In the novel Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) by Columbia's Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez, protagonist Florentino Ariza tells his wife he has loved her for "51 years, nine months and four days." For Chinese fans of Latin American literature, it's taken 25 years, eight months and 22 days to see the first authorized translated version of Márquez's masterpiece.
On Monday, publisher Thinkingdom Media released the authorized Chinese version of the book after a lengthy ban due to copyright concerns from the author.
Li Yao, chief editor of the foreign literature department at Thinkingdom Media, posted on his Sina Weibo microblog that Love in the Time of Cholera was translated according to the author's specific copyright requests without compromise.
Held in the same esteem as Márquez's breakthrough novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), 500,000 copies of Love in the Time of Cholera have been printed - more than 150 times the amount of authorized Chinese versions of One Hundred Years of Solitude.
"It's is amazing to see Márquez wrote Love in the Times of Cholera after winning the Nobel Prize. In doing so, he proved that Nobel Prize winners can still pen great books after winning the award," said literature scholar Zhi An.
Love in the Time of Cholera centers on a tragic love triangle against the backdrop of an unnamed port city on the Caribbean Sea and Magdalena River. The male and female protagonists meet in their early teens, enduring a separation spanning over half a century before being reunited.
"The story is told in a leisurely manner and has a good command of details," noted Yu Hua, an accomplished Chinese author. "I first read this story aged in my 20s, and I was overwhelmed."
Previously, only pirated versions poorly translated into Chinese of Love in the Time of Cholera circulated the country. This week's release of the authorized version gives readers a more meticulous translation.
"I faithfully translated the story," said Yang Ling, translator of the book.
"I don't use Chinese idioms or set phrases in my translation. I wanted to keep a distance between the book and readers, which I hope readers feel when reading Márquez's novel." Xie Wenting