Love in the Time of Cholera was a Bad Time

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 2.2

Quick Links from the Episode

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)

He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.

Gabriel Garcia marquez, Love in the time of cholera

Main Points from the Episode

  • What were our overall thoughts/impressions of the book? Hahahaaa….so. Let’s simplify and say that we both kinda hated Love in the Time of Cholera. Paige was most bothered by the character, Florentino Ariza, who she (accurately) describes as a predator, but who is presented as a hero in the story. Jennifer was stymied by the fact that she had to listen to this as an audiobook, which ruined the effect of the writing style for her. Both of us were very confused about why this book is often touted as an inspiring romance.
  • Does Fermina Daza love Florentino Ariza? Does anyone actually love anyone else? Categorically we agree that Florentino Ariza does not love Fermina Daza, rather he is obsessed with her, which is a different thing altogether. However, it is trickier to decide if Fermina loves either Florentino or Juvenal Urbino. Is this just a matter of comfort? The stability of knowing another human well and the ability to be yourself around them? Fermina is such a fascinating character, and despite being given a lot of time in her head, it is still not clear what Fermina feels other than occasional bursts of anger.
  • How do the book and movie compare? As for the movie, choices were made, and they were not good ones. Poor Florentino was aging wildly throughout the movie in ways the other characters did not, in addition to a weird switch of actors from young Florentino to slightly older Florentino (played by Javier Bardem). Characters were added in, while other important characters from the book – mainly Leona Cassiani – were written out. The subtlety of the relationships was completely lost. While some of the cinematography was breathtaking, this was overall a flop for BBE. However, if we are weighing book and movie, at least the movie was shorter? All jokes aside, it is clear that the book is of much higher quality (don’t walk away from this thinking Marquez cannot write well), it just comes down to the fact neither of them were for us.
The two love birds Florentino and Fermina, as played by Javier Bardem and Giovanna Mezzogiorno in the feature film.

Coming up next time, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy any of the books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!