Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez
First Release Date : March 12, 1988
Publisher : Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition
Paperback Release Date : October 30, 2007
Publisher: Vintage Books
Pages : 368 pages
As you start reading through the first few pages, you know you are in the hands of a master writer. This is a beautiful old-fashioned love story, the kind with a rare level of passion, perhaps almost incomprehensible to today’s egocentric driven modern culture.
It is a story of a love that spans almost a lifetime in the strange but persevering character of Florentino Ariza, who as a youth, is struck by love when he spies the enigmatic Fermina Daza. He woos her, wins her for a time, but as fate and youthful caprice would have it, loses to her to a marriage with a more worldly and accomplished Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Despite his personal devastation, Florentino continues to love Fermina with a constant yearning for 51 years and through 622 affairs, which teaches him that there is not just one way to love nor only one person you can love; but there can only be that one true love. Florentino Ariza’s incredible depth for passion and obsession drives him to live for this woman and experience a love that endures the test of time.
But the story is not just all about Florentino Ariza’s invariable fervor, which is central to the plot. There is also the sub-story of Fermina’s and her husband, Juvenal Urbino’s love that started out simply as affection and which, through the years of marriage, grew as deep as in any blessed union.
There are many other little “loves” in this book that makes for a very romantic epic but one refreshingly devoid of mush. It owes its flavor to Marquez’s formal lyrical style which charms the reader to breathe in his moving, romantic prose. This is the type of book that you may want to go back to, after a while — for a little paragraph here and there, just to find the pleasure once more of absorbing exquisite phraseologies, the style of which I find quite unique to the author.
For incurable romantics, this is a perfect book for the heart. This is the stuff of nobility, where love is tenacious and its hope, eternal. I have yet to read a romantic masterpiece that can rival this one. It is written with such rich language and with such powerful evocative feelings that you will have missed something if you haven’t yet picked up this book. It’s just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
My Mark : Excellent
Note: I just wanted to point out that personally, I found the affair between a minor and an aged Florentino quite disturbing and offending. This is the only part I wish the author did not let his character stoop to. But perhaps, he wanted Florentino to have tried all sorts of love — even those that have no prejudice toward age. This, however, does not change my overall opinion of the book which is to say, that this book is a GEM!