Love in the Time of Cholera

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” (Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

 I have to admit that I wasn’t really sold on this book for the first hundred or so pages. Perhaps I came to it with too many expectations after loving One Hundred Years of Solitude as I did, but it seemed slightly irrelevant to my non-adolescent emotions. Yet, as I read further into the book, it became clearer to me that Love in the Time of Cholera documents not just the mad passion of teenage love, but also the domesticity of married life and the rekindling of identity and amour in old age. It seems now like a guidebook to love indexed by age instead of gender, culture or any other variable that may have seemed more relevant.

Even so, this is a book that should not necessarily be saved until your mid-twenties. I think many a teenager would benefit from the large scope of this book, which might help to make up for lack of experience, and also be able to identify with the mad passion of the character’s early years. For some reason* I have always identified this book as being a Very Serious Adult book, but the book, and the YA audience, might benefit from a re-marketing.

Beverage: Either whole thermoses full of thick coffee, or a mixture of exotic black teas, depending on whether you are on the unrequited love team (the former) or against it (the later).

Reminds me of…  Strangely enough, Love In the Time of Cholera does not resemble One Hundred Years of Solitude as much as I thought it might. It lacks the extreme magical realism that the later had, although the scope of both is beautifully grandiose.

*Probably because of the incredibly steamy love scene on pg 159. If you are going to read this book, plan to read this page somewhere other than the subway.

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5 thoughts on “Love in the Time of Cholera

    • You must be referring to the post about The Ghost Map a few weeks ago, where I said that it would be interested to see how a nonfiction book about Cholera would affect my reading of this one. The Ghost Map explained the psychology of people living in a time when an unknown disease could kill a whole neighborhood in a week, which was helpful to understanding the general setting and atmosphere of the time, but otherwise Cholera had a strange, twofold relationship with love here. Firstly, one of the main characters exhibited choleric symptoms as a result of a love, and secondly, the cholera flag was flown in order to disguise an affair in old age. In both of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books that i’ve read, the relationship between the titles and the content could be the subject of rather long papers. Whew, I hope that answered your question – or made you curious enough to read the book for yourself!

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