Guys. I have found a classic that I have not only enjoyed, but LOVED! Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Nobel prize winner, and frankly I'm really not surprised considering the writing in this book - possibly the best I have ever read. The characters feel distanced as if you are watching from afar (similar to Nick Carraway in TGG) yet you feel shocked, surprised and sympathetic at the events and happenings.
There will be spoilers in this review because it'd be really hard to talk about it without giving something or other away! Sorry!
The writing in this is stunning. Flowery, but not so that it gets in the way. I adored wading through the pages, especially as every single line is important, there are no redundant paragraphs as something key happens in all of them. This makes for 'active reading' as I have now dubbed it, as I find with many contemporary YA novels (don't get me wrong, I love them) you can pretty much be reading subconsciously. What I mean is that you don't have to be listening to what you're reading, whereas in this book, you can't just take in the words, you take in the words and compute them. This has DEFINITELY improved my reading. At the start, I knew it was somewhere between easy YA stuff and harder, older stuff where I mostly don't really get what's going on. I understood it, but it took some effort. By the end, I could read it fluidly and it almost felt like learning a language. I'm sure that when I come to read harder classics, this 'step up' as I picture it will have helped me to enjoy them more.
In this book there are 3 main characters: Fermina Daza, Dr Juvenal Urbino and Florentino Ariza. If I could ask the author a question, I'd ask him why he chose to use their full names 99% of the time. Anyway, I thought that the characters were really distinguished and I looooovvveeddd reading about them. Starting with Fermina Daza, I thought the way she turned around one fateful day and with a snap of the fingers realised she didn't love Florentino Ariza anymore was really fickle and unthoughtful. However, when it describes her Domestic Goddess/House Wife slogs under her husband, you do feel some sympathy for her, though she does sometimes seem a bit cold. Dr Juvenal Urbino seemed like a man who just wanted to conform with society. He was an eminent medical person and he settled down with Fermina, had some kids and died at an old age. He wanted a normal life which, apart from how everybody in the nearby area loved him and the mass mourning when he died, he basically had. But then you find out he cheated on Fermina even though she was faithful and loyal to him and everything changes. You feel sorry for Florentino Ariza and his misfortunes in love, but he raped a maid who then had to go elsewhere and marry a sweetheart to cover everything up, which in itself you could write a side-novella about. When you read about this, the total feminist in you comes out and would slap Ariza with a brick if he was stood in front of you, but in the time it was set all that was ok. Also, he has a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old when he's around 60 himself who he's supposed to be the guardian for, and he doesn't tell her parents when she begins to fail all her tests and get up to other bad stuff, and then she kills herself and he misses her funeral and decides to escape it all on a riverboat. What. Having been scolded by the fire of love before, he tries and fails to console himself in the arms of other women, and although it doesn't mention it, he probably had every STI going.
So you see, if you decided to carry on reading even if you've never read the book and now basically know the story, you should definately read this because I rate it 1,000,000,000 / 5 stars.