I've had a wreck of a week, but my test-streak just ended so I'm about to go on a serious reading rampage. I'm currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; this is a book I considered picking up a while ago but could not stand. Now, I'm hooked.
It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
How poignant, right??
[note from the future: I've just finished the book and Daza and Ariza meet under an almond tree... almonds everywhere...so this brilliant first sentence did have foreshadowing intentions]
So far so good - Urbino is a fascinating (but not very likable) character. He is a self-deemed devoted catholic, he hates animals (yet tolerates a parrot? Further expatiation on the parrot's significance will come later), and he seems to live off his reputation (background information: he was a doctor and is now incredibly wealthy). He is also a health-nut and at 81 years of age, is obsessed with longevity (and due to this he has sketchy medicinal routines) which is interesting because the book opens with the suicide of one of Urbino's close friends, Jeremiah Saint-Amour, who was determined to die at age 60; I'll delve into this as the book progresses.
The setting of this novel is relevant; it's a colonial city ("illusion of memory") and although Urbino (who lives in more of a high-profile residential area) is detached from it, after reading Jeremiah's note he is obliged to plunge into "the city drowned in memories." So, there is a sense of readers being taken back in time, back into the time of cholera...
Urbino despises animals yet diligently trains a parrot who is afforded "privileges that no one else in the family ever had." Many would visit Urbino to hear his talented parrot sing. Even after the parrot refused to sing for the president (why?), it still maintains its privileges. Why, why why? We'll find out.
LOVE is going to be a theme astoundingly expressed in this novel, I can foresee it... readers are already exposed to the relationship between Urbino and his wife which seems to be a "mutual dependence [... more based] on convenience" that with the decline of age, has also declined "beyond the reach of pity." Their gravest argument was over soap - Urbino's wife will not back down. Their love is "mythical and perverse" (the word 'darkness' is stressed many times in the passage that explores their relationship); how does the love between Jeremiah and his lover differ? We will find out.
OK enough vague rambling, off to read now...