Love in the Time of Cholera is an epic saga chronicling the loves of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. It begins with the innocent and clandestine love affair of their youth. Fermina abruptly ends the romance after returning from a prolonged trip away she realises that her love for Florentino was something of an illusion. Her rejection of the hopelessly romantic and slightly awkward Florentino is followed by her marriage to the more pragmatic and self-assured Dr Urbino. The novel then follows the next fifty years of their lives: Fermina’s marriage and Florentinos many strange affairs with other women, before, finally their romance is rekindled in old age.
Cholera, a word that denotes both disease and passion, is a metaphor for the physical and emotional ravages of love. Almost akin to a form of seasickness, Fermina and Florentino on their voyages through life experience many forms of love, its loss and its recapture, before finally setting off into unchartered waters.
Marquez, who had to wait fourteen years to marry his own wife, was inspired to write the story based on own experience and those of his parents. However, whilst this served as material for the earlier parts of the novel, the love that blossoms in later life was inspired by a newspaper story about the death of two Americans, who were almost 80 years old, who met every year in Acapulco. They were out in a boat one day and were murdered by the boatman with his oars. García Márquez remarked that "Through their death, the story of their secret romance became known. I was fascinated by them. They were each married to other people."
The book in the photographs is a first English translation, published by Jonathan Cape in 1998.
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