for all involved. ...more info
  • Help! L e t s n o t f a l l a s l ee ee p !!!
    I agree with other who gave this a one star. The story.... eh---- I vacilate between seeing the hero as a dirty old, gieser, and a hopeless romantic. I really had to push myself to get through it. ...more info
  • Love...
    Love beyond time, beyond reason...
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Nobel Prize Awarded Novel, made into a motion picture
    This story, penned with precise beauty, was one that took me by suprise inasmuch that I commenced my journey into this book with hesitance. Perhaps, it was the time in which I started the read or it could have been the unlikely event that my mind wasn't prepared to focus on the painted pictures and quiet tamber in which the story unveiled itself to me. In truth, I put this book down, read 5 others, and then felt an internal determination to pick it back up and complete my goal of reading this story.

    So much had been told to me, via the media and Oprah's Book Club opinions, that I felt it more of a necessity to be able to say that I have read this book than just the pure passion and excitement that I had discovered a book that I couldn't wait to crack open. When I picked up the novel for the second time, in almost a sense of obligation, I read it with a new set of eyes.

    Although I had already read 20% of the novel, I began my second reading on Page 1. The book begins with the near ending of the tale and, as I discover the death of Fermina's husband, I also find the beginning of a love story that I want to unravel and understand at a faster fervor than I first conceptualized, internally. This is a love story as much as it is a story of anguish, despair, and the revelation of living in the dark depths of the human soul.

    My heart was always on the side of Fermina's first psuedo-love, Florentino. The manner in which he dealt with his unrequited love, his devastating heartbreak and despair, I could completely relate with in a state of full compassion. Admittedly, I believe that at one time or another most of us have suffered the consequences of loving another more than the receipt of the returned love. Florentino finds solace in numerous affairs, however never opens his soul nor heart to these women, many of which, came to feel deep love and compassion for him. Which brought me to empathsize with that part of love when you fall for a lover whose love is unrequited.... and, yet... the hope remains alive in some form or fashion within your heart and mind.

    The novel takes you back and forth between the lives of these separated lives to bring the reader the complete understanding of the origin of the decisions made by each one of them. Being a woman, I had hoped that I would find more compassion and understanding in Fermina's viewpoint, but kept finding disdain for her inability to demolish the walls around her heart and evolve from her continual attempts to remain in solice. I pitied her for finding the beauty in her long-term marriage to Dr. Urbino only after his death. I related to her desire to burn and eradicate all memories of this marriage, not commenced of love, but of duty and reason.... only to find that the love that was there was as real as the love she held for Florentino, despite her own internal acceptance and recognition of such.

    The path that they each took in finding a way back to each other took longer than my impatient mind would tolerate. Seeing Florentino substituting sex for love and Fermina's stubborness continue for such an extended period only added to my compulsion to finding them back to one another at a faster pace than Marquez would deliver it to me. So much so, that by the time that the world had broken Fermina to the point where she was ready to take those chances with her life and with her heart, I was reading with such a fast pace and fervor to reach the ending in hopes that they'd find that "perfect ending" in each other.

    The ending of this book is as romantic as it is sad, for me. I've heard of the movie and would like to see how others interpreted this literary piece of work... maybe my eagerness pushed me too quickly through the prose (hopefully, not). This book surprised me and my expectations. At times, this book aroused my senses and kept me clinging for more despite my tired eyes. At other times, the smaller details which so richly described the setting, rather than painting a picture and finding my gratitude on the other side, felt like a weight on the story in which I so desperately needed to know the ending to. I am a die-hard believer in not reading the ending first... so that explains my pace and fervor.

    In recommending this book... yes, I would.... but, it should be said that it is for those who believe what Marquez states so eloquently at the tail end of the story:

    "It had to be a mad dream, one that would give her the courage she would need to discard the prejudices of a class that had not always been hers but had become hers more than anyone's. It had to teach her to think of love as a state of grace: not the means to anything but the alpha and omega, an end in itself."

    These words summarized so much that I believe to be true about love and life.

    (And, on the "Out of Ten" scale, I'd give it a 9.75!)

