Love in the Time of Cholera

Book Review

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“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of unrequited love.”

That is the first sentence of the novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It tells you all you need to know about what is to follow. For this is a novel of unrequited love and about all the other kinds of love as well. And they are many. There is the central love triangle between Floerntino Ariza, Fermina Ariza, and Dr. Juvenal Urbino. But there are other kinds of love too: old and young, faithful and unfaithful, respectful and shameful, sexual and chaste, and everything in between.

Bitter almonds always remind me of death. That is also what this novel is about. Old age and death. One character takes his own life at age 70 rather than living to become old and feeble. Other characters live into their 70s and 80s and suffer all the ailments of old age lovingly detailed by the author.

Cholera features heavily in the book as the title suggests. This was a time when cholera was endemic to the geographic setting of the novel. It breaks out many times during the course of the book, causing death and motivating characters to move, and creating a constant state of fear. It is also a metaphor for love. One of the main characters falls ill several times throughout the novel and it is said of him, “The symptoms of love are the same as those of cholera.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez spins his magical tale like a spider spins a web, each sentence a silken thread that creates a web of intrigue that ensnares the reader’s imagination and draws them into the fold of the story.

When Florentino Ariza is denied the love of his life, Fermina Daza, when she marries Dr. Juvenal Urbino, he vows to wait for her. He realizes it might be a long wait. He realizes he might have to wait until her husband dies, which he does 60 years later. Meanwhile, Florentino wastes no time getting involved with other women, always in the hopes of finding something that resembles love, but without the problems of love.

When Florentino visits the Widow Nazaret, she proclaims, “I adore you because you made me a whore.”  He taught her that nothing one does in bed is immoral if it perpetuates love. “One comes to the world with a predetermined allotment of lays and whoever does not use them for whatever reason, one’s own or someone’s else’s, willingly or unwillingly, loses them forever.” A tragic loss I might add.

Every character Is drawn with intricate detail both inside and out. From the time Florentino first falls in love with Fermina, when Dr. Juvenal Urbino is struck by the lightning of his love for Fermina, until 60 years later when Florentino has her finally in his grasp after Juvenal falls to his death at age 81 from a tree trying to catch a wayward parrot, each character having lived a life in full. At last Florentino and Fermina are together as they cruise up and down the river Magdalena, under the flag of Cholera, in the last phase of their own lives, “forever.”

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-Wig

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 “Get up Angel. You look like a Pekingese.”

 

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“Let’s get out of this rotten little town.”

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This is the way love feels….

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 On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double scotches. They didn’t do me any good. All they did was make me think of Blue-Wig, and I never saw her again.

LOVE

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my fabulous Word Press friends!

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Love from Louisville

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Goddess of Love

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Amour From Philadelphia

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City of Brotherly Love

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Love from Big Lou

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Love from the Big Apple

TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE

 

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I have crossed oceans of time

To be with you

There must be

Time enough for love….

Two hundred years for each breast

A thousand for the rest

And if we find rubies by the Rhine

So much better love can find

The way to stitch our hearts

For we are greater than our parts.

 

THE SHAPE OF WATER

 Movie Review

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“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.”

That line from an unknown poem pretty well defines the movie, The Shape of Water.

Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water is pure movie magic. It is hard to peg exactly where this genre movie falls, but since del Toro was heavily influenced by Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)I’ll start there. This movie is much more than just a horror film. It is a period piece, a romantic thriller, and a spy movie, all wrapped into one. It explores the timeless themes of loneliness, alienation, isolation, being different from others in an intolerant society, and yes, falling in love with the other.

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Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito

Sally Hawkins plays disaffected and lonely janitor Elisa Esposito. She works at a Aerospace research facility in Baltimore with her friend Zelda, (Octavia Spencer). Elisa is mute and communicates with the world in signs. The time is 1962 at the height of the cold war. Sometime while working her shift a specimen is brought into the lab that had been captured in the Amazon and is worshiped by the natives as a god.  The creature is described by the military as the “asset.”

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This asset is a humanoid type creature that Elisa is able to befriend. She discovers that he is intelligent and communicates with him in sign language.  They develop quite a relationship together. When the creature becomes endangered Elisa plots to set him free in a rain canal in Baltimore. But first she smuggles him out of the facility and into her small apartment where she keeps him in her bathtub. While there they fall in love.

The creature has a curious way of glowing in blue colors when stimulated and is a marvel to watch.

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Spoilers ahead:  The military, in the form of Colonel Richard Strickland, is hot on their trail. He gets to the canal just as the creature is about to make his escape. Strickland shoots both the creature and Elisa. Miraculously the creature is able to heal himself of the gunshot wounds (he is a god after all) and also to heal Elisa. He grabs her up and leaps into the canal. He gives her gills so that she may breathe underwater and presumably they are able to live happily ever after.

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I just loved this movie. This is why you go to the movies. You keep going to see movie after movie, hoping you will see one that you can connect with, hoping to see a movie as good as the best movie you ever saw, wanting to hit that high mark one more time, but seldom ever making it. This is Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to Hollywood and he has copied it to the rest of us. It is genius.

The Shape of Water jumps to the top of my Best Movies of the Year list for 2017. I give it a 10/10. The only other movie that I rated that high this year was Blade Runner 2049. I am not sure which one will get the top slot, but I have to admit, I am a sucker for a good loves story.

TRUMP LOVES HATE

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First Trump said Obama was the worst president in history

Then he said what a great man he was

Next he will try to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn

Then some swamp land in Florida

He will bark you down like at a gypsy at a carnival

Try to sell you Christmas cards in June

The ship of state ain’t real estate it’s is now a ship of fools.

Frank and Elise

So when I got my concealed carry permit the other day I was struck by two things. One, I didn’t have to show any ID for the permit. Second, it dawned on me that now the Kentucky State Police had a record of me on file stating I was a gun owner. A record which included my address. How this is different than gun registration escapes me.

I was contemplating these facts when I came home to find my young friend Elise lounging on the couch in the living room. She was staying with me a few days until Ricardo got sprung from the joint. I knew she would be going back to him soon but I wanted to keep her with me as long as possible.

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“Oh, Hi Elise! Hey, I just got my concealed carry permit! I am really excited.”

“That’s great Frank! Now you can ride your horses and shoot your guns!”

“That’s right! Maybe I could ride the horses out where you put Ezra, your German Shepard. You could turn me out to pasture too!”

“Don’t say that Frank.”

“I was just joking. Not about Ezra, but about me. I can do that. Make jokes about myself.”

“I know. But it’s not true.”

“I know. Sometimes you have to laugh about these things in order not to cry.”

“You know Frank, some of us are just doing the best we can with what we have.”

I know Elise. I know. I still love you anyway. Now what’s for dinner?