Love in the Time of Cholera: Bitter Almonds

Today, I’ve had a busy day of writing, writing-business related work, and home chores. The two BAM signings in Mobile will have to be rescheduled. However, the two Barnes and Noble stores (Mobile and Spanish Fort) are still on for Friday and Saturday.

After my supper, (a deer roast, potatoes, carrots, which I prepared with my own little hands) I sat down and began reading Gabriel García Márquez ‘ Love in the Time of Cholera.  I saw an HBO behind the scenes episode about the making of the movie version of it and decided I must read it before I see the movie.  I know I’m in for a good read when the first sentence hooks me: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” The sentence intrigued, but it also puzzled me. I asked myself, “What do bitter almonds have to do with love?” Well, the context makes it clear that the narrator is speaking of cyanide, which I found out from a quick Google search, is made from bitter almonds. I learned that the trees of sweet almonds have a white flower (those are the ones we eat) and the bitter almonds have a pink flower (these are the ones you take for unrequited love.)

The back cover of the novel I purchased summarizes the story thus: “In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love, When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic.  As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty-one years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.”

I am sure I have much more to learn as I read this novel. When I finish, I’ll post something in my blog about it, probably including some good quotes from the text, or poems that the read inspired. Actually, I’ve already started a poem called Bitter Almonds, and the tone of the poem should fit Marquez’ novel quite well.  As I’m leaving EARLY in the morning for Mobile, a post on my blog will not be likely till late Saturday or Sunday. Still, one never knows. I may sell out early and have plenty of time. The Barnes and Noble in Mobile also wants me to play my guitar some, as well as sign books. Wish me luck.