December 27, 2010

Love In the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I have just finished reading Love in the Time of Cholera but I do not know how to rate it. I read umpteen reviews about it to see how others felt about it. Most of the people seem to have mixed feelings about the book too and do not seem to know whether to love it or hate it. I didn’t love it, definitely not, but I was struck by something within it.

The book was not an easy read for me and had me googling a lot to read about Caribbean culture, history and life, which I found particularly interesting. I liked the manner in which the story is woven and the way in which the plot unfolded, but did not find the style of narration much to my liking. The narration in third party did not help much at all and I did not find myself being able to connect with any of the characters in the book.

The book is about young Florentino Ariza and his passionate love for the beautiful Fermina Daza. However, Fermina’s father opposes the relation and takes her away for a year. When she returns, she is disillusioned at the sight of Florentino who was eagerly waiting for her and gets married to one of the most eligible bachelor, Dr.Juevnal Urbino. Florentino cannot get over his love for her and decides to wait patiently and optimistically for her. Opportunity comes his way after Fermina’s husband dies falling from a mango tree while trying to save his parrot. Florentino approaches her and tries to win her back after more than half a century.

None of the main characters, Florentino Ariza , Fermina Daza or Dr. Urbino,were likeable. Florentino comes across as a selfish and self destructive man at the same time. I found him very boring, with a shallow personality, totally wasting his life lost in love.  His sexual escapades were quite revolting, especially the affair with the young girl who he was guardian to and all those other hapless widows. I could not find any reason why Florentino found Fermina different or better than all the women he came across. I could not understand why, in the first place, he was not giving himself a chance to love any of the others. Also I did not understand why the author was depicting all the widowed women out there as desperate. The detailed explanation and narrative also was quite boring at times and had me sighing a lot! Any by the way, what was the relevance of the character of Jeremiah Saint-Amour. Probably to show that death is an inescapable finality of life!

My husband was left wondering why I was laboring over a book if I was not able to enjoy it. But I could not explain to him why I did not feel like leaving the book mid way through, and why on the contrary, I was immersed in it. Probably because I still have a thing for love stories! Probably, a re-read and a better analysis at a later stage will help me to understand and love the book better. Hmmmm.. deep down, I feel this is a book to be loved. I just have to learn to love it!  and yes, I will revisit this one once more!

And in the meantime, any of you who have read the book and loved it, please throw some light on this for me, will you?


Mystica said...

Thank you for an honest review here. Thanks also for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

That seems to be an interesting book this happened with me once too .. there was this book called fallen angels by tracy chevalier . i didnt love it but i had to read it in its entirety . I write book reviews often .my blog is the way ur writing style is very likeable..its so light

Sandhya said...

@ Mystica - :)
@ karanvohraart - Thanks. Now off to read you blog!