Love in the Time of Cholerais not an engrossing love story as some will tell you; it is nothing more than a brilliant essay on the illusions of love. Set in the late 1800′s, Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza, they have a three year long affair in letters and then she ends it with one short phrase: “What is between us is nothing more than an illusion,” and then marries another. Fifty one years, nine months, and four days later, her husband Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies and her teenage flame Ariza presents himself again at the funeral. Despite all his many sexual affairs throughout his life he has supposedly saved his heart all these years for Fermina Daza alone.
Much like Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Florentino Ariza is in love with soap operas and romance novels, so much so all his letters to Daza when they are young read just like one. He is so involved with the idea of romance after Fermina’s rejection of him he makes a pass time writing love letters for other couples. Ariza is all youthful passion and intensity saying, “Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.” Needless to say, he’s all swoon and flowery words as he makes his way into the bed of over six hundred women in the course of his life while pretending to be faithful to only Fermina. None of the women know about the others and each is told that she is his first and only, perpetuating Ariza’s illusion of himself that he is a heart sick and loyal love puppy in need of nurturing.
In the mean time, Fermina Daza has married a very clinical man, its no mistake that Garcia has written this character to be a doctor by profession, who is overly concerned with appearances. Dr. Juvenal Urbino...
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