Written on: 13/03/2005 by Stuart Woledge (1 review written)
This novel is a very well-written and is an entertaining read. Set on the Caribbean Sea in the early 20th Century, the tale is simplistic in its nature, but fascinating from the outset.
One of the finer points of the novel is that much is left to the imagination of the reader. It is, perhaps, uncharacteristic then, that when the novel finishes, it does so leaving nothing to the imagination. A small point, however, and there is little to disappoint here.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera is essentially a love story, although not in the conventional sense of the term. The story spans a period of over fifty years and concentrates on the lives of two individuals: Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. It would be wrong to suggest that there are only two main characters in this book; there are many more. However, the novel follows these two main characters on a journey through life. All other characters exist in relation to these two.
The essential theme of the book is that of unfulfilled love. The sensitivity of Florentino Ariza, a serial monogamist and distinctly dislikeable character is a central theme of the story. This contrasts with Fermina Daza's sense of honour and profound effeteness to create a suspense that starts early and continues practically until the end.
Love is the continuum. Whilst people and their bodies decay over time, love remains. The question is: is it love or merely infatuation? If it is love, then it is love of the idea that someone is a certain person, not necessarily love for that person. In this case it is imagination and the way that things should be, rather than the way in which they actually are.
We know more about Florentino Ariza's love than we do about Fermina Daza's. Florentino Ariza is a hopeless romantic, selfish and obtuse. He has many relationships with women of all ages and backgrounds, but he is incapable of loving any of them because of his "love" for Fermina Daza, a person who he hardly knows.
For her part, Fermina Daza loves her husband, Dr. Juevnal Urbino. But this is not a passionate love and it is not a love that knows no boundaries. Her love for her husband is a love borne out of duty, responsibility and security. This is the love that most of us who have ever loved are probably most familiar with, rather than the passions of love that we all desire.
The book is brought to life using attractive language and subtle imagery. At times it becomes almost poetic in its delivery. Like all good literature it provides a commentary on the peculiarities of the human condition and the environment within which we live.