    ...more info
  • Not a love story
    My book club selected this book thinking it was a love story and thinking that it would be a good read since it was made into a movie, but we were wrong on both assertions. I think I may have been the only one to finish it. Just as The Great Gatsby and just as Romeo and Juliet are not love stories, if you look closely beneath the prose and under what Marquez writes about Florentino, the crazed lover, you will find that this is not a love story either, but a question of the importance of stability in life. I'm not sure if this was what Marquez was getting at but who we side with, may tell us a lot about us but it will not make us swoon and wish we had a lover as crazy as Fermina Daza's. ...more info
  • A Little Slow
    I read this book in the weeks leading up to the DVD's release. I admit that I wasn't too thrilled reading one of Gabriel Garc¨ªa M¨¢rquez's books since he's not big on magic realism. I figured I could at least watch the movie if I didn't understand the movie.
    I agree w/the other reviewer that this book was slow but I found it slow only in certain parts. I understood that mood, emotions & everything else had to be explained so one could understand the full picture. I also knew that if I kept reading, I would finally understand why Fermina said & did what she said. (Yes, you do find out.)
    I'm not sure if I loved it enough to read it again, but I am thankful that I read the book. I'm also thankful that I read the book before watching the movie....more info
  • Love in all of its forms
    "Love in the Time of Cholera" is a beautifully written novel that depicts how unrequited love has the power to consume humanity, almost like a plague. In this story, young Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall in love, but communicate primarily through letters. Fermina ultimately ends up rejecting Florentino and marrying Dr. Juvenal Urbino, who she thinks will bring wealth and security to her life. However, their marriage isn't as ideal as it appears to be on the surface. Meanwhile, Florentino engages in numerous affairs in his attempt to forget about Fermina, but the intoxicating love he feels for her never dies. Decades later, when Juvenal Urbino dies, Florentino appears at his funeral and once again professes his love for Fermina.

    Gabriel Garcia M¨¢rquez is an excellent writer, and this book is filled with beautiful prose. The story is riveting, even though the pacing of the book tends to drag in places. Also, Florentino's obsession with Fermina begins to come across as stalkeresque at times, but the ending of the book changed my mind about that. Ultimately, this is a fantastic book about the many different types of love that exist in this world, and I highly recommend it....more info
  • not worth the time or money
    ugh. stupid oprah. should've read the one-star reviews first before purchasing it at the time. forced myself to read it in hopes there'd be some sort of enlightenment, but to no avail. read about fifty pages and quit. ...more info
  • It doesn't get any more difficult to read a book than this.
    I tried and tried and tried and tried to finish this book, and finally did, THREE MONTHS LATER, and I read Moby Dick in 48 hours (college assignment, 48 hours, no sleep, even read it in the tub). I am not a slow reader.
    There just wasn't enough to keep you interested in this story, and not even any chapters to give you a good stopping point. Every time I picked up the book to read, which was almost every night in bed, I would have to re-read the last four or five pages just to remember what was going on. Does someone really pine away for a woman for 50 years? Especially some nerdy little pervert who's had dozens and dozens of lovers in his lifetime. Surely at least ONE of these other women would have had a precious golden vagina that could spark his interest long enough to make him forget all about Fermina Daza. And don't even get me started on the names. Does the author have to call everyone in the book by their first AND last name EVERY TIME he mentions them. It was maddening. Once you've read 300 pages, you already know their last names.
    I wanted to like this book. I really did. I tried for three months to like it. And it's a testament enough to the author's writing skill that I will still give it three stars. I've even kept this book out on my nightstand since then to see every day, thinking that I may give it another chance. And six months later, it's still there. Maybe someday....more info
  • No one in my book club finished this book
    We choose this book for book club over a year ago. No one finished it. I got the further than anyone as a read 1/2 of it. Now that I have read the other one star reviews I am glad I didn't waste more of my time. Why am I writing this review - to up the one star reviews and to let more people know that many people did NOT like this book. I have never ever not finished a book club book. I don't really remember much about it other than it was very descriptive to the point of verbose. I did not connect with main characters emotion. How do you fall in love with someone on sight? I just didn't get it. I had one friend suggest that the book, first written in Portuguese, perhaps didn't translate well...more info
  • This is not a love story.
    This book is gross. I don't understand where the love story is. The guy is an obsessed pervert and the supposed romantic ending has nothing to do with love at all. There are so many disturbing images from this book that still haunt me. ...more info
  • Beautifully Written, Plot-less Yawn
    It took me two weeks to read this book. I can't remember the last time it took me two weeks to a read a book, probably because it has never happened. I usually read a book in a day or two, three at most. This novel has no plot. Nothing happens. While I appreciate Marquez's eloquent prose, revealing ideas and timeless characters, nothing ever happens. I kept waiting, and reading, and waiting....all the way to the end.

