Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Twenty-Nine - Love In The Time Of Cholera

Gabriel García Márquez
Love In The Time Of Cholera is about pride - and about prejudice. I underestimated this book, I think because I didn't trust where Marquez was taking me. The last hundred pages flew by. Before that it was simply a discussion of life and love. I see now that Marquez presented clues in all those pages... he told me that one character is desperate without saying he was so. Marquez said it through narrative rather than dialogue, but I got the message. The title is so poignant!

One thing I am continually grateful for is that I was born in an era when women have choices. We no longer live in a time in which we must marry before twenty-two or face the rest of our lives as old maids destined to live with a sibling and his/her family. We can marry yet not lose our identities like the widows of this book who wanted to die when their husbands died because they never had an identity of their own and suddenly were left without the only selves they had known for most of their lives - half of a couple. 
For women there were only two ages: the age for marrying, which did not go past twenty-two, and the age for being eternal spinsters: the ones left behind. The others, the married women, the mothers, the widows, the grandmothers, were a race apart who tallied their age not in relation to the number of years they had lived but in relation to the time left to them before they died.
And woe be unto the widow or widower who wants to remarry! I'm not sure how old you have to be to realize that love has no age limit. It seems that when we're young we cannot imagine anyone over the age of ____ (fill in the blank with whatever age seems old to you right now; that age tends to increase in proportion to your own age) being in love, wanting companionship and/or possibly enjoying a physical relationship.

How do you make love last? How do you get over a lost love? This book discusses so many things - the history of Columbia, deforestation, double standards, business relations, making a "good" match, religion, ceremony, and mostly, life and love.

The calendar provided inspiration for me to finish this one - I want to start David Copperfield for the Two Bibliomaniacs books to movies challenge. Good old Dickens - at least I know what to expect with him. I know that I shall meet a character who is saintly against all odds, bless him.

P.S. In between reading sessions of this book I listened to the audio book of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. It was brilliant!


  1. I'm so glad this one ended up working out for you in the end. Even though the beginning was rough, it sounds like it was worth it in the end.

    I'm starting David Copperfield in July for the Roof Beam Reader readalong. I'm curious to hear how you enjoy it. Which movie version are you planning to watch?

  2. Thanks! I've put the 1999 Masterpiece Theater version in my Netflix queue - it's three hours and stars Maggie Smith and a young Daniel Radcliffe as the young David Copperfield!

  3. I still haven't read any Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have this one and One Hundred Years of Solitude on my shelf, but I find them intimidating and scary! Your experience gives me hope, though, that perhaps if I read one and don't love it, I will at least appreciate it!

  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude is on my list, too. I think I'll be able to get through it now that I know what to expect from Marquez.

  5. I read And Then There Were None when we were kids and still remember it.