Monday, 21 April 2014

Reliving Love in the Time of Cholera

When Love in the Times of Cholera was published, the New York Times wrote about the novel, “An anatomy of love in all its forms….”
But the novel opens with the mention of unrequited love. Its first sentence is, “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
The hero of the novel is Florentino Ariza. When young, he falls in love with Fermina Daza. But her father is against the relationship and wants Fermina Daza to marry a medical doctor, Juvenal Urbino. Obeying her father’s diktat, Fermina Daza marries the doctor.
Florentino Ariza is patient. He waits. How long? Fifty-one years, nine months and four days.
When Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies in a freak accident, Folorentino Ariza, 76 and still single, once again proposes to Fermina Daza. The funeral is just over and he tells her, “I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.”
The excerpt is from the first chapter. It ends with the sentence – Only then did she realize that she had slept a long time without dying, sobbing in her sleep, and that while she slept sobbing, she had thought more about Florentino Ariza than about her dead husband.
The New York Times, on publication of the novel, had said – “An anatomy of love of all its forms….” Perhaps unrequited love is also a form of love.
Newsweek in its review had rightly said, “A love story of astonishing power….”  True. For ultimately love wins over unrequited love.
For me, Love in the Time of Cholera is celebration of love.
Newsweek had also said, “….Admirers of One Hundred Years of Solitude may find it hard to believe that Garcia Marquez can have written an even better novel. But that’s what he’s done.”
I have read both novels.
One Hundred Years of Solitude holds me in awe. But I have relived Love in the Time of Cholera.  
May be still, I am still reliving. That’s the difference between the two books. 

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