Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera is an epic love story, notable as much for its romanticism as for its unflinching gaze towards the vagaries of love's many faces. For those who scoff at or discard the literary love story, paradoxically, this is the book for you. Set in the seductive Caribbean during the mid-nineteenth century, Marquez's novel explores love in all its manifestations, from the vertigo of idolatry to the dirty dishes of marriage, and his portraits resonate exquisitely for anyone who has nursed this human inkling. Marquez never cheapens love nor falsifies it; on the contrary, he sees love's glory, or lack thereof, with an unerring eye. His portrait of marriage between his two protagonists, Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Fermina Daza, includes such observations such as "The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast." Interestingly, Marquez reveals an astute viewpoint towards the female predicament in marriage: Fermina Daza realizes she is nothing more to her husband than "a deluxe servant;" she feels she is trapped in his "holy service." Nor is Marquez oblivious to the bland atrocities committed by a husband: Dr. Juvenal Urbino proclaims meals prepared "without love;" he never deigns to pick anything up, turn out a light, or close a door. Marquez is a man who observes without bias the diurnal stalemate of a marriage lived daily. He concludes that "nothing in this world was more difficult than love." Marquez does not limit himself to the domestic pitfalls of marriage. Florentino Ariza, another man who figures prominently in this incognito Caribbean city, has loved Fermina Daza inexorably for fifty-three years, seven months, and eleven days. His love is fervent and never falters. Yet, before one chalks his devotion to an unlikely romanticism, the love Florentino Ariza fosters towards Fermina Daza is not idealized. Notwithstanding the hundreds of women he frenetically possesses during his admirable wait for Fermina Daza's widowhood, he is hardly a hero of unblemished character. At a very advanced age, he exploits his position as guardian of a 14-year old girl for physical love. Ultimately, when Florentino Ariza is granted the holy audience of Fermina Daza, he abandons the girl, who commits suicide. Towards the novel's conclusion, Florentino Ariza is very old, a victim of festering bed sores and unfettered constipation. Marquez's omniscient eye (or nose) describes the stench of the two elderly lovers as a "henhouse." Despite, or perhaps because of, these prosaic details, the reader does not doubt the authenticity of the feelings presented. Love, in Marquez's lush, grand novel, is made truer because of, not despite, its human frailties. Would also recommend the book ------THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG by Slavin for a FUNNY read that's nothing like this one.