    I hope I do not come across as a bitter cynic because I know the underlying plot is supposed to be about love, and I do believe in love. I think love can conquer all and is worth waiting for, but I did not believe that either of those characters were truly in love. Their "love" seemed juvenile and not real, even at the end.

    I do not wish to discourage anyone from reading this book and would like to say that I do not regret reading it and I am glad that I did. Marquez is an exceptional writer and reading his words were a joy, except all the elements that typically make a novel were absent. I encourage everyone to read it and form their own opinion, because that is the only one that matters. ...more info
  • The Power of Text to Create and Sustain Love
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the time of Cholera is a story the power of text to create and sustain both love and life over a lifetime.

    Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza are childhood sweethearts whose romance is interrupted by fifty years--during which time Florentino Ariza pursues one romance after another with a number of widows and his goddaughter to stave off her loneliness, and Fermina Daza lives the life of a proper housewife and mother whose husband, Juvenal Ubrino, is a respected doctor in their claustrophobic South American community.

    Juvenal Urbino's death from falling off a ladder while trying to capture his parrot creates the opportunity for Florentino Ariza to reintroduce himself to Fermina Daza. Over time, he wins her friendship and her heart in the most agreeable presentation of love in this novel.

    Both the romance and the lifetime of waiting are sustained by the stories Florentia Ariza creates. After he hd fallen in love with her while delivering a telegram to her father, he courted her solely by letter. When her father, who disapproved of the romance, sent her to into the countryside to stay with family for a few years, the romance continued via letter. Whens she sees him three years later, she dismisses him with a shrug.

    A lifetime passes during which the ardent young man fills his free time by writing love letters for men and women of the servant class. In some instances, he writes the letters for both parties in the romance, in effect falling in love with himself. The lovers not only survive the fiction but believe it, marry, and, in one instance, name their first child after the author of their relationship.

    After Florentino Ariza's visit to the Widow Urbino's home following the death of the doctor, she sends him a scathing, incoherent letter that troubles the frustrated lover but does not stop him. He begins a one-way correspondence that over time helps the widow emerge from her grief to begin her life anew. In gratitude, she renews a relationship that never existed in reality but thrived in story.

    Now, though, life has mellowed the Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza into senior citizens who accept themselves, their lives, their bodies--in short, their stories--as they are and are grateful for the companionship and the love that insists on itself in the life of the human heart as well as the imagination.

    Ultimately, the fictitious love story is a lie that tells a truth of love that the protagonists grow into and run away with, leaving the past behind. Some things are worth the wait....more info
  • On the fence
    I don't know what to say. I didn't exactly love the book, but neither did i hate it. The love story itself is weird, irrational, shallow and totally forgettable.

    The main protagonist, the young Florentino Ariza, a man of questionable lineage and reputation, falls in love with Fermina Daza, the daughter of an ambitious mule trader, Lorenzo Daza. Fermina accepts Florentino's proposal of love, but soon breaks it when she realizes that she doesn't truly love the man as much as pity him. Florentino is heartbroken, but respects her decision. Upon her father's direction, Fermina marries a wellborn and illustrious Physician, Dr Juvenal Urbino. Florentino decides to bide his time until the Doctor dies. And how? He goes flitting from one woman to another for 50 plus years. Nice. In the course of 50 years, he's raped by an unknown woman, he himself rapes a maid, seduces innumerable widows, even a 14 year old girl(somebody sic the CDC on him, please) who kills herself when he chucks her for his long-standing love, causes a woman to be murdered by her husband, gains a reputation of being queer and climbs up the social ladder, all with the determination to win Fermina intact. Fermina is fairly happy with her marriage and makes her peace with life despite many misgivings and disappointments. When Dr Urbino dies at the age of 82, Florentino returns to try once more.

    Although the author beats the point of a die-hard romantic sustaining 50 years of hardship for love to death, the book manages to keep the reader engrossed. The writing style is evocative and colorful, and has a lovely rhythmic cadence, i give the author that. I loved the descriptions of the carribean summers, the local customs and culture, the river cruises and the ravages of the cholera epidemic. I'll remember the lingering scent of jasmines and roses, camellias and gardenias, the tropical heat, the books of poetry, the blades of fans, the manatees, the yawning alligators, the almond trees, the buzzards, the river boats, the meandering Magdalena river, et al. But love? Sorry, i do not even remotely associate the book with love. Florentino is not even human, much less a romantic hero, Fermina is self-centered, Dr Urbino is pedestrian- none of the characters are worthy of worship. They are all weird. Be warned that there is plenty of profanity. Kinky stuff as well(two people enjoying giving enemas to each other?).

