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Fine Art in Marquetry
" Love in the times of cholera" (El amor en los tiempos de colera) Novel by Gabriel
Garcia Marquez

If you were born in Latinoamerica you’ve probably been seduced more than once by the magic realism, the style used for some
Latin-American writers in their novels. It seems to be a contradictory expression (if it is real is not magic, or, as Jorge Luis Borges
thought, realism was not a literary style) but we enjoyed the way these writers gave life to the characters in the stories. There were
not demarcation lines between what seemed real and what seemed fantasy; the words were so convincing and prestigious that
everything seemed plausible, even when there was no explanation in the world of reality. The Mexican Luis Leal gave perhaps
the best definition when he said, “In fantastic literature, in Borges for example, the writer creates new worlds, perhaps new
planets. By contrast, writers like Garcia Marquez, who use magical realism, don’t create new worlds, but suggest the magical in
our world.
That kind of literature, those real and simultaneously magic stories where, for example, love could last for an entire life without
being corresponded, where a steamboat could navigate for ever in a tropical river, where every critter is a protagonist of a sub-
story interacting with the human characters, is what inspires my work. It is not that I try to ‘illustrate’ the novels, in this case Garcia
Marquez’s  ‘Love in the Times of Cholera’, but rather be inspired by the themes I liked most or that seduced me -although not
always a very pleasant ones-.
Hanging images of tropical plants, dogs, cats, butterflies, parrots, cacatuas, even of an alligator eating a butterfly, among other
figures, constitute a challenge for the viewer, who must invent his/her own story finding links –or the lack of links- among the
images themselves and what could be possible in a real world.
On the other hand, I think it’s an esthetically experience that transmits joy and helps to widen the vision of our daily routines and
common life adding some magic to it.  
The tools of Dr. Juvenal Urbino.
At 81, Dr. Juvenal Urbino arose at the crack of dawn,
when he began to take his secret medicines: potassium
bromide to raise the spirits,salicylates for the ache in his
bones when it rained, ergosterol drops for vertigo,
belladonna for sound sleep. He took something every
hour, always in secret, because in his long life as a
doctor and teacher he had opposed prescribing
palliatives for old age: it was easier for him to bear other
peoples' pain than his own.
that killed
talked in
s. He
taught by
The trips
when her
that used
to cry in
used to
l lover
and her
back was
by his old
lover's cat
even  if it
gloves at
his request
The days were easy for Florentino Ariza
as he sat at the rail, watching the
motionless alligators sunning themselves
on sandy banks, their mouths open to
catch butterflies. He endured the journey
with the mineral patience that had
brought sorrow to his mother...
They convinced Florentino Ariza the telegraph
was the profession of the future, so he went to
Villa de Leyva to take the employment  as a
telegraph operator, a city more than 20days'
journey away...
Widow Nazaret had
its blouses
decorated with
butterflies. She had
enough tenderness
to make up for
what she lacked in
marital arts.
's smell
was in
the air in
o Ariza
The scent of
gardenias stayed
around, wherever
Florentino Ariza
went after the
wedding of Fermina
Daza and
Dr.Juvenal Urbino
Ariza found
that even a
was a very
good place to
make love  
during the hot
Daza loved
the tropical
forest that
Finally, Florentino Ariza and  Fermina
Daza, admiring the Caribbean forest
and fauna, talking and making love,
went  up and down the river without
stops, with the black cholera flag
shining at the pole of the steamboat
This is a transcription of parts of the article by Mr. Pynchon - (Link above)

HERE'S what happens. The story takes place between about 1880 and 1930, in a
Caribbean seaport city, unnamed but said to be a composite of Cartagena and
Barranquilla - as well, perhaps, as cities of the spirit less officially mapped. Three major
characters form a triangle whose hypotenuse is Florentino Ariza, a poet dedicated to love
both carnal and transcendent, though his secular fate is with the River Company of the
Caribbean and its small fleet of paddle-wheel steamboats. As a young apprentice
telegrapher he meets and falls forever in love with Fermina Daza, a ''beautiful adolescent
with . . . almond-shaped eyes,'' who walks with a ''natural haughtiness . . . her doe's gait
making her seem immune to gravity.'' Though they exchange hardly a hundred words face
to face, they carry on a passionate and secret affair entirely by way of letters and
telegrams, even after the girl's father has found out and taken her away on an extended
''journey of forgetting.'' But when she returns, Fermina rejects the lovesick young man after
all, and eventually meets and marries instead Dr. Juvenal Urbino who, like the hero of a
19th-century novel, is well born, a sharp dresser, somewhat stuck on himself but a terrific
catch nonetheless.
