I recently picked up a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera written by Gabriel García Márquez, 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.