Almost, but not quite: Love in the Time of Cholera and The Fifth Agreement


“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Well Bookstravaganza is officially over! And I have two books left, with a couple hundred pages between them! So close, but yet I feel better knowing I have more time to savour them! To think I could practice an entirely new sort of reading feat by reading only a sentence of each every day…. Hmmm. Anyway I felt it was duly unfair to not mention them, especially since I had included them in my goals at the beginning of this competition. And as per the secondary motivation (or is it the first?) for Bookstravaganza: spreading the love of knowledge, I want to share them with you.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my most loved writers, but funny enough I like to read his stuff with years between them. His writing is like chocolate – the richest most divine sort of chocolate that requires as much time in between for my palette to cleanse, to avoid a quick binge and Marquez hangover. I love his writing so much so that I forget that it’s translated — one of my greatest sorrows remains in the sole fact that I will never understand his true chosen words nearly as much as the translated ones.

So far I am loving Love in the Time of Cholera. Sand already fills the cracks in the pages. The novel follows Florentino in his quest of love for Fermina, who sadly marries a doctor and forces Florentino to wait for her. Like a typical man he doesn’t wait in abstinence, but beds over 600 women to soothe his aching heart. Like Marquez’s usual characters, the characters of this novel are pretty messed up, and are not mean to embody any sort of ridiculous ideal of perfect love usually sold and packaged to us in chick flicks and Disney songs. Love is messy, it’s messed up, and more often than not it feels like it really fucking sucks. But in the women Florentino encounters and sleeps with, he discovers different shades and different types of love still worthy of his heart. His life isn’t completely wasted waiting for Fermina. I believe the love of her actually opens his heart to more love, and I wish more people would realize this while they pine for a lover and even when they “accidentally” find themselves in bed with a rebound. The word rebounditself is ridiculous – how can we rebound from a state we find ourselves in? I don’t believe the heart becomes emptier after rejection, it is a thing which is always full yet always has more room. A complete and utter conundrum.

I find with Marquez I have to stop the over-analyzing. I am tired of breaking stories down for their xenophobic or patriarchal undertones. I despise Florentino so much that I come to adore him. And I prefer it this way. I am relieved I have this book to carry me into 2014. It definitely will be reread constantly in the years to come.

I still have The Fifth Agreement too! A lovely little book I have been reading this one bit by bit, slowly savouring Ruiz’s wisdom. And I take the agreements with me, into a new year, like a mantra:

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
5. Be skeptical, but learn to listen.

It’s really up to you to decide how the future will go and how we can make a new year better. Nonetheless I wish you the most abundance in knowledge for the year ahead! Happy reading in 2014! Cheers!


2 responses to “Almost, but not quite: Love in the Time of Cholera and The Fifth Agreement

  1. “I don’t believe the heart becomes emptier after rejection, it is a thing which is always full yet always has more room. A complete and utter conundrum.”

    Yes!!! This is my favourite book of all time (depending what day you ask me) and I just love your take on it. As someone who used to rebound A LOT this makes so much sense. 🙂

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