Love in the Time of Cholera

Written by Gabriel García Márquez (trans. Edith Grossman)
Review by Ann Oughton

Florentino Ariza fell in love with Fermina Daza the first time he saw her when he delivered a telegram to her father. She was only thirteen years old and closely chaperoned by a maiden aunt, but true love will always find a way and the pair manages to correspond by letter. Fermina’s father discovers their secret, and, furious, he takes his daughter away from the clutches of the telegraph operator who can only be interested in her fortune. Fermina marries Dr Juvenal Urbino but, although Florentino takes other women, he continues to love Fermina from afar. Fifty-one years, nine months and four days later, Dr Urbino dies after falling out of a mango tree trying to retrieve his parrot, and Florentino’s hopes are raised once again—Fermina is a free woman.

Set in a Caribbean seaport between 1880 and 1930, this is a magnificent story of undying love, a love against all odds, and questions about whether passion can be rekindled in the winter of life. Marquez explores the many aspects of love, life and death in the most intimate moments as each character’s story is skilfully intertwined It is sad, amusing and utterly compelling.