    If one more person tells me that this is a magical story of unrequited love and sheer tenacity, i'm going to straddle him/her with an year's worth of the most boring literature....more info
  • Disappointing
    I was really disappointed in this book. The method of storytelling, while unusual and somewhat poetic, is rambling and almost painful to stay with. I did manage to finish it, but only because I forced myself to read to the end, not because I enjoyed it. The author slips key parts of the story into rambling text, to the point where I had to go back and reread a sentence or even a paragraph to verify that I had read it right. (Did he just say that? Did that really just happen? In the middle of a nothing paragraph?) Things don't need to be pointed out to me, but I find this style of writing very anti-climactic. I won't spoil the end, but I will say the entire book was just depressing and disappointing....more info
  • An Enchanting Love Story
    This was my second reading of "Love in the Time of Cholera". I read it first when it was published in the 1980s. At that time, I thought to be one of the greatest books ever. Gabriel Garcia Marquez had written a beautiful love story. It was instrumental in his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

    Strangely, however, reading it again after a break of more than twenty years was somewhat disappointing. Yes, there are certainly beautiful parts of the story. Marquez has a wonderful way with words and especially strong when he writes of the elderly. Here, is simply majestic. Nonetheless, this time there was something missing. I can only assume that I have changed. It's an inevitable process.

    Despite my changes and my lesser view of the book, "Love in the Time of Cholera" remains a great work. Marquez tells the story of a love bond that lasts for over fifty years. It is set in the Caribbean coast of South America although no clear or explicit geography is mentioned. The reader sees the world through the eyes of Florentino Ariza and his life long love for Fermina Daza who marries Dr Juvenal Urbino. Florentino retains his love. He chooses to wait.

    Marquez is a wonderful story teller. This is a book that should be read by all. Notwithstanding some of my disillusions, it remains one of the great books of the twentieth century.
    ...more info
  • He is Marquez!
    He is Marquez!
    We all know who he is.
    But truly, this is a book that one wishes, upon setting it down, that it had more pages. And not because it is inconclusive, [even though it is, in many ways inconclusive] but moreso, you want more pages because you want the two characters at the end to sort of fall through the rabbit hole, be reborn or something... see life over again. Have another try at the novel's final word, "Forever."

    It is set in some nameless Caribbean seaport city, human topography being more important to Marquez, in this novel, than geography.
    Takes place between 1830 and 1930.
    This is how I am going to do this... this is how I am going to begin to speak of an impossible to summarize, sprawling epic.
    I will speak of the three main characters:

    Florentino Ariza:
    As a young telegraph officer, delivering a message to the Daza household, he observes the precociously beautiful Fermina Daza. He obsessively [to put it mildly] falls in love with her, at first sight.
    Complications arise [ no pun intended]... Fermina's father forbids any sort of relationship, and so the two [Fermina is, for the time being, equally enamored] communicate by way of clandestine letters.
    Fermina is banished to a foreign land, and in this meantime, Florentino develops into an increasingly [physically] unappealing young man.

    Fermina Daza:
    Partially described above.
    But this is because she can only be partially described, by anyone. She is the "crowned goddess."
    She is everything as beautiful as poor Florentino is forced to only imagine!
    A Caribbean Juliet, about to meet her Romeo.
    Ahhh.... but it shall not be Florentino, after all!
    When she returns from her banishment, she still feels that she loves her young suitor.
    That is, until she meets him one day in a crowded street, and, upon seeing him, she instantly feels that it was "all an illusion." She is no longer in love.
    Florentino is understandably devastated. [Romeo to the core! Would gladly stab himself if he could find a sharp enough dagger...]
    And things are about to get worse for him, because soon, due to a sickness, Fermina meets....

