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Old 06-06-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
fantasyfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamlet53 View Post
I really love the quality of writing in this book, and thought there was another overall theme. That of the effects of aging and decay. The town of Cartagena and the Magdalena River are already at the beginning of the novel in decline from former days of glory and this only continues throughout the novel. When Juvenal Urbino returns from his education in Paris he is struck by this, but yet stays and learns to love his place there. The principal characters also age and decay over the course of the novel, yet seem to find a way to find a way to keep frozen in time. The way the novel ends with the thought that Florentino and Fermina will be forever able to remain together boating up and down the Magdalena River.

Good book and thanks to Sun Surfer for putting it forward.
The theme of aging is very pronounced--now that you mention it. The various characters seem to have different sorts of responses to it. Urbino, for instance, is deeply religious and i believe he finds a stability in his religious faith. Saint-Amour accepts the end on his own terms. I wonder if his love of chess is a parable for life? His final chess position is a lost game.

One of the finest aspects of this book is the brilliance of the character development. All of the characters have a certain ambiguity of motive and desire which makes them very realistic and profoundly sympathetic. For examplle, the relationship between Urbino and Fermina is quite complex and many-faceted. Above all owing to the attention to significant detail {e.g. the "bar of soap" episode} in the author's dramatisation, the marriage is vivid and certainly believable.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 06-07-2012 at 10:11 AM.
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