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Love in the Time of Cholera [24 Jun 2007|01:40pm]

From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (p. 167):

In any case, the German was correct in regard to what he thought about least, which was that Florentino Ariza wrote everything with so much passion that even official documents seemed to be about love. His bills of lading were rhymed no matter how he tried to avoid it, and routine business letters had a lyrical spirit that diminished their authority. His uncle himself came to his office one day with a packet of correspondence that he had not dared put his name to, and gave him his last chance to save his soul.

"If you cannot write a business letter you will pick up the trash on the dock," he said.

Florentino Ariza accepted the challenge. He made a supreme effort to learn the mundane simplicity of mercantile prose, imitating models from notarial files with the same diligence he had once used for popular poets. This was the period when he spent his free time in the Arcade of the Scribes, helping unlettered lovers to write their scented love notes, in order to unburden his heart of all the words of love that he could not use in customs reports. But at the end of six months, no matter how hard he twisted, he could not wring the neck of his diehard swan. So that when Uncle Leo XII reproached him a second time, he admitted defeat, but with a certain haughtiness.

"Love is the only thing that interests me," he said.

"The trouble," his uncle said to him, "is that without river navigation there is no love."

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