Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”
The “aromatic fumes” of a lover’s poison lead the way into the story of an unrequited love that survives fifty-one years, nine months, and four days. Florentino Ariza, a man with the soul of a poet and the patience of a saint, has waited more than half a century for his love, the beautiful and “naturally haughty” Fermina Daza–since she revoked her promise to be his wife and married one of their city’s wealthiest men, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, instead.
That half-century is filled with encounters and travel, births, deaths, and poetry. As Fermina Daza and Dr. Urbino build their life together, creating a love based on shared experience, Florentino Ariza builds his own life, remaining loyal to Fermina Daza in his heart, if not exactly faithful, succumbing to 622 “long-term liaisons.” But it is only when Dr. Urbino finally dies that Florentino Ariza’s real life begins.