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.