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Monday, November 12, 2007

Love in the times of Cholera ...Book Review

" el amor en los tiempos del colera ." Spanish for "Love in the times of Cholera " is a classic in fiction written by Latin American Nobel prize winner Gabriela Garcia Marquez .In some way MT. Vasudevan Nairs book made into a movie called theerthadanam ( pilgrimage )has a similarity in the sense love that blossomed in youth is carried on into old age

Somehow I never read Garcias novel till date though a close friend prodded me to do it ,at last I did .The film adaptation by coincidence is to be released shortly .

Written in 1985 it was translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman .
the novel is a simple triangle of love but written with finesse and elegance .

The protaganist Florentino Ariza is a meek ,thin ,gaunt, myopic ,born romantic who was into poems and he falls in love with Fermina Dazza the independent willed and charming daughter of Lorenza Dazza who rose from a humble mule driver to a rich businessman .

the change in stature did nothing to lorenzos baser habits and like any hindi film rich father he fiercely opposed any closeness between his daughter and the humble telegraphist who dared to attract his daughter by his episolatory skills ( writing voluminous letters and poems where he poured his love in abundance ) ,

Fermina was promptly removed form the scene and taken to distant lands so that she would get over her unsavoury infatuations ,which did work in the end .

though Fermina was faithful to her lover till she returned back and thier platonic relationship flourished in letters for the three years she was seperated from him ,she promptly put him off as naive and unbecoming of her when she returned and succumbed to the wooing of a young handsome doctor of promise ,to the delight of her father who promptly got them married .

Dr juvenal Urbino the lucky man doted on his wife and his profession where he fought for health and sanitation in those dark years where cholera was rampant .

Florentino never married nor did he forget fermina ,he waited for the day when Juvenal would be no more and he would get back his woman rightfully .

He rose in life joining his uncles shipping business to become the vice president with all its accompanient pleasures .his immense love for Fermina never stopped him from cavorting with women of all age and sizes to a count of 622 by time he became a bald headed 70 .

this was the time when the doctor bade goodbye to the world and our hero had the temerity to ask the widow of her hand for which he had awaited with bated breath for half a century ,she scorned and scorched him for his insolence but Florentino never wavered ,slowly Fermina knowing fully of her doctor husbands misdemanours and acts of unfaithfullness succumbed to the steady shoulder of this lover of her young days ,

the old twosome found happiness in each others company and finally thier romance culminated in a pleasure cruise .

At last in his ripe late seventies florentino gets his love to himself .

Strangely this made me remember "Theerthadanam ."by M.T.Vasudevan Nair which was made into a film acted by Jeyaram and suhasini .In this Jeyaram as a young shcool teacher falls in love with his student Suhasini but thier romance fails to fructify because Jeyaram was from a poor family .time passes ,Jeyaram marries and has his own family ,suhasini is a teacher in the same school ,they never stop loving each other in thier hearts and after they retire suhasini writes a letter to Jeyaram that she would be visiting Mukambika and he too goes there ,the old couple go up kudajadhri reminiscing thier life .

why cholera in Garcias immortal book ?
probably the author thinks lovesickness is like cholera
something which empties you out ,Colera in Spanish is anger ,is it the ire of the lover to the husband who got his beloved ,or does the author refer to the unhygienic rat infested palgue ridden cholera frequented cities wherethese characters lived .the enigmatic Garcia warns readers not to fall in his traps

Film adaptation :

Currently Stone Village Pictures holds the rights (bought from the author for US$3 million) to produce a film version of the book and Mike Newell has been chosen to direct it. Ronald Harwood has signed on to write a faithful screen adaptation. Filming started in Cartagena, Colombia, as of September 2006.[6]
The $50 million film, the first major foreign production shot in the scenic, walled city in years,[
citation needed] will be released in November 16, 2007 by New Line Cinema. On his own initiative, García Márquez convinced singer Shakira, who hails from the nearby city of Barranquilla, to provide three songs for the film.


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Nanditha Prabhu said...

theerthadanam is a touching movie!from what you have written there seems to b a similarity between the two story lines!

harimohan said...

tks Nanditha
i felt it after i read the book
of course great people do think alike i MT and Gabriela Garcia

Dr.Thomas Antony said...

Dear Hari,

I thought the ‘Theerthadanam’ was a CD by you, as the picture on the cover here looked like you and Prameela :-) Thought it might have been about some pilgrimage you had. I didn’t know MT had a novel by that name and there was a movie. That’s a price to pay for staying away from Mallu crowd.

I had read the Malayalm translation of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” ( I think that was the one for which Gabriel Garcia Marquez got Nobel Prize. The magical realism was widely acclaimed.

Have you started your novel on ‘Thamburan’ ?


Dr.Thomas Antony

harimohan said...

Dear T .A
tks for the comments .the dream of my novel is yet one till date

Maddy said...

Hari - I have never read the book myself, in fact when i saw the book some years ago with my son (who was in his teens then) I was a bit surprised and quipped, what kind of book is this? he gave me one of those benovalent looks and said, Garcia is a Nobel prize winner. I was stumped, had not even heard of him.Subsequently i took up the book to read it, but found it a bit tortuous. I have decided to continue at a later date.

BTW just last friday the Hollywood movie of this book came out in the theaters.

harimohan said...

yups maddy i would like to see the film version ,the book meanders its way but there is something that touches your soul good read indeed

raj said...

the malayalam movie 'theerthadanam', directed by Kannan is based on M.T.Vasudevan Nair's short story 'vaanaprastham'

Dr.Thomas Antony said...

When was this movie "Theerthadanam" released? How were the reviews? I have read the novel "Vanaprastham"



raj said...

theerthadanam was released in 2001; though the movie got very good reviews it was not a box office success; jayaram and suhasini were in the lead roles!

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