Love in the Time of Cholera is a celebration of life over death, love over despair, and health over sickness. It is the story of Florentino Ariza, who was rejected by Fermina Daza in his youth. He maintains a silent vigil of unrequited love for fifty-one years, nine months, and four days, until he meets Fermina again at her husband’s wake and renews his suit. The novel spans a period from the late 1870’s to the early 1930’s, and it is set in a South American community modeled after Cartagena, Colombia, and besieged by civil wars and plagues.
Florentino, an eighteen-year-old apprentice telegraph operator, sees thirteen-year old Fermina and falls madly in love. Fermina’s father finds out and sends his daughter on an extended trip to remove her from temptation. She returns years later, rejects Florentino, and accepts the proposal of a cultured physician and cholera specialist, Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Although Florentino continues to love Fermina throughout the years, he also continues his own social relationships—engaging in 622 long-term liaisons, which he records in a series of notebooks—and becomes president of a riverboat company. Then Florentino learns that eighty-one-year-old Juvenal has died, falling off a ladder trying to capture a condescending, bilingual parrot. Although Love in the Time of Cholera does not have the extended fantasy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, touches of unexpected, delightful humor—like the...
(The entire section is 603 words.)