Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Thursday, July 24, 2003

BOOKS : Love in the time of cholera : A review.



Every one of us has been in love. You, me, the person next to you. You think you know what love is. That selfless love, the selfish love, the endless love, the ended love, the lustful love, the narcissist love. Like threads of the same fibre, yet, each retaining it's distinct identity. And yet, when you read "Love in the time of Cholera", a thousand questions come to mind. A book, on which you cannot help but form an opinion. A book, which twists all those different threads to form a colourful quilt, a quilt that has no beginning and no end. A quilt that envelopes you with that warmth like no other can.

There are a few defining books on subjects such as love. Most pan out into sorry tales, reflecting the misery or the passion that love brings. Yet to carry love in all it's forms through 350 pages of flowing, descriptive text takes the hand of GGM. I don't read classics, somehow the language is too overpowering. But GGM captures a simplicity in the surroundings and the story which makes compelling reading.

The book starts slowly and many a person has given up reading because of the lack of pace. A parrot occupies 5 pages of perspective and an incident takes you through 225 pages of background reading. The name seems morbid to people, but the cholera is more as a representation of the times and the symptoms and the surroundings rather than the disease.

Simply put, it is a book of an adolescent love that remains unrequited in the heart of one spirited man for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days. Simply put, it is a book that captures how a lot of us lead our lives - loving the wrong person whereas casting away the love that we get in a moment's fancy.
The book is set in a Carribean/South American setting in the late 1890s. GGM wraps time, beauty and base emotions very powerfully. The book is a reflection of the time and the setting.. there's no hurry to get going anywhere.

So here's my recommendation: If you're the quick reader, this book isn't for you. If you want a page turner, this book isn't for you. If you don't appreciate flowing narratives without speech, this book isn't for you. If you think that you understand love completely, this book isn't for you.
But if you appreciate good language, you appreciate the basest of human emotions and if you're looking at all sides of the story, GGM's "Love in the time of cholera" is a must read.

P.S. If you don't appreciate it after reading 100 pages, drop it. You'll never like it.

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