Trivia Quiz for “The Pursuit of Love” by Nancy Mitford

Trivia Quiz for The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (1945)

For West Seattle “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club, 8/29/21

A. The Pursuit of Love and satire

1. Love and marriage. Some of the satire reveals the limitations of women’s lives in the 1920s and 1930s. Which of the following quips about women is not in the novel?

a. “X was an intensely dreary girl … who had failed so far to marry, and seemed to have no biological reason for existing.”

b. “Intelligent and energetic, but with no outlet for her energies, unhappy in her marriage, uninterested in her child, and inwardly oppressed with a sense of futility, she was in the mood either to take up some cause, or to embark upon a love affair.”

c. “No woman really minds hearing of the past affairs of her lover, it is the future alone that has the power to terrify.”

d. A male character says, “Starvation is good for women and beasts; it brings ‘em to heel.”

2. Politics and class. Arch comments on the English gentry run through The Pursuit of Love, though other classes, politics, and issues come under fire too. Which of the following quotes is not from the book?

a. “Uplifting the brother’s no easy job. I’m as busy as a cat with fleas, myself. Lord! How I hate sick people, and their stupid, meddling families, and smelly, dirty rooms, and climbing filthy steps in dark hallways.”

b. “That must be the great hold that hunting has over people, especially stupid people; it enforces an absolute concentration, both mental and physical.”

c. “I hate the lower classes … Ravening beasts, trying to get my money. Let them try, that’s all.”

d. “Left-wing people are always sad because they mind dreadfully about their causes, and the causes are always going so badly.”

B. The Characters

3. Which portraits of the narrator Fanny, and her cousin Linda, are not found in The Pursuit of Love?

a. “Her longing for love had become an obsession.”

b. “With my usual base habit of cowardice, I shrunk into my sloth, like a snail into its shell”

c. “As she had never in her life done so much as make her own bed, I could not imagine that Christian’s flat could be very tidy or comfortable if it was being run by her.”

d. “When I consider my life, day by day, hour by hour, it seems to be composed of a series of pinpricks.”

4. Linda’s character comes across strongly. Which of the following does not describe her?

a. “There was something furious about her, even when she laughed, which she did a great deal…. Something reminiscent of pictures of Napoleon in youth, a sort of scowling intensity.”

b. “She was a delicate, as well as a highly nervous child … too much crying kept her awake at night, put her off her food, and did her harm.”

c. Like her brothers and sisters, she could not stand boredom.

d. At age 20, she went to Oxford to study Law before becoming a journalist, then a spy.

5. Uncle Matthew: Terrifying or Threadbare? Which of the following pass-times is not enjoyed by Uncle Matthew?

a. hunting his children

b. hating his enemies, other people’s children, and foreigners

c. cracking whips at dawn “with a noise greater than gun-fire”

d. studying ancient languages

6. The Bolter. Fanny paints a portrait of her absent mother as one who leads a life where wicked things are known and rules are flouted. Which of the following mysteries does she not know about?

a. abortion                  

b. Continental travel              

c. style   

d. the Masonic pledge and rituals

C. Romance amid the War and Daily Violence

7. Although hunting kills animals daily, brothers fight in wars, and bombs fall on London, there is relatively little sadness in this book. Which of the following is not from The Pursuit of Love?

a. “He rescued the hare, waded out again, his fine white breeches covered with green muck, and put it, wet and gasping, into Linda’s lap. It was the one romantic gesture of his life.”

b. “Love becomes greater and nobler in calamity.”

c. “When she thought about the war it seemed to her almost a relief that it had actually begun, in so far as a beginning is the first step towards an end.”

d. “Nobody is killed in air-raids, there is a great deal of noise and a great deal of mess, but people really don’t seem to get killed much.”

D. Snappy Style. Match the quote to the character it describes. The characters include: a. Lord John Fort William; b. Moira Kroesig; c. Uncle Matthew

8. “I have only read one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It’s so frightfully good I’ve never bothered to read another.”

9. “To think I ruined nine months of my life in order to have that.”

10. “Poor old thing, I suppose she likes him, but, I must say, if he was one’s dog one would have him put down.”


1. d. That quote is from Daphne du Maurier, Jamaica Inn.

2. a. That quote is from Nella Larsen, Passing.

3. b. That quote is from Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

4. d. Linda did not study law, go to Oxford, nor pursue any profession.

5. d. Uncle Matthew, as we know from no. 8 below, only ever read one book: White Fang by Jack London.

6. d.

7. b. That quote is from Love in the Time of Cholera.

8. c. Uncle Matthew

9. b. Moira Kroesig

10. a. Lord John Fort William (Louisa’s husband)


Trivia quiz on “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez (with the answers)

Trivia Quiz for Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1985)

From the “Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club of West Seattle

A. Stability Amidst Instability

1. The lives in this novel are fraught with instability wrought by civil wars, financial fraud, epidemics, environmental degradation, and huge variations in weather. Which of the following is not depicted?

a. Lorenzo Daza explains to his daughter: “’We are ruined,’ ‘Total ruin, so now you know.’”

b. Florentino Ariza realizes: “Human beings are not born once and for all … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

c. One of Florentino’s lovers is robbed but does not report it because she is a princess in exile.

d. Although they initially mourn their husbands, “The world is full of happy widows.”

