Memories of My Melancholy Whores

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9780224077644: Memories of My Melancholy Whores
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"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's first work of fiction in ten years, and it fully lives up to the expectations of his critics, readers, and fans of all ages and nationalities. "Memories of My Melancholy Whores" introduces us to a totally new genre of Garcia Marquez's writing. It is a fairy tale for the aged - a story that celebrates the belated discovery of amorous passion in old age. This enticingly sensual, yet at the same time innocent adventure tells of an unnamed second-rate reporter who on the eve of his ninetieth birthday decides to give himself 'a night of mad love with a virgin adolescent'. In a little more than 100 pages, Garcia Marquez proceeds to describe a series of encounters that is hypnotising and disturbing. When he first sees the chosen girl - a shy fourteen-year-old, whom he calls Delgadina - asleep, entirely naked, in the brothel room, his life begins to change completely. He never speaks to her nor does he learn anything about her, nor she of him. But, her presence spurs the aged pensioner to recall his experiences with the other women in his life, all whores by profession, all paid to perform for him the acts of love. But, now he realizes that 'sex is the consolation one has for not finding enough love'. Smitten, he screams of his love from the rooftops, which for him means writing about it in his weekly newspaper columns, and in return, he becomes the most famous man in his town. Love has always been a major theme in Garcia Marquez's writing. It is often visualized in his fiction as a source of endurance, a bulwark against the rush of time's passage. In "Love in the Time of Cholera", he celebrated a love that was almost fifty years in forming, modelling it on the courtship of his own grandparents. This last novel, written at the peak of the author's fame, is another illustration of its tranformative power. "Memories of My Melancholy Whores", written in Garcia Marquez's incomparable style, movingly contemplates the misfortunes of old age, and celebrates the joys of being in love.

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"The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin." So begins Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and it becomes even more unlikely as the novel unfolds. This slim volume contains the story of the sad life of an unnamed, only slightly talented Colombian journalist and teacher, never married, never in love, living in the crumbling family manse. He calls Rosa Cabarcas, madame of the city's most successful brothel, to seek her assistance. Rosa tells him his wish is impossible--and then calls right back to say that she has found the perfect girl.

The protagonist says of himself: "I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay ... by the time I was fifty there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once ... My public life, on the other hand, was lacking in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor without a future, a mediocre journalist ... and a favorite of caricaturists because of my exemplary ugliness."

The girl is 14 and works all day in a factory attaching buttons in order to provide for her family. Rosa gives her a combination of bromide and valerian to drink to calm her nerves, and when the prospective lover arrives, she is sound asleep. Now the story really begins. The nonagenarian is not a sex-starved adventurer; he is a tender voyeur. Throughout his 90th year, he continues to meet the girl and watch her sleep. He says, "This was something new for me. I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we had made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark, so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were ... That night I discovered the improbably pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty."

Márquez's style never falters throughout this recounting of his life and his exploration of love, found at an unexpected time and place. The erstwhile lover is still capable of being surprised--and fulfilled. After an absence of ten years, it is a treat to have another parable from the master. --Valerie Ryan

About the Author:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in 1927 near Aracataca, Colombia. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He is the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, Living to Tell the Tale, among other works of fiction and non-fiction. This book is translated by Edith Grossman, widely recognized as the pre-eminent Spanish to English translator of our time.

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9781400095940: Memories of My Melancholy Whores

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ISBN 10:  1400095948 ISBN 13:  9781400095940
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9780241968543: Memories of My Melancholy Whores

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9780307278494: Memories of My Melancholy Whores

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9780739466940: Memories of My Melancholy Whores

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