    Dr. Juvenal Urbino:
    Dr. Juvenal is easy on the eyes! He is everything Florentino is not. Striking, handsome, debonair, and RICH! He too, falls for Fermina's charms, and she, for his. They marry. Florentino, now wishing himself dead, imposes a self-banishment upon his own life, in an attempt to forget his love for Fermina. Distance from her [as is all distance from true love] is futile. So, he opts for displacement! Since he cannot have her, perhaps he should sleep with half of the entire female world, instead.
    He attempts to do just this.... sustaining 622 illicit affairs, until.... until... an aged Dr. Juvenal tries to rescue his errant parrot from a tree.... and...
    It is too good of a story for me to say anything else about it.
    If you have not yet read Love In The Time Of Cholera, I urge you to do so.
    Get a copy!
    The only other Marquez I have read is One Hundred Years of Solitude.
    I declare this book [Cholera] as being much better!
    He is Marquez!...more info
  • Lost in translation
    I was a trifle disappointed in this, especially since Oprah gushed about what a great love story it was. I thought it was more a story of obsession than a love story. Plus, I have a basic aversion to reading a translation. The flow of the language is lost, and I find myself occasionally wondering if a particularly odd phrase was translated too literally. The title sounds so morbid, but the story really has nothing to do with cholera. In fact, there's a lot of humor, although it might be funnier in Spanish. My favorite part was where Florentino was writing love letters for other couples and discovered that, in one case, he was repesenting both the man and the woman and carrying on a correspondence with himself. The ending was kind of chirpy, but I guess that's appropriate since one of the main characters dies at the beginning trying to retrieve a parrot. I know, bad pun....more info
  • the only book i ever returned
    I am an avid reader with a wide range of interests, from classics to essays to short stories to bestsellers. I was looking forward to this book for a long time, so when I had a break (i am in grad school) I purchased this novel, eager for a good read. I loved "The House of Spirits" and "Like Water for Chocolate", so I figured I would enjoy another Latin-influenced novel. This book was well-written, vivid and disturbing. Nothing different from the norm right? However, this was the first time in my life where I was so appalled by the content that it overshadowed his writing and I could not wait to return it. I understand that this novel was about all the different forms of love, from the "pure" puppy love to the sadistic self-serving type of love. However, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, i thought this was a bunch of BS. Florentino has been the most unappealing hero I have ever met, and his actions do not elicit sympathy or even understanding. He is the epitome of selfish love, always taking and needing and requiring from others while sacrificing nothing in return. What really offended me was how he claimed to be a virgin at the end, and I guess the author meant that "spiritually or soulfully" he remained pure for her, but how could any person with a conscience say that when he molested his ward and caused her suicide. I know this was set in a different day and age, but for people to be promoting this type of book was particularly revolting. Well-written stories can be found elsewhere. By having tawdry content it stoops to the gimmicks of trashy novels to shock and sell. Good literature pulls us out of our comfort zone and causes us to think and dream, but after this book all I wanted to do was erase the memories of the last few hours I spent reading this book....more info
  • Muddied by the author's writing style
    This book could have been great. However, you have to wade through piles and piles of non-essential rubbish to get to the meat of the story (which could have been told in about 1 chapter. Not romantic, but very James Joyce in that the characters are flawed, unhappy people who you're not sure should be together at all. The most difficult thing about this book is the lack of editorial advice. It needs more chapter breaks, less digression, something to make it flow better. Took me a LONG time to finish, and I'm not happy I wasted all of that time when I could have read something more fulfilling. ...more info
  • Disgusting
    The ONLY reason I give Love in the Time of Cholera more than one star is because of Marquez's writing. Which is also one of the only reasons I read it till the end.
    When I got to the end however, I was so disgusted with the entire story I threw it on my bedside table a little too hard, causing it to fall on the floor, where it still remains.
    I really cannot think of a better way to describe this book than disgusting. The first part of the book was beautiful, but once the the characters started to grow (physically, not emotionally), all that happened was Florentino Ariza, the man who waited fifty plus years for his childhood "love", started sleeping around. And everyone else in the book was cheating on their spouses. And then one of Ariza's many lovers stops going to bed with him because she has fallen in love with her RAPIST.
    And THEN Florentino Ariza takes the virginity of a 13 year old who he's supposed to be looking after as her guardian. The scene where this is described still haunts me. He TRICKS her into taking off her clothes, playing "baby games" to make her laugh as he's doing it.
    The fact that she commits suicide out of depression when he stops sleeping with her makes him lock himself in the bathroom, days later, and cry. Wonderful. Is the fact that he feels guilty about it for an hour, and then for moments every once in a while till he dies, supposed to redeem him in the readers' eyes?
    Marquez even passingly writes about the fact that Ariza rapes one of his servants, which "bothered" him only in so far as he had to deal with her pregnancy.
    Wtf? I feel SORRY for Marquez now that I've finished the book, because if he believes that love is what Ariza feels for Fermina Diaz, and if he thinks that life is all about sex (did i mention that pretty much EVERYONE is cheating on someone?) he's never experienced true love (not surprising if this is the trash that fills his head), AND he's never experienced life. The clean life. The life where not everyone is as disgusting as all his characters.
    And, as another reviewer on here said, this could ONLY be written by a man.
    I had such high hopes. I'd been wanting to find a good author and the beginning seemed so promising. I am never reading a single word written by Marquez again. I am beyond disgusted. Even forgetting the time spent reading the book, I will never be able to forget the vulgarity of the story. I cannot come up with a word with the right intensity to describe this book, all I can say is do not read it. You've been warned....more info
  • Book club hated this book
    One of our members suggested this book, the rest of really had no exposure, other than seeing it at the book store. When we met a month later, only one out of 12 had finished it. During our discussion we agreed, it was one of worst selections we have ever made. We were baffled by the high acclaims and great reviews, (including Amazon's 4-5 star ratings), that this book received. Overall, we were mostly disturbed by Florentino's overwhelming fixation on Fermina and his overzealous sexuality as he fumbled through life trying to forget her. This didn't seem like a great love story to us, it seemed like obsession. We agreed that it could be cultural, but to us, his behavior seemed like stalking, it was over the top preoccupation. Her reaction also didn't make sense and made us question if she really loved him or if she was just in love with the idea and/or memory of him. Yes, this novel had a nice lyrical rhythm with beautiful details and descriptions, but it wasn't enough for us. I think I speak for the group when I say that we would definitely NOT recommend this book. The majority of us plan to either give it away or sell it on our garage sales. ...more info
  • the worst book I never read....Period!
    I tried to read this book and just got it just me, or is this
    book just too slow to get started? Anyhow, I tried several times and finally sent it off to my local Public library for a book drive that generates money for their general upkeep. Maybe some other poor soul will find this book interesting. ...more info
  • Took me a while to love it
    What Gabriel Garcia Marquez does best, where most fail, is he lets his readers think. I had forgotten how to do that after reading years-worth of feed-it-to-me novels. As a result, I spent the first half of this book hating it. Yes, I am one of those folks that don't give up on a book just because I don't enjoy the first 99% of it, regardless of how long it takes me to finally get through it. I read on steadily with faith that it will eventually impress, and although I am sadly disappointed when this doesn't happen, Love in the Time of Cholera was THE ONE, the one that did finally capture me. Gabriel Garcia Marquez continues to hold a spot on my list of favorites. ...more info
  • It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
    Garcia Marquez can write. No doubt about it. The man is a marvel. I'd be puddling along, reading of Fermina Daza, and her adolescent passion (and his for her) of Florentino Ariza, or of her married life with Juvenal Urbino when I'd be swept away by a phrase or image, or the smell of bitter almonds. REmarkable. Poignant. Humorus. Heartbreaking. So much like life. The unfolding of love after youth has faded to no more than a whisper was an unexpected gift -- we can't all be in our twenties forever, no matter what our inner clock thinks.