2. Despite the ambient instability, persistence emerges as a central theme in the story. Which quote does not appear in the book?

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

b. “His father had been right when he repeated to his dying day that there was no one with more common sense, no stonecutter more obstinate, no manager more lucid or dangerous, than a poet.”

c. “’We’ll grow old waiting,’ he said.”

d. “If only the picture could change, and I could always be what I am now!”

B. Secret Connections & the Voyeurism Which Allows Us to See.  Match the secret to the character.

The characters: a. Florentino Ariza; b. Fermina Daza; c. Barbara Lynch; d. Juvenal Urbino

The Secrets:                                                                                                

3. “chess became an incurable addiction that tormented him until the day of his death”

4. he was “a solitary man in need of love, a street beggar as humble as a whipped dog”

5. “she cried only in rage … she could never forgive her weakness in crying”                                                           

6. she wore a full skirt and no underwear on the days when she would receive her lover at home.

7. Love in the Time of Cholera takes place in a city with official squares and statues that resemble many a Latin American locale, but the most important actions transpire behind closed doors, out of sight, or in the dark. Which of the following is not a site of significance in this novel?

a. the Music School                                       

b. the brothel near the port     

c. under the almond trees in the Park of the Evangels                      

d. Leona Cassiani’s office in the R.C.C. (River Company of the Caribbean)     

8. Some of the secrets revealed keep their power to surprise readers even today. Which of the following is not a secret from this book?

a. One of Florentino Ariza’s lovers, Andrea Varón, shares enemas with him.

b. Fermina Daza discovers her husband’s infidelity by smelling not perfume, but the human odor of another woman on his clothes

c. Florentino Ariza seduced his ward, then a schoolgirl age 13, in what is called his “secret slaughterhouse.”

d. Fermina Daza harbors a passion for her chambermaid, Flora, and an insatiable desire for eggplant.

C. Maxims and Wisdom

9. As in many old-fashioned novels, maxims or moral lessons run throughout Love in the Time of Cholera. Which of the following maxims is not found here?

a. “Every person has a right to take care of themselves. He always did.”

b. “Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”

c. “Music is important to one’s health.”        

d. “Love becomes greater and nobler in calamity.”

D. Sensual Style

Gabriel García Márquez is known for his “magical realism,” but one may arguably claim he is more of a sensualist, so strong and enduring are his bodily images.

Match the sensual quote to the thing evoked (designated as X). The things include: a. “the fate of unrequited love”; b. “the certainty of death”; and c. “masculine honor”.

Sensual quotes:                                                                                     

10. “At nightfall, at the oppressive moment of transition … a tender breath of human shit, warm and sad, stirred X in the depths of one’s soul.”                                                                                                  

11. “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of X.”

12. It was said that the enormous hernias caused by pollution [on the testicles of local men] “whistled like a lugubrious bird and twisted in unbearable pain, but no one complained because a large, well-carried rupture was a display of X.”


1. c.

2. d.  (That sentiment is lifted from Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey)

3. Juvenal Urbino

4. Florentino Ariza

5. Fermina Daza

6. Barbara Lynch

7. a.

8. d.

9. a. (That quote is from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol)

10. the certainty of death

11. the fate of unrequited love

12. masculine honor


the joy of imagination, shared


This morning, my mind and hands take up a new task that feels very familiar: researching and writing a quiz. A literary quiz, to be precise. As I remain wrapped in the warm glow of Gabriel García Márquez’s words, from the last pages of Love in the Time of Cholera, I am suddenly pulled to the computer. Because I suddenly realized these quizzes are a joy–simple and cheap to procure–and you may like them too.

I hereby vow to share the monthly quizzes I’ve been creating for the “West Seattle Classic Novels (and Movies)” book club with you, here on this blog. (I’ll even post the answers too!)

In a little while after it’s written, I’ll start with today’s, and then work my way backwards, on a daily basis, through all the books listed below, which we read during the months of covid-19 plague fears and lockdowns, back to March 2020 when we first met.

Because if there is one thing the reader realizes in finishing Love in the Time of Cholera, it is that lockdowns, however tedious and frightening, may give rise to new pleasures …

and all pleasures, like love, are meant to be shared.

(Like the dandelion-blowing woman from the Larousse publishing company, above, je sème à tout vent – I’ll sow [or throw] wisdom to the wind.)

The sooner, the better. You never know who might be waiting. And it’s never too late to start anew!

West Seattle Classic Novels (and Movies) book club reading list, March 2020-July 2021, titles read:

Jane Austen, Emma [March 2020]

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

Daphne Dumaurier, Jamaica Inn.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Washington Irving, “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Nella Larsen, Passing

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, film, dir. George C. Wolfe, adapted from play by August Wilson

Clarice Lispector, Family Ties

and Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez, for July 25, 2021.