Love, death, aging, passion, fidelity, grief, sex . . .Marquez the Master weaves it all together in sensual, sensuous prose. From the first sentence -- one of literature's great first sentences -- we are told what the book is about, and how the tale will be told: "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love." Concrete sense details, inevitability, memory, pain and love. The sickness of a broken heart and cholera are viewed as comparable illnesses in Marquez's work, and cholera is the perfect disease with with to contrast love. It is a messy disease, and often fatal. No pale heroines gracefully expiring on clean sheets for Marquez. He writes with equal attention of the transcendental power of love, as well as the grit, grime and gore of everyday life. At the same time as the , the book is as much about the corruption of Latin America as it is the human body. The last chapter, filled with the detail of aging -- "he looked at her and saw her naked to her waist, just as he had imagined her. Her shoulders were wrinkled, her breasts sagged, her ribs were covered by a flabby skin as pale and cold as a frog’s." -- is also thick with metaphoric details of the landscape -- "the alligators ate the last butterfly and the maternal manatees were gone, the parrots, the monkeys, the villages were gone: everything was gone." Youth juxtaposed against age, vitality against decay, love against death. Marquez paints with a wide brush, but manages to capture the tiniest detail. This is a book in which you can luxuriate.