Synopses & Reviews
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
"his shining and heartbreaking novel may be one of the greatest love stories ever told." The New York Times Book Review
"A sumptuous book...[with] major themes of love, death, the torments of memory, the inexorability of old age." The Washington Post Book World
Soon to be a major motion picture from New Line/Stone Village Pictures, this movie tie-in edition of the bestselling book traces an exceptional half-century story of unrequited love.
About the Author
Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1927. He attended the University of Bogotá and went on to become a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. He later served as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, he is the author of several novels and collections, including No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The General in His Labyrinth, Strange Pilgrims, Love and Other Demons, and most recently, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, as well as the autobiography Living to Tell the Tale.
Reading Group Guide
1. Why does García Márquez use similar terms to describe the effects of love and cholera?
2. Plagues figure prominently in many of García Márquezs novels. What literal and metaphoric functions does the cholera plague serve in this novel? What light does it shed on Latin American society of the nineteenth century? How does it change its characters attitudes toward life? How are the symptoms of love equated in the novel with the symptoms of cholera?
3. What does the conflict between Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Florentino Ariza reveal about the customs of Europe and the ways of Caribbean life? How is Fermina Daza torn between the two?
4. Dr. Urbino reads only what is considered fine literature, while Fermina Daza immerses herself in contemporary romances or soap operas. What does this reveal about the authors attitude toward the distinction between “high” and “low” literature. Does his story line and style remind you more of a soap opera or a classical drama?
5. After rejecting Florentinos declaration of love following her husbands funeral, why is Fermina eventually won over by him?
6. Why does a change in Florentinos writing style make Fermina more receptive to him?
7. What does Florentino mean when he tells Fermina, before they make love for the first time, “Ive remained a virgin for you” (p. 339)?
8. Why does Florentino tell each of his lovers that she is the only one he has had?
9. What does Florentinos uncle mean when he says, “without river navigation there is no love” (p. 168)?
10. Do Fermina and Dr. Urbino succeed at “inventing true love” (p. 159)?
11. Set against the backdrop of recurring civil wars and cholera epidemics, the novel explores death and decay, as well as love. How does Dr. Urbinos refusal to grow old gracefully affect the other two characters? What does it say about fulfillment and beauty in their society? Does the fear of aging or death change Florentino Arizas feelings toward Fermina Daza?
12. Compare the suicide of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour at the beginning of the book with that of Florentinos former lover, América Vicuña at the end. How do their motives differ? Why does the author frame the book with these two events?
13. Why is Leona Cassiani “the true woman in [Florentinos] life although neither of them ever knew it and they never made love” (p. 182)?
14. When Tránsito Ariza tells Florentino he looks as if he were going to a funeral when he is going to visit Fermina, why does he respond by saying, “Its almost the same thing” (p. 65)?
(Used by permission of Penguin Books.)
"A rich, commodious novle whose narrative power is matched only by its generosity of vision." -The New York Times
The introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your groups reading of Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez masterful novel of unrequited love.