I got this book a few years ago because it is one of those books that I felt like I had to read. Everyone that I know that read it told me that it is a story of true love, blah, blah, blah. I’m so glad that it turned out to be much more interesting than that.
The story begins with the last day of Dr. Juvenal Urbino’s life. After attending to various obligations, he falls from a ladder while attempting to reach his parrot and quickly dies. After his wake Dr. Urbino’s widow, Fermina Daza, is approached by Florentino Ariza, an old suitor. Florentino declares his enduring love for her and Fermina promptly turns him out of her house, but continues to wonder about him and reflect on the past 50+ years.
The two met when Fermina was 13 and conducted their romance through letters. Her father didn’t feel that Florentino was an appropriate suitor for his daughter and did everything in his power to separate the couple. Despite his efforts, the two continue their relationship for years until Fermina suddenly breaks it off. Florentino doesn’t move on from his love for her, even after she marries Urbino, but does have over 600 affairs while he waits for her husband’s death.
I’m still surprised that I enjoyed this book; it is not at all a typical pick for me. But it is beautifully written and not, in my opinion, really a love story. It seemed to be about obsession more than anything else. Florentino selfishly goes through women just to kill time until he can be with Fermina, thinking very little of the effect that he has on them. And even though he is a massive asshole, I had a hard time putting the book down, which doesn’t happen that often.