|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
"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
"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."