Posts Tagged ‘grad school’

Love in the Time of Cholera After two years of highly academic reading, it can be hard to read books without placing them in a literary context or analyzing the theoretical implications of the plot. Garcia Marquez, however, is the perfect escape from all that. First, it is in translation, so no fair doing close textual analysis on the English version (and I don’t speak or read Spanish). Second, I know next to nothing about Colombian literature, and very little more about Caribbean literature in general, so I have no context in which to lose the book.

Third, Garcia Marquez’s phenomenally rich plots, deeply layered metaphors, and heartbreakingly human characters don’t just allow me to lose myself in his sensual, gorgeously prosaic world; they force me to lay aside my skepticism, my academic lenses, my critical questions. Unlike the nineteenth-century literature that I’m used to and the childrens literature I love to study, Garcia Marquez’s books don’t have good characters or bad characters. The protagonists do nearly unforgivable things, while the apparent antagonists become confusingly lovable.

Love in the Time of Cholera’s vision of love is so expansive, so physical and intellectual and literary and inclusive, that there is no temptation to root for one lover over another, one definition of love over another. Garcia Marquez allows for the complexity, confusion, and ambiguity of real love and the intense disorientation of aging–but by his ending you only feel more grounded, more sure, and more found than before. View all my reviews.

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