AMAZON SAYS: Memories of My Melancholy Whores is Gabriel García Márquez’s first work of fiction in ten years, written at the height of his powers, the Spanish edition of which Ilan Stavans called, “Masterful. Erotic. As hypnotizing as it is disturbing” (Los Angeles Times). On the eve of his ninetieth birthday, our unnamed protagonist — an undistinguished journalist and lifelong bachelor — decides to give himself “the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.” The virgin, whom an old madam procures for him, is splendidly young, with the silent power of a sleeping beauty. The night of love blossoms into a transforming year. It is a year in which he relives, in a rush of memories, his lifetime of (paid-for) sexual adventures and experiences a revelation that brings him to the edge of dying–not of old age, but, at long last, of uncorrupted love. Memories of My Melancholy Whores is a brilliant gem by the master storyteller.
MY REVIEW: I first heard about Garbriel García Márquez’ novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores through a series of quotes posted on Once a Loyal Lover, a blog by Jem Magbanua. The sensual words she chose to highlight from Márquez’ 2005 novel piqued my curiosity so much, I literally grabbed the book out of a friend’s hand at a bookstore recently. And I am so glad I did…if for no other reason that a chance to get reacquainted with this author I haven’t read in many years.
Memories of My Melancholy Whores is classic Márquez’ — filled with rich juicy details that drip from your fingers as you turn the pages. It is a sad tale of an old man facing the end of his life in the shadow of his solitary existence, punctuated by the absence of love. Heartbreaking and frustrating in many ways, I had great empathy…sympathy?…for the 90-year old protagonist who slowly begins to understand his ability to love—finally.
It was a short tome, and as I turned the last page I found myself aching for just a little more. Thankfully, there are plenty of other Márquez’ novels to choose from—including my favorite Love in the Time of Cholera.
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