Love can easily be confused with cholera, with only one exemption: one who has contracted cholera doesn’t have a lot of time. And those who have contracted love, seem to have too much of it.
Doesn’t everybody have a moment in which you just want to shake a friend by the shoulders and scream “get over him/her!”, at the shaken person? Or maybe you’ve been the shaken instead of the shaker. Possibilities are endless. However, the main character of Love in the time of cholera should have been shaken a bit more, and yet at the same time no one should touch him as to never burst the bubble that proves true love might exist after all.
A fairy tale, prince sees princess across the ballroom floor and they fall instantly in love. And then real life gets in the way and one or the other figures out this is not meant to happen as it is unrealistic or simply it won’t root in fertile ground. In the most simplistic way this would describe Marquez’ masterpiece, written five years after the master of magical realism received the Nobel Prize of Literature. But it would be simplistic, wouldn’t be fair towards the many layers that Marquez manages to add to what could have become a very cheesy love story. The writer instead chooses to show that love is fickle, cannot be controlled, and that it can exist in many forms that live alongside each other. Each love moves in their own pace, as long as needed.
And then there is the concept of time. Because proper magic can only be created when time and energy are invested. And Marquez really invests his time and energy. Page after page, year after year he fills with the experiences that mold and form his characters for better or worse until they are ready to finish their tales and journeys. Love in the time of cholera isn’t a rushed book, it isn’t exciting, it isn’t a story that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until it ends. The story is life, as normal as it can be and because of that it is a masterpiece. This is your story. It is your parents stories. Your neighbours. Your friends. The strangers on the streets. It is life in all its glory and all its wonder. In all its tears and all its laughs. And because of that, it deserves a place in your heart as to keep it beating.
Love in the time of cholera
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.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Love in the time of cholera / Penguin