When one of my book clubs chose to read the modern classic Love in the Time of Cholera I was pleased as punch. For well over a decade, a copy has sat ignored in my personal library taunting me to read it. Now that my book club would be reading García Márquez’s grand work of fiction no longer would this book of mine remain unread. A few nights after meeting with my book club I grabbed it from the shelf began reading it.
So, after such a long wait how did I enjoy Love in the Time of Cholera? And how did it fare with my book club? While some members liked it more than others, I think overall the general consensus was pretty much in line with my opinion of the novel. We liked it, but we enjoyed the second half of the novel more than the first part. But few, if any of my fellow readers were left disappointed.
Love in the Time of Cholera, as its title would lead us to believe is a novel of love. It’s about youthful love and all its innocence and idealism as we see young lovers Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza defy rigid societal expectations in hopes of being together. It’s also about marriage and everything good, bad and otherwise that comes with it. It’s also about careless and carefree lovemaking as well as its consequences. It’s also a novel of how love is understood by older adults, when love matures and acceptance is the norm.
Whatever shortcomings this novel might possibly possess, it has some great things going for it. For one, García Márquez’s vocabulary is rich as hell and kudos to his translator for expertly putting those wonderful words into English. Secondly, while love at times can be sad, sometimes unbearably sad, like anything in life there are humorous moments and Love in the Time of Cholera has its share. (My favorite was the time Florentino and one his lovers spend a session so absorbed in their lovemaking they neglect to notice the house around them being burglarized. Their passion spent and relishing the afterglow, they look up to see an empty bedroom with a note declaring “this is what you get for fucking around.”) Lastly, thanks to García Márquez’s skillful writing I felt transported to an unnamed Colombian town somewhere on the nation’s Caribbean coast as events unfolded and characters developed over half a century spanning the 1880s to 1930s.
García Márquez was a prolific writer and authored a number of works, fiction and nonfiction before his death in 2014. I think before it’s all said and done, I’d like to read more of his stuff. Naturally, should I do so, you’ll read all about it on my blog.