Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Sublime and complex
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry the wealthy, well-born doctor Juvenal Urbino after rejecting Florentiono, he is devastated, but he is a romantic; and as all romantics go, he stands by his love unwaveringly. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in as many as 622 affairs in a flimsy pretext of keeping his mind away from her, yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty one years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he does so again.
A sublime story about love at first sight with smouldering glances, nocturnal serenades, and passionate love letters, all set in a steamy sub-tropical setting, this is the ultimate romance novel ever penned down. But it’s so much more than just an exotic melodrama or ‘just’ a romantic novel! Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera portrays the tension between illusions and reality in the context of love.
In the novel’s final pages, when Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza are finally together in their old age, we are told that love "was more solid the closer it came to death".
This statement exemplifies Garcia’s method of ambiguous storytelling Rs instead of saying what love is, this circling around love gives the quality of capturing the ineffable. Hence after completing the book, one would feel that this book has aptly described ‘love’ as it is, better than any other book or elegy before; yet gives you the unnatural feeling that Garcia has conveniently eluded us from describing love and played around its many whims.
When Florentino tells Fermina, “I’ve remained a virgin only for you”, and in light of his many trysts and affairs, in what sense could this be true other than an imaginary one? When asked how long their ship will sail, Florentino answers, “Forever”, as if to specifically deny the reality of death. But “forever” here might also connote something entirely different as well.
It implies that their love, which took as long as 53 years for Fermina to take notice would rise above the ravages of time and continue to exist in the chasm called eternity. And like a skilled storyteller Garcia leaves it up to the readers to decide what kind of “forever” he meant by forever, and whether the ship really kept sailing till then.
Garcia has woven a complex and lovely tale of two estranged lovers, whose fate resonated with that of unrequited love only to unite again fifty three years later when everything in the world had ceased to mean anything for them, death being the only window of piety out.
This rich, foreboding and imaginative tale of love is a must read for everyone who wishes to invigorate their soul, but be aware!
Don’t mistake it to be a mere melodramatic tale of romance, it is so much more.
Read the book to find out.
Srijita Datta, Coordinator,
Class XII, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School
Shreya&’s eighth: Smita Jee
Insight into a youngster&’s heart
The first book in the ‘Three Sister Monthly Countdown Series’, Shreya&’s eighth is the story of a young girl who is turning eight years old in a month&’s time. Smita Jee has spun a beautiful tale of this young girl and her preparations for her birthday celebrations.
The book stretches the span of a month, and includes all types of thoughts that race in the mind of Shreya, who is a perfect portrayal of an ordinary youngster, with all the whimsical thoughts and elements of realisation that make them who they are. In the span of the month, Shreya experiences many ups and downs while trying to execute her grand plans and in the end, comes out shining.
An enjoyable read for youngsters, the book also has several delicious non-fire recipes that can be easily prepared by kids under 10. The author&’s love for food, storytelling and children is quite evident in this piece of work. All in all, the book provides a beautiful insight into the heart and mind of a youngster.
Utsav Jain, ex-St Joseph & Mary&’s