Gabriel García Márquez was often affectionately referred to as "Gabo" in Latin America. Born in Colombia in 1927, he died in Mexico City in 2014. Many critics consider him to be the greatest writer that South America has ever produced.
That being said, I had never read any of his six novels until this very month. The one I picked was "Love in The Time of Cholera", first published in 1985. To be honest, I picked this one simply because I was intrigued by its title.
It is colourful, passionate, observant and quirky and Edith Grossman who translated the text from its original Spanish did an excellent job of processing García Márquez's authorial voice into English.
The novel spans sixty years in a sleepy, post-colonial Colombian port. The key players are Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. It takes a lifetime of letters and waiting and diversion before their love can finally be consummated. Apparently, their story was somewhat inspired by García Márquez's parents' protracted love story.
Of course, I could bore you silly with a detailed plot summary but I won't do that. Instead, I will just give you a glimpse of García Márquez's characteristic command of language with this quotation from near the end of the novel when in old age Florentino and Fermina are at last beginning to see the way ahead:
They were both intimidated, they could not understand what they were doing so far from their youth on a terrace with checkerboard tiles in a house that belonged to no one and that was still redolent of cemetery flowers. It was the first time in half a century that they had been so close and had enough time to look at each other with some serenity, and they had seen each other for what they were: two old people, ambushed by death, who had nothing in common except the memory of an ephemeral past that was no longer theirs but belonged to two young people who had vanished and who could have been their grandchildren. (page 305/306)
I very much enjoyed "Love in The Time of Cholera" and plan to read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" before too long. Maybe some visitors to this blog discovered Gabo long ago but I have only just found him.
How strange! I've just started reading this............ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did Libby. It has an eccentric edge to it.Delete
A Colombian friend of mine gave me a copy of Love in The Time of Cholera and was super proud to do so. I should read it again.ReplyDelete
I wonder how old you were when you received that gift Kylie.Delete
I've read both and found them fascinating.ReplyDelete
The book I read was indeed "fascinating" but also enjoyable.Delete
That passage from the book was a bit too close to home for me, lolReplyDelete
You and Tom have spent a lifetime together whereas Fermina and Florentino had to wait over fifty years to get together.Delete
Apart from the having nothing in common, luckily we have a lot in common and a lot to talk about.ReplyDelete
Many a year has passed by since I've read any of his books...perhaps it's time to renew our acquaintance!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the prompting, Yorkie. :)
You are welcome Lee.Delete
His novels are a wonderful read and his autobiography reads like a long excerpt from one of his novels.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the confirmation Alphie.Delete
And you have reminded me that perhaps it is time for me to revisit his work. Thank you.ReplyDelete
There are plenty of books that I should revisit now that I am older. I am sure I would see some of them very differently.Delete
If I ever feel the need to read a novel again, I think I might like to try one of his books. That is the highest praise I can give to a work of fiction. Just read a comment above, his autobiography...that is for me!ReplyDelete
I read a lot of good quality fiction between the ages of sixteen and twenty four. Now at sixty five I believe that the reading of some of those novels would be very different.Delete
I read and loved both of those books, but I'd give a slight edge to "One Hundred Years of Solitude." That's one of my favorite novels. You'll love it!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the confirmation Steve.Delete
When I started work at Ludwigsburg city library, "Cholera" was a brand new book and very popular. It passed our serving counter back and forth countless times. Still, I have never read any of Gabo's books, and my TBR pile never seems to diminuish...ReplyDelete
Perhaps you can earmark a week for it in - shall we say - 2024?Delete
Sounds like a good story. I will look for it.ReplyDelete
Try looking in bookshop or a library Red.Delete
I haven't encountered this author's work before - will watch for it.ReplyDelete
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature.Delete