What a kind, sweet, and generous book. Marquez treats his strange quirky characters with such fondness and respect. His hero Florentino Ariza sees Fermina Daza when they are both teenagers. He falls deeply in love with her, convinces her through beautifully written letters to fall in love with him. But then she takes a closer look and sees a skinny, badly dressed, young man full of compulsions and with no prospects at all. So she promptly marries a rising young doctor from a good family. Fermina is self-centered, with plenty of her own quirks. The doctor is a visionary, a reformer but not without faults of his own. As Marquez draws them they’re all wonderfully funny, struggling against the tragic truths of life and the decaying city around them. Florentino vows to wait for Fermina until her husband dies, and then he plans to make his move. In the mean time, just to keep busy, he rises to become the head of his uncle’s shipping company and manages to bed over 600 of the town’s young, old, married, single women, all of whom love him. None of this seems to improve his self-image. He continues to see himself as unworthy of Fermina, but determined. Finally, the doctor dies; Fermina is free. Now both in their 70s, Florentino is bald; Fermina clearly shows the results of her years. Still, though she resists his advances, Fermina is won over once again by his letters, his vision, and probably by the fact that, in the end, Florentino shows himself to be, not Ichabod Crane, not Don Quixote, but Sir Galahad.