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To procrastinate I was typing up some of the book I’m working on. The story is supernatural in nature and as I was writing about how I had a feeling I should not write the story and that something wasn’t letting me despite having new ribbon and perfectly functional keys the only key that would type anything was the period. Just ……. What the actual fuck. So yeah, that was my day.

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Love in the Time of the Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Synopsis:

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.

Note: 3.5/5

Review:

In this coming-of-age novel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez transports us into the lives of Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza, showing us their love stories in the South America of the late 19th century-early 20th century.

While the writing is absolutely beautiful, Garcia Marquez can describe places and changes with mastery; the story made me quite conflicted. To give you an idea of the writing quality, here are two quotes from the novel:

Worldly goods: security, order, happiness, contiguous numbers that, once they were added together, might resemble love, almost be love. But they were not love, and these doubts increased her confusion, because she was also not convinced that love was really what she most needed to live.

All that was needed was shrewd questioning, first of the patient and then of his mother to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of Cholera. The doctor prescribed infusion of linden blossoms to calm the nerves and suggested a change of air so he could find consolation in distance but the man longed for just the opposite, to enjoy his martyrdom.

While there are many examples of Garcia Marquez’s talent throughout the novel –he didn’t win a Nobel Prize in literature for nothing. Yet, the actions described as “loving” are particularly problematic when they’re read with today’s perceptions. As a matter of fact, the best example of this is the whole character of Florentino Ariza.

Straight from the beginning, Florentino Ariza’s “love story” with Fermina Daza starts with him stalking her, waiting for her, and observing her outside her house. The stalking of Fermina Daza never ceases throughout the length of the book. Then, as soon as Fermina Daza’s husband, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, dies, Florentino Ariza goes to her house to renew his vow of eternal love. Later in the book, he told her he had remained a virgin for her.

Yet, while she was living a happy married life, he definitely didn’t stay a virgin. First, he lost his virginity when he was raped by a woman. After the rape, he developed feelings of love for that woman, even though he never learned for sure who she was. A similar situation happens with a woman falling in love with her rapist later in the book.

To continue on the topic of rape in the book, we can also read a moment when Florentino Ariza raped on his housekeeper and then sent her away as she fell pregnant from the rape. While his niece of fifteen years old was in his care, he committed statutory rape; he was already in his sixties or seventies. He literally made her “fall for him” by letting her indulge in whatever she desired so he could “make love to her.”

While I understand that, when the book was written, the topics of rape were not discussed like they are nowadays, it still feels like Garcia Marquez is romanticizing rape in this novel. So, while I was enjoying the author’s writing skills, I was also disturbed by how rapes and stalking women were glorified.

Amazon link

If you’ve read the book, what was your opinion?

readinginprocess
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Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

1868

Translation: Louiss and Aylmer Maude

If you are a book lover, a lover of literature, especially historical literature, some works instantly stand out as a rite of passage. Tolstoy’s War and Peace is one of those works. Many book lovers are intimidated by it. “What is War and Peace? It is not a novel, even less is it a poem, still less a historical chronicle. ” This massive work spans about 20 years during the Napoleonic and the disastrous invasion of Russia. Tolstoy, not satisfied with the way history has been written, he sought to to establish a novel way of writing history, making the line between fiction and non-fiction even thinner. Through the lives of the tens of characters we meet, especially the 5 aristocratic families, the Rostóvs, the Bezúkhovs, the Bolkónskis, the Karágins, and the Drubetskóys, along with many real life historical people, Tolstoy attempts to demonstrate how the sweeping motion of history affected, even connected, the lives of hundreds of thousands, millions, between periods of war and peace.

Many will find it hard to follow through with the novel as it has no central “human ” character, yet to me, history itself is the main protagonist of War and Peace. This main protagonist affects every single person and place we encounter. History to Tolstoy isn’t the work of a few influential people who “change its course”. Neither Napoleon nor the Tsar changed the course of events with their actions. The continual locomotive motion of history will take every one with it, so someone like Napoleon won’t have a bigger influence than a common soldier.

But what of the characters? Tolstoy immersed me in the world of War and Peace. He doesn’t romanticize his characters, and it the really grow on you with their naturalism. This is a very immersive work not just by the richness of his Tolstoy’s descriptions, but also in his portrayal of the characters, their interactions with each others, and eventually their arcs. It was a little difficult to follow through at the beginning due to the book’s structure, but eventually I always awaited to see what will happen to this or that person.

As much as I loved War and Peace, I can see how it’s not for everyone. Yet if you are patient with it, not only it will give you important historical insights, but also you will enter into a profound discussion with Tolstoy on human nature and our place in the world.

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