I am not a sucker for romantic novels. I did not even read any of the Sweet Valley High series when other teens of my age had fallen head over heels for them. However, like any other human beings, I have a case of exception to my own convention. There is this one romance novel, which I have liked in my teenage years up to this date: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.
Love In The Time of Cholera: The Unconventional Romance Novel
Love in the Time of Cholera is one of many Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books translated in English and has been read by millions of people around the globe. It was originally written in Spanish, Garcia Marquez’s mother tongue, in 1985 and made into a movie in 2007.
“Love in the Time of Cholera” revolved around the love story of protagonists Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza who, by virtue of societal and cultural etiquette, waited 51 years before acting upon their repressed affection for each other. The death of Fermina’s husband paved to the most-awaited part of their love story, when they were aged, wrinkled, and close to being immobile. Like in the first part of their love story, the second part did not unfold without opposition. Ofelia, Fermina’s only daughter, did not approve of her mother’s blooming relationship with Florentino. To Ofelia, the relationship was disgusting and a tarnish to the Urbino’s good name. Dr. Juvinal Urbino, Fermina’s dead husband, was a physician from a reputable family who found favor before Fermina’s father, Lorenzo Daza. Lorenzo loathed Florentino and persuaded Fermina to forget him and marry Dr. Urbino. Fermina gave in to her father’s wishes but not with Ofelia’s, never the second-time around. Fermina’s sentiments were captured in this line, “A century ago, life screwed that poor man and me because we were too young, and now they want to do the same thing because we are too old.” Against the will of her daughter, she befriended Florentino, and they eventually became lovers, reminding readers, that, “love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.”
The novel’s strength rested on its simple plot enriched by Garcia Marquez’s vivid account of life’s complexities. Garcia Marquez utilized narration and the universal existence of love to touch the pressing issues of justice, civil war, social strata, and health. “Love in the Time of Cholera” is a love story imbedded in a social realism perspective – magical romanticism within the bound of reality. The novel’s palpable depth adorned with familiar events, caught my attention and earned my admiration, in those years when teen flicks and novels turned me off.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The Unconventional Novelist
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, born in 1928 in Aracataca, Colombia, is a literary genius whose written outputs range from novels, short stories, and screenplays to journalistic text. His deep yet connectable approach to universal life issues like love, solitude, justice, and health made him one of the most influential and most renowned authors of the 20th century. Three years before the publication of Love in the Time of Cholera, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in recognition of another critically acclaimed novel, the One Hundred Years of Solitude. Garcia Marquez’s other novels and works of art include but not limited to Living to Tell the Tale, No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, The Autumn of the Patriarch, News of a Kidnapping, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Leaf Storm and Other Stories, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and In Evil Hour. He currently lives in Mexico and continues to write his thoughts into literary pieces worthy of analyses.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and His Realistic Magic Realism
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is popularly known for magic realism, a film, visual art, and literary genre, characterized by obscure utilization of fantasy and reality. In magic realism, the fantasy is seamlessly webbed to the reality component of a piece of art that it becomes a part of the perceived reality of the target audience. The said approach is present in the majority of Garcia Marquez’s writings. In Love in the Time of Cholera, Garcia Marquez did not employ his usual fantastic slant present in his other writings. The mystique effect of the novel, however, came from Garcia Marquez’s ingenious and intense incorporation of social issues to the narratives of his supposed mundane subject. He elevated the subject of love by allowing his central characters, Fermina and Florentino, to confront the cholera-like effects of their own revolting love affair.
Love in the Time of Cholera is a romance novel I can see myself reading 51 years from now, provided I am still alive and still have the vision to support my one great vice – reading. Like its theme, the novel has the capacity to endure time, to take meaning according to its reader’s construction of experience and knowledge, and to create magic in the most realistic way. Like its protagonists, the novel has predilection to age beautifully and to express the unconventional and unacceptable when necessary. Aged and gray haired, I can see myself sitting on a rocking chair, dozing off to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magic land with his Cholera novel lying on my chest.
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. Love in the Time of Cholera. Translated by Edith Grossman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1988.
Holden, Stephen. "50 Years and 600 Women Later, True Love." The New York Times, (November 2007). http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/11/16/movies/16chol.html
Pelayo, Ruben. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.
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