‘Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Arizo’s impassioned advances and married Dr. Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half century, Florentino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn
his eternal love to her, he lives for the day when he can court her again.
When Fermina’s husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives?’
So reads the back cover and whilst it gives you the plot of the book, it in no way prepares you for the sheer joy of the actual reading experience. This is a book for language lovers, the rhythmic prose has a poetic quality and I found myself on many occasions rereading the same lines just for the sheer joy of hearing them again.
What you are getting for your hard earned currency is a beautifully written love story, a celebration of love in all its forms. But of course no love story would ever be complete without a bucketful of melancholy, which runs in tandem with love throughout the book. Really though the scope is wider than either of these two emotions and is more a celebration of life in all its complexity and absurdities. The sheer scope of the work is immense and coupled with the intricacies and the exploration of the psychology of the characters makes this a real masterwork.
The Caribbean setting really gives the book a sense of intoxication and is a fantastic backdrop which also mirrors the changes of Florentino and Fermina throughout their lives. This really is a book to take your time with, a slow burning work of immense passion and coupled with 100 Years of Solitude, it’s no surprise to see why Márquez won the Nobel prize for Literature.