Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Love in the Time of Cholera - post I

There is something about the way that Garcia Marquez takes apart the normal structure of a novel and rebuilds it in a way that makes you think about the development of a story in a different way.

You put all your concentration into an 81 year old doctor who is sketched out in quite a lot of detail and there are 50 pages spent building this character and his world up before the rug is pulled from your feet ands you find that the real story could be coming from a different direction.

Bullet points between pages 3 – 72

* The focus of the opening few pages is the discovery of a suicide and the calling to the scene of a aged doctor, Dr Urbino, who happens to have been a friend of the victim and makes sure that the suicide is kept secret and the burial takes place quickly

* The friend, Jerimiah de Saint-Amour has left him a note that really disturbs the doctor because it contains not only the revelation he has had a mistress but that he was an escaped convict who in his time had resorted to cannibalism

* Dr Urbino then goes home and his wife Fermina Daza, who it is revealed he has had a strained relationship with as they grow old, and you discover that he has become weaker and more infirm as the years have gone by but he still dominates the town

* He has a talking parrot that is quite a local attraction and it escapes and in a moment when it loiters in the trees Urbino climbs up to get it but slips and crashes down to the earth and after telling his wife he loved her more than she knew he dies

* Then the story shifts dramatically as a man steps forward to the widow – Florentino Ariza and declares his undying love for Fermina – and the story goes back to a summer when the two young people were in love and he had asked and had his proposal of marriage accepted

Quite where it will go from here is not clear but that is the beauty of Garcia Marquez…

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