This one should give all you incorrigible romantics some hope. How long can one wait for unrequited love? A year? Ten? Try fifty. In Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez pens another masterpiece that showcases his skill at intuitively divining just what people think at those moments that define their lives. Fermina Daza is a little naive but falls in love with her mysterious suitor, a certain Florentino Ariza who appears in the park and hands her letters declaring his love for her. Her father is not impressed by her impoverished suitor and threatens the adolescent Ariza in a vain attempt to scare him off. When this fails, he packs his daughter off to the remote highlands of Colombia to escape the infatuated telegraph operator. He plots and schemes and gets her married to Dr. Juvenal Urbino, a man as distinguished as her former suitor was threadbare.
Dr. Urbino is truly a man amongst men but finally succumbs to Mors in that most unlikely of fashions, stretching out off a ladder to capture his pet parrot before it flies away. The body is barely cold before Ariza appears, proclaiming his half-century old love for Fermina. She sends him off with a flea in his ear, but he is not brushed off so easily. He courts her all over again, beginning with the little conversations we are all so adept in, tiny dances around the truth as we close in for the kill. The physical allure is tempered by senescence but the passion is as bright as ever, and his patience is finally rewarded when she agrees to give their love a chance. In that bitter twist of fate that life often deals us, she realizes that while marriage to Dr. Urbino was everything a woman could have asked for in societal, financial and intellectual terms, it will forever remain the one great regret of her life. She would have been so much happier with Florentino instead, he of the plentiful unencumbered amorous alliances above the main undercurrent of his love for her.
Marquez writes breathtakingly well, with several passages that are almost physically satisfying to read. This is no mean feat, especially for a translated work. What can I say? Your life will be richer for having read this book.