Love in the Time of Cholera

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction
Secondary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Annotated by:
Wear, Delese
  • Date of entry: Feb-18-1997
  • Last revised: Jan-08-2007


This novel by the Nobel-prize winning author chronicles the half century of love entwining three people: Florentino, a poet and businessman who has remained unmarried and has been in love with Fermina, who has had a long, sturdy, reasonably satisfying marriage to Juvenal, a prominent physician and one of the most illustrious men of his time. After fifty years of unrequited love, Florentino declares his love once again to Fermina, now a widow. They become lovers, finally, on a boat cruising up a river without cargo or passengers and with a phony yellow plague flag flying to avoid every port and all human contact.


In its final pages, this novel attends to a great unspoken in the youth-oriented culture of North America: sexual intimacy between two old people. Once on the boat, without hurry, they went beyond the pitfalls of passion, because "they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death."

Yet there was sensuousness. They spent "unimaginable hours holding hands in the armchairs by the railing, they exchanged unhurried kisses, they enjoyed the rapture of caresses." And she "accepted with pleasure" when Florentino "dared to explore her withered neck with his fingertips, her bosom armored in metal stays, her hips with their decaying bones, her thighs with their aging veins." All this they did without guilt or shame, in spite of her shocked middle-aged children at home who believed that "there was an age at which love began to be indecent." Happily for both, Fermina does not back away: "They can all go to hell . . . . If we widows have any advantage, it is that there is no one left to give us orders."


Translated by Edith Grossman.



Place Published

New York



Page Count


Secondary Source