I’ve known about this book for a very long time now, but truthfully the horribly uninspiring title conjures up an incredibly bad trek down some well-worn tropes and cliches. Since his death not too distant past, Marquez’s books have been recommended to me by readers I respect, so when this one turned up in a sale I just grabbed it. And recently I thought I may as well try it out. I braced myself for a snorefest, but this book turned out to be one of the best books I’ve ever read.
It’s not easy to explain why. I risk boring people with any attempt at a synopsis, because I actually tried it and bored myself. But the story is written with a tenderness that I hadn’t expected, filled with emotion and grace. The story traces the paths of two (plus one more) people, and intertwines their fates together in a beautifully crafted story that’s about love, life’s journeys and destinations, what we want and what we settle for, and death. Florentino Ariza is by no means paragon of virtue, but it’s a life lived.
It’s a book that I would never have touched and appreciated 10 years ago. I couldn’t have, since I don’t have the maturity/experience needed to like what I find here.
The books ends with a sentence that left me breathless. The entire novel seems geared towards that one final word, and what an incredible impact it made.
I loved the book. This was not expected. This bloody thing sneaked up on me and caught me unawares. Recommended.