Love In The Time Of Cholera : Popular Penguins
ExtractIn reality, Fermina Daza knew very little about this taciturn suitor who had appeared in her life like a winter swallow and whose name she would not even have known if it had not been for his signature on the letter. She had learned that he was the fatherless son of an unmarried woman who was hardworking and serious but forever marked by the fiery stigma of her single youthful mistake. She had learned that he was not a messenger, as she had supposed, but a well-qualified assistant with a promising future, and she thought that he had delivered the telegram to her father only as a pretext for seeing her. This idea moved her. She also knew that he was one of the musicians in the choir, and although she never dared raise her eyes to look at him during Mass, she had the revelation one Sunday that while the other instruments played for everyone, the violin played for her alone. He was not the kind of man she would have chosen. His foundling's eyeglasses, his clerical garb, his mysterious resources had awakened in her a curiosity that was difficult to resist, but she had never imagined that curiosity that was difficult to resist, but she had never imagined that curiosity was one of the many masks of love.
She herself could not explain why she had accepted the letter. She did not reproach herself for doing so, but the ever-increasing pressure to respond complicated her life. Her father's every word, his casual glances, his most trivial gestures, seemed set with traps to uncover her secret. Her state of alarm was such that she avoided speaking at the table for fear some sip might betray her, and she became evasive even with her Aunt Escolastica, who nonetheless shared her repressed anxiety as if it were her own. She would lock herself in the bathroom at odd hours and for no reason other than to reread the letter, attempting to discover a secret code, a magic formula hidden in one of the three hundred fourteen letters of its fifty-eight words, in the hope they would tell her more than they said. But all she found was what she had understood on first reading, when she ran to lock herself in the bathroom, her heart in a frenzy, and tore open the envelope hoping for a long, feverish letter, and found only a perfumed note whose determination frightened her.
At first she had not even thought seriously that she was obliged to respond, but the letter was so explicit that there was no way to avoid it. Meanwhile, in the torment of her doubts, she was surprised to find herself thinking about Florentino Ariza with more frequency and interest than she cared to allow, and she even asked herself in great distress why he was not in the little park at the usual hour, forgetting that it was she who had asked him not to return while she was preparing her reply. And so she thought about him as she never could have imagined thinking about anyone, having premonitions that he would be where he was not, wanting him to be where he could not be, awaking with a start, with the physical sensation that he was looking at her in the darkness while she slept, so that on the afternoon when she heard his resolute steps on the yellow leaves in the little park it was difficult for her not to think this was yet another trick of her imagination. But when he demanded her answer with an authority that was so different from his languor, she managed to overcome her fear and tried to dodge the issue with the truth: she did not know how to answer him. But Florentino Ariza had not leapt across an abyss only to be shooed away with such excuses.
'If you accepted the letter,' he said to her, 'it shows a lack of courtesy not to answer it.'
That was the end of the labyrinth. Fermina Daza regained her self-control, begged his pardon for the delay, and gave him her solemn word that he would have an answer before the end of the vacation. And he did. On the last Friday in February, three days before school reopened, Aunt Escolastica went to the telegraph office to ask how much it cost to send a telegram to Piedras de Moler, a village that did not appear on the list of places served by the telegraph, and she allowed Florentino Ariza to attend her as if she had never seen him before, but when she left she pretended to forget a breviary covered in lizard skin, leaving it on the counter, and in it there was an envelope made of linen paper with golden vignettes. Delirious with joy, Florentino Ariza spent the rest of the afternoon eating roses and reading the note letter by letter, over and over again, and the more he read the more roses he ate, and by midnight he had read it so many times and had eaten so many roses that his mother had to hold his head as if he were a calf and force him to swallow a dose of castor oil.
Series: Popular Penguins
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st September 2008
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 18.1 x 11.3
Weight (kg): 18.1
Edition Number: 1
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Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera
is a brilliantly crafted, beautifully written story of love and the
love-sick. Spurned as a young man, Florentino Ariza has a half century
of waiting to fill before a chance to redeclare his love for Fermina
Daze comes, when her husband is killed retrieving a parrot from a mango
tree. Funny, poignant and heartfelt - enduring and unrequited love have
rarely been more movingly expressed.
About The Author
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in 1927 in Aractaca, Colombia. His most recent book, Memories of my Melancholy Whores (2005), is his first new novel to be published in a decade and is now available in paperback from penguin. He is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories, including Leaf Storm (1955); One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967); The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975); Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989).
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.