Sunday, June 5

Love In The Time of Cholera: "A Love Story of Astonishing Power"

Waiting. Patience. Perseverance. These are the three words that come into my mind whenever I remember the book Love In The Time of Cholera written by the award-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My first attempt in reading one of his books was a complete failure. I was not able to finish Onw Hundred Days of Solitude (and not because I didn't like it). For me, the said novel was just too heavy and difficult to comprehend so I gave it up.

Then there was a time when I visited a bookstore to get a copy of Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins. I didn't get lucky as there were already no copies available. I think I was kinda in a good mood to buy a book that day so I opted to browse the novels displayed in the Classic section until I came across Love In The Time of Cholera. Needless to say, I got myself a copy and went home with a happy heart. 

The question now is: "Did I regret buying the book?" Definitely not. I love everything about it. No wonder it was a phenomenal success. What I love about this amazing masterpiece is that it depicted a different kind of love story - the kind of love that is quite tough to find these days. Let's face it. I belong in a generation where every one wants to be handed everything he or she aspires on a silver platter. It seems like no one is willing to work hard for what he or she truly wants. We all want the easy roads. We love less complications. We aspire for things that we can achieve without going through difficulties. When the circumstances start to become unbearable, we quit and never look back. That is who we are. All these years, I thought it was normal until I came across Love In The Time of Cholera. 

When I met Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, the main characters from the novel, I was able to see a different perspective of my  world. Their story was unusual but inspiring. They met at a very young age and fell in love with each other. However, fate was not on their side so they had to part and go on separate ways. Fermina Daza got married to another guy while Florentino Ariza stayed single yet engaged in carnal affairs with different women to heal his broken heart. He was so in love with her that he waited for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days before he made another declaration of his love. During that time, Fermina's husband was already dead.

At first, I found it hilarious. Who would wait for a girl for approximately fifty two long years? He may have engaged in several sexual relations but he was always in love with her! Is that even possible in real life? Who, on his right mind, would do something as stupid as that? It was then I realized I was only convincing myself that it was impossible because the truth is: my idea of love and relationship has been completely fucked up. Thanks to the experiences, circumstances and of course, people who have made me who I am today -- a hopeless-romantic-turned-fearful-of-anything-related-to-love-and-other-shi*t individual. I don't think this is the right post to talk about it so I'll stop here. Maybe one day, I would be able to write more about the said topic.

Anyway, getting back to the book... I must say it is a beautiful work of art. In some way, it made me believe into something again. Apparently, there are other wonderful realities in this life. As what I always say in my articles, one thing I love about reading books is that the characters can affect me in many ways. For Love In The Time of Cholera, Florentino and Fermina taught me that love can be difficult, painful, powerful, beautiful and long-lasting all at the same time. It may be overwhelming but fate will always bring two people, who are bound to stay with each other, together no matter how long it takes. Indeed, as described by Newsweek, it is a love story of astonishing power.

It's a shame that I only read this book last month when it has been out there for years. So if you haven't grabbed a copy of this masterpiece yet, please get one and let Gabriel Garcia Marquez bring you into a world where true love is worth waiting for. This novel actually made be re-evaluate my views with respect to relationships and until now, I'm not sure how to process everything I learned from the author. Whenever I would hear the names of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, I would say "Ah, the love that survived in the time of cholera." Waiting. Patience. Perseverance.

Let me end this post by citing the last paragraph of the book:
”And how long do you think we can keep up this goddamn coming and going?’ he asked.
Florentino Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days and nights.
‘Forever,’ he said.”

Love In The Time of Cholera Book Quotes (My Top 10 Most Favorite)

1. “She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.”

2. “...the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and [that] thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past”

3. “To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of destroying the spell.”

4. “They no longer felt like newlyweds, and even less like belated lovers. It was as if they had leapt over the arduous calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love. They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.”

5. “Take advantage of it now, while you are young, and suffer all you can, because these things don't last your whole life.”

6. “Courage did not come from the need to survive, or from a brute indifference inherited from someone else, but from a driving need for love which no obstacle in this world or the next world will break.”

7. “One had to live a long time to know a man's true nature.”

8.. With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: 'My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.”

9. “Think of love as a state of grace not as a means to anything... but an end in itself.”

10. “The only thing worse than bad health is a bad name.” 

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