Last year before reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I was told that the book is impossible to set aside. Almost everyone I knew who had read it recommended it wholeheartedly and when I needed a book for a trip I was taking, I decided to bring Gabriel García Márquez's masterpiece. Turns out everyone was telling the truth - I started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude on the afternoon flight home and was barely able to set the book aside for dinner and sleep. I finished the book the following morning.
The situation I faced with Love in the Time of Cholera (the predictable, cliched second pick for García...) was quite different. It's García's writing I like, in a way I can't really put my finger on. Few writers make me enjoy language quite so much as García, and I like that. On the other hand, I found myself occasionally struggling with the story of this modern classic. Everybody positively loves Love in the Time of Cholera... so why did I only like it? See, much as I like intricacies and complexities, and time jumps and character jumps... I wasn't too into all the characters. In fact, I suspect I liked some characters more than I was supposed to (for the sake of the narrative, that is). There were short moments (short!) that I even felt like skimming through boring passages.
I suspect that because I liked One Hundred Years of Solitude so much and expected a lot from Love in the Time of Cholera, I was disappointed. It's unfair to judge a book by what it isn't - I've said this before and I'll say it again. Still, it's not that I disliked the book. Heck, I even liked it a lot! Its only problem is that it didn't flow as I hoped it would. How do I judge a book like that?