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LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA <i> by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Penguin: $9.95) </i>

For the theme of this sprawling, surreal novel, Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez seems to have chosen Cole Porter’s admonition, “Let’s contemplate l’amour in all its infinite variety.” With the calm assurance of a master story- teller, Marquez allows the narrative to ramble among digressions and flashbacks without ever relaxing his grip on the reader’s attention. He limns Florentino Ariza’s unrequited passion for the haughty Fermina Daza in prose as lush and tangled as the jungles of Henri Rousseau. When Marquez finally reveals that the book is a celebration of the triumph of romantic love over all obstacles, including time, it feels simultaneously surprising and logical, like a consummate feat of legerdemain.


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