Not only have I been really bad at reading lately, I’ve also been neglecting this ! I bought Love in the Time of Cholera at an airport after I couldn’t find the book I’d intended to take on holiday with me (which to be honest was probably for the best because it was Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and I’ve been putting off reading it for years). I did think that it would be a good holiday book because I was expecting it to be fairly dry and thought extended time on planes/trains would force me to get through it, but as is often (happily) the case, I was pleasantly surprised.
The novel starts with the death of Fermina Daza’s husband, falling off a ladder as he tries to recapture his pet parrot. This gives Florentino Ariza the opportunity to restate his love for her, a love he has harboured for (I can’t remember completely but something like) 50 years – since their brief, secret, mostly letter-driven affair when Fermina Daza was a young girl; the details of which are then recounted as we learn of both Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza’s lives, up to their present. To be honest there were several points in the story when I thought it was going to finish because I couldn’t see what would happen next – despite being able to physically see that the book was not nearly over – so there were quite a few twists and I really enjoyed reading it – all the more so, I suppose, because I’d had such low expectations.
I think these poor preconceptions may derive primarily from Ted in How I Met your Mother referencing it repeatedly as the book his dream girl would be reading – and I think he’s a very dull character – and maybe because it’s a title which I know is esteemed but maybe more as a “you should have read this but you won’t actually enjoy reading it”. Either way it puts me in quite good stead to hunt down One Hundred Years of Solitude also by Gabriel García Marquez – which I think is another title I was previously similarly dreading.