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The Best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Love and Sex

Fri, Apr 18, 2014

Books, Pop Culture

photo via Wiki Commons

Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez died yesterday at the very respectable — but still heartbreaking, to his fans everywhere — age of 87. He is irreplaceable as a writer. In addition to bringing magical realism to the masses, he practically invented a new language for talking about love and sex — especially in his classic novels Love In the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the latter book, he wrote, “A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.” His words, however, will live on forever. Here are some of our favorite things he wrote on love and sex.

From Love In the Time of Cholera

“It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

“The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”

“Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”

“He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked at her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful than she had ever seen them in half a century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath: ‘Only God knows how much I loved you.’”

“The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.”

“The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror; the problem in married life is learning to overcome boredom.”

“Nothing in this world was more difficult than love.”

“Amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was.”

“She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anything in the world, but only for his own sake.”

“‘If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,’ she said, ‘but let’s do it like grownups.’”

“With her Florentino Ariza learned what he had already experienced many times without realizing it: that one can be in love with several people at the same time, feel the same sorrow with each, and not betray any of them. Alone in the midst of the crowd on the pier, he said to himself in a flash of anger: ‘My heart has more rooms than a whorehouse.’”

“Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry.”

“He had taught her that nothing one does in bed is immoral if it helps to perpetuate love. And something else that from that time on would be her reason for living: he convinced her that one comes into the world with a predetermined allowment of lays, and whoever does not use them for whatever reason, one’s own or someone else’s, willingly or unwillingly, loses them forever. It was to her credit that she took him at his word.”

“And yet that first experience, although cruel and short-lived, did not leave her bitter; rather, she had the overwhelming conviction that with or without marriage, or God, or the law, life was not worth living without a man in her bed. What Florentino Ariza liked best about her was that in order to reach the heights of glory, she had to suck on an infant’s pacifier while they made love.”

“Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability.”

“It was the first time she had made love in over twenty years, and she had been held back by her curiosity concerning how it would feel at her age after so long a respite. But he had not given her time to find out if her body loved him too. It had been hurried and sad, and she thought: Now we’ve screwed up everything.”

“When at last she recovered her self-possession in the perfumed oasis of her cabin, they made the tranquil, wholesome love of experienced grandparents, which she would keep as her best memory of that lunatic voyage. It was as if they had leapt over the arduous cavalry of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love.”

“She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.”

“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.”

From One Hundred Years of Solitude

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”

“There is always something left to love.”

“Gaston was not only a fierce lover, with endless wisdom and imagination, but he was also, perhaps, the first man in the history of the species who had made an emergency landing and had come close to killing himself and his sweetheart simply to make love in a field of violets.”

“It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”

“They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.”

“He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.”

“And both of them remained floating in an empty universe where the only everyday and eternal reality was love.”

From Memories Of My Melancholy Whores

“Sex is the consolation you have when you can’t have love.”

“I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.”

“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you’ve already had.”

“Don’t let yourself die without knowing the wonder of fucking with love.”

 

From Of Love and Other Demons

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.”

“Do not allow me to forget you.”

“This was when she asked him whether it was true that love conquered all, as the songs said. ‘It is true’, he replied, ‘but you would do well not to believe it.’”

 

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