    It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
    ...more info
  • More like: Love in the Time of Don't-bother-a
    I gave this book 2 stars, because I reserve 1 star for the books that I stop reading before even getting to the end. This one I actually finished, even though it took me 10 months to get through the entire thing. I only read it when I was on travel for work, because I didn't have any desire to pick it up otherwise.

    In the book, the plot didn't move much past the description on the book jacket, and the lack of plot movement is what made it uninteresting to read. The prose is very descriptive, but that also has a tendency to slow down the book as well.

    But my biggest complaint after finishing the book is how much time was spent on describing the indignity of old age, and contemplating impending death, and giving each other enemas, and what it is like for a couple in their seventies to make love, and describing the wrinkly bodies, and the "smell of old age." I do realize that I will reach a time when this is my reality, but I really didn't want to read about it. I apologize for bringing it up right now, but since it is my biggest complaint, I felt the need to mention it.

    Other than that, I found that the main character's obsession with Fermina Daza to be more creepy and sad than romantic, which causes the book to be a failure in the "love story" department.

    So don't even bother with this one. ...more info
  • Should have been a short story
    When a brilliant writer has little to say and gets paid by the word, this is the kind of book that results. I always finish the books I start. I usually read them straight through. With this book I read three other books before finishing this one. The story is short and trite. It could be told very elegantly in 10,000 words. The rest is very well-written filler. As well-written as it is, filler is still filler and makes the reader work too hard to remain interested. I ended up not caring about either character (as they were not that interesting). I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but it never did. I will check out some of his shorter titles. He writes brilliantly, so it may be worthwhile to read something of his where he has a story worth telling....more info