Gabriel Garcia Marquez died at age 87 on April 17. The New York Times called him the “Magus of Magical Realism” in an obituary penned by noted literary critic Michiko Kakutani. http://nyti.ms/1eFI0VX
It seems an appropriate time to revisit my recent post about Love in the Time of Cholera, a novel about love, passion, life, death and time.
While the choleric anger of petty rage inflames ego-driven wars to ravage the countryside and population of an unknown Central American nation, a doctor, his wife and the man who has loved her for decades spend their days involved in their own lives. Sheltered from the country’s wars by wealth. Suffused with longing. Having an astounding amount of sex. Love in the TIme of Cholera, published in 1985 by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is at times a study of frustration, devotion, persistence, ambition, betrayal, forgiveness, obsession. It is a novel of life and yet the author warned readers of Love, “not to fall into my trap.” He also told the New Yorker that the book is based on the love story of his own parents. http://www.themodernword.com/gabo/gabo_serenade.html Fermina, the daughter of a successful but disreputable business man, falls desperately in love with beak-nosed, skinny Florentino, a man without resources other than his ability to write really hot letters. Fermina’s father forbids the relationship and thus the love grows, desperately, until one day Fermina runs smack into Florentino and decides the Garcia Marquez equivalent of: Ugh. What have I been thinking. Frankly, his description sounds rather crow-life (and not nearly as good-looking as Javier Bardem who played him in the 2008 movie), yet despite all that, Florentino becomes rather the Don Juan and Wilt Chamberlain of his time and place, devoting the next 51 years to satisfying every woman within reach (including his 14 year old ward) while reveling in his own unrequited love.
Because you see, Dr. Juvenal Urbino takes as his wife Fermina and they what Juvenal believes to be happily ever after. Until he falls off a ladder trying to return his pet parrot to its cage (not a spoiler because this happens in the first few pages). Ah, such is life. Florentino then must try to take advantage of Fermina’s sudden availability to requite the love that has delightfully tortured him for the past five decades. “Fermina,” he said, “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.” The book is dazzlingly full of brilliant natural descriptions, the confusion of human emotions, of journeys. The book is perhaps, most importantly, a metaphor for life. For your book club, I suggest a South American menu, including (and perhaps most importantly) a drink called a Pisco Sour. Pisco is a brandy common to Peru and Chile and this drink is delicious. There are harder ways of making it: whipping the egg whites, folding them in bit by bit, etc. but this recipe works:
4 cups ice cubes
1 cup pisco
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg white
|1.||Place ice cubes, pisco, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, and bitters in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until finely pureed. Pour into two glasses and garnish with an additional dash of bitters.|
I would add a warm wild rice salad with fresh julienned vegetables and spicy popcorn shrimp, some guacamole with blue corn chips and a Tres Leches cake for dessert. I have not tried this recipe, so I’m simply giving you the link to the all recipes page. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Gs-Tres-Leches-Cake/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=tres% Music: oh this is way too easy, I know, but iTunes and Amazon actually sell the soundtrack for the Love in the Time of Cholera movie. And if you want something sexier, try mixing Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Frank Sinatra.