For Florentino, love's creature, this is an agonizing setback, though nothing fatal. Having
sworn to love Fermina Daza forever, he settles in to wait for as long as he has to until she's
free again. This turns out to be 51 years, 9 months and 4 days later, when suddenly,
absurdly, on a Pentecost Sunday around 1930, Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies, chasing a parrot
up a mango tree. After the funeral, when everyone else has left, Florentino steps forward
with his hat over his heart. ''Fermina,'' he declares, ''I have waited for this opportunity for
more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and
everlasting love.'' Shocked and furious, Fermina orders him out of the house. ''And don't
show your face again for the years of life that are left to you. . . . I hope there are very few
of them.''
Dr. Urbino, like his father before him, becomes a leader in the battle against the cholera,
promoting public health measures obsessively, heroically. Fermina, more conventionally
but with as much courage, soldiers on in her chosen role of wife, mother and household
manager, maintaining a safe perimeter for her family. Florentino embraces Eros, death's
well-known long-time enemy, setting off on a career of seductions that eventually add up to
622 ''long-term liaisons, apart from . . . countless fleeting adventures,'' while maintaining,
impervious to time, his deeper fidelity, his unquenchable hope for a life with Fermina. At
the end he can tell her truthfully - though she doesn't believe it for a minute - that he has
remained a virgin for her.
So far as this is Florentino's story, in a way his Bildungsroman, we find ourselves, as he
earns the suspension of our disbelief, cheering him on, wishing for the success of this
stubborn warrior against age and death, and in the name of love. But like the best fictional
characters, he insists on his autonomy, refusing to be anything less ambiguous than
human. We must take him as he is, pursuing his tomcat destiny out among the streets and
lovers' refuges of this city with which he lives on terms of such easy intimacy, carrying with
him a potential for disasters from which he remains safe, immunized by a comical but
dangerous indifference to consequences that often borders on criminal neglect.
The widow Nazaret, one of many widows he is fated to make happy, seduces him during a
night-long bombardment from the cannons of an attacking army outside the city.
Ausencia Santander's exquisitely furnished home is burgled of every movable item while
she and Florentino are frolicking in bed.
A girl he picks up at Carnival time turns out to be a homicidal machete-wielding escapee
from the local asylum.
Olimpia Zuleta's husband murders her when he sees a vulgar endearment Florentino has
been thoughtless enough to write on her body in red paint.
His lover's amorality causes not only individual misfortune but ecological destruction as
well: as he learns by the end of the book, his River Company's insatiable appetite for
firewood to fuel its steamers has wiped out the great forests that once bordered the
Magdalena river system, leaving a wasteland where nothing can live. ''With his mind
clouded by his passion for Fermina Daza he never took the trouble to think about it, and by
the time he realized the truth, there was nothing anyone could do except bring in a new
There are still delightful and stunning moments contrary to fact, still told with the same
unblinking humor - presences at the foot of the bed, an anonymously delivered doll with a
curse on it, the sinister parrot, almost a minor character, whose pursuit ends with the death
of Dr. Juvenal Urbino. But the predominant claim on the author's attention and energies
comes from what is not so contrary to fact, a human consensus about ''reality'' in which
love and the possibility of love's extinction are the indispensable driving forces, and
varieties of magic have become, if not quite peripheral, then at least more thoughtfully
deployed in the service of an expanded vision, matured, darker than before but no less
"THERE comes a moment, early in his career at the River Company of the Caribbean
when Florentino Ariza, unable to write even a simple commercial letter without some kind
of romantic poetry creeping in, is discussing the problem with his uncle Leo XII, who owns
the company. It's no use, the young man protests -''Love is the only thing that interests
me.'' ''The trouble,'' his uncle replies, ''is that without river navigation, there is no love.'' For
Florentino this happens to be literally true: the shape of his life is defined by two
momentous river voyages, half a century apart. On the first he made his decision to return
and live forever in the city of Fermina Daza, to persevere in his love for as long as it might
take. On the second, through a desolate landscape, he journeys into love and against time,
with Fermina, at last, by his side."