To Quill the Mocking World

A book in 10 Paragraphs: Love in the time of cholera

By Ratika Sablania

Sometime a few certain moments can take you through someone’s whole life. Similarly, one may have to go through only some snippets to understand what the whole book is about. Read on.



“All that was needed was shrewd questioning, first of the patient and then of his mother, to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”

“She reminded him that the weak would never enter the kingdom of love, which is harsh and ungenerous kingdom, and that women give themselves only to men of resolute spirit, who provide the security they need in order to face life.”



“Curiosity was one of the many masks of love. In reality they were distracted letters, intended to keep the coals alive without putting her hand in the fire, while Florentino Ariza burned himself in every line.”


“Then suddenly, instead of the commotion of love, she felt the abyss of disenchantment. In an instant the magnitude of her own mistake was revealed to her, and she asked herself, appalled, how she could have nurtured such a chimera in her heart for so long and with so much ferocity. She just managed to think: My God, poor man!”


“From the time she woke up at six in the morning until she turned out the light in the bedroom, Fermina Daza devoted herself to killing time. Life was imposed on her from outside. When she finished washing cages and feeding birds, and making certain that the flowers wanted for nothing, she was at a loss”

“She herself had not realized that every step she took from her house to school, every spot in the city, every moment of her recent past, did not seem to exist except by the grace of Florentino Ariza, for better or for worse, was the only thing that had ever happened to her in her life”


“Florentino Ariza learned that Fermina Daza was going to marry a physician with family and fortune, educated in Europe and with an extraordinary reputation for a man of his years, there was no power on earth that could raise him from his prostration”


“…was the certainty that during the intoxication of her wedding celebration, even during the feverish nights of her honeymoon, Fermina Daza would suffer one moment, one at least but one in any event, when the phantom of the sweetheart she had scorned, humiliated, and insulted would appear in her thoughts, and all her happiness would be destroyed.”

“…the confusion caused by her rejection of Florentino Ariza had not been resolved with comforting words. These doubts increased her confusion, because she was also not convinced that love was what she most needed to live.”


“He was aware that he did not love her. He had married her because he liked her haughtiness, her seriousness, her strength, because when she kissed him for the first time, he was sure there would be no obstacle to their inventing true love.”


“She was a prisoner in the wrong house and even worse, with a man who was not…She suspected too late that behind his wordly charm and professional authority, the man she had married was a hopeless weakling: a poor devil made bold by the social weight of his family names”



“We men are the miserable slaves of prejudice. But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”


“She helped Florentino Ariza take his enemas, she got up before he did to brush the false teeth he kept in a glass while he slept, and she solved the problem of her misplaced spectacles, for she could use his for reading and mending…the only thing she needed from him was that he cup a pain in her back.

“They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and phantoms and disillusionment: beyond love. For they had lived long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.”

(Image credits)

Ratika Assorted

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This entry was posted on July 4, 2015 by in Fiction and tagged .

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