Review: Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel García Márquez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love in the Time of Cholera / 0-14-011990-6

On the face of it, "Love in the Time of Cholera" would seem to be the biographical telling of the life of a man who experiences every type of love there is - passionate love, quiet love, unrequited love, angry love, insane love, young love, old love, adulterous love, and thousands of other flavors of love.

The main character, Florentino, seduces and is seduced by thousands of women and - taken literally - no, this is not a great guy. His adulterous affairs end messily, in one case with the murder of the unfortunate woman, and he grieves less for her than he worries for his own safety. Another affair ends after the jealous other man destroys all the furniture in the lady's house - Florentino finds that without the sumptuous furnishings, he is no longer attracted to the poor lady. He seduces his underage ward, and then leaves her distraught and emotionally abused when his 'life love' is suddenly widowed. Florentino is a breezy wind, blowing through womens' lives quickly and forgettably.

Yet I do not believe this tale is meant to be taken literally. It is a metaphor for every possible flavor of love. One man experiences all these loves in a way that a real human never could - who has the time or energy? - in order to provide a "control group" if you will for us to observe his responses in each situation. His selfishness and self-delusion are exaggerated here that we may see our own self-delusions in love. We would not be as cruel or as heartless as Florentino can sometimes be, but we CAN be cruel and heartless in smaller, similar ways.

~ Ana Mardoll

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