I was originally going to do a joint review of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche and Anatomy of an Epidemic
but that will have to wait until next week as news of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s death reached me last night.
That’s why, in honour of a great mind lost, I want to take a look at two of his most famous works. I know Marquez had been sick for many years prior to his death and unable to write, that’s why I want to celebrate the work of this great author and hopefully get some new readers enchanted by his poetic style.
Reading Marquez one feels transported into the lives and world of the characters, saying that his stories stick with you is an understatement. I read “One hundred Years of Solitude” years ago and still find myself thinking about it. The story combined with his style just carries the reader along and gives them the feel of an intimate observer.
Having read “Love in the Time of Cholera” recently I want to take a quick look into this humorous story of seduction and love. Opening with the line “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” the reader is drawn into this tale of two different kinds of love.
There is the spiritual deep love felt by Florentino Ariza for Fermina Daza and there is the more practical love and marriage between Fermina Daza and Juvenal Urbino. With the main tale focusing on Florentino Ariza’s quest to win the affection of Fermina Daza the reader is brought to question if it is truly a love story or a story of seduction? Is the end goal for Florentino really love? Or is his a journey of conquest?
With a style that flows and draws the reader into the heat and humidity of the unnamed Colombian city in which it takes place we watch this grand affair play out. Blending humour and slapstick style comedic scenes I caught myself chuckling out loud as I read. It is a light book and generally a fun read, and does not have that dark feel that one finds in “One Hundred Year of Solitude”.
With one of the most famous opening lines in literature, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” hooks the reader and doesn’t let go, even years after putting it down. This is one of those books that really stayed with me, I remember the characters as if I was really there with them.
It’s a tale that revolves around one family and one town, following their fortunes and misfortunes. I would recommend reading this before “Love in the Time of Cholera” as it has a dark tone to it that is cleansed by the sun and humour of the later work. I can’t say much that hasn’t already been said about this, just find a copy and read it before the summer gets here. It is a book for spring or fall, not for summer and not dark enough for winter.
It is always sad to lose a great mind in literature, but we will always have his work, an amazing author is immortal.