“In reality the duty of a writer — the revolutionary duty, if you like — is that of writing well.”
– Gabriel García Márquez (Some interview)
Marquez needs no introduction. What he needs, if anything, is a de-literary-classicization. For years I stayed away from Marquez, because I wasn’t sure I’d get him. I first read Hundred Years of Solitude, and it completely floored me. Marquez the master storyteller is amazing, and what’s more he’s amazingly ordinary, if you throw away the bits and pieces of magical-realism and all the lit-crit concepts — and I mean that ordinary as a compliment. Marquez is the grandfather who tells stories. And boy does he tell them well.
If Hundred Years … was an epic, Love in the time of Cholera is nothing less of an encyclopedia. Only no one writes encyclopedias that way. Marquez, in this extraordinary book, has dissected love without really destroying it; demystified love, without deromanticising it … Nothing is taboo to Marquez, and nothing is sacred, and in a curious way everything is. Love in the time of Cholera makes me want to stop writing any fiction about love. It just feels superfluous now, after the man has flirted with every aspect of love. I guess a lot has been written about it, and a lot will be, so even writing a review of Love in the time … is probably superfluous. I mean, either everyone has read it, or they probably aren’t going to, those who haven’t.
All I would say is, if you’re staying away from Marquez due to the big aura about him, his almost cultish status in the lit crowd, and so on, don’t let that affect you. Marquez writes such a human literature that all the classification, even idolization of it becomes irrelevant. Read it to believe it. I’d say Love in the time of Cholera is a right starting point to Marquez (at least compared to his other celebrated work — Hundred years … ).