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Monday, February 27, 2012

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez

On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting, but exhausted as she is from caring for siblings and her job sewing buttons, she can do little but sleep. Yet with this sleeping beauty at his side, it is he who awakens to a romance he has never known.

Tender, knowing, and slyly comic, Memories of My Melancholy Whores is an exquisite addition to the master’s work.

Summary taken from
Length: 115 pages (hardcover edition)
Source: Toronto Public Library
Publication Date: November 14th 2006

My main motivations for reading this book were very simple. I needed to read a book by a Colombian author for my Around the World challenge,  and I've been meaning to give this author a try ever since I saw his book Love in the Time of Cholera in the  2001 movie Serendipity starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusak. Plus lets be completely candid here, I'm 21 and am allowed to be immature at times so I also wanted to read the book because of the title. Sue me. So when I saw this short little book sitting high on the bookshelf at the library I thought...that now was as good a time as any to finally see what all the hype about him was about.

I knew right off the bat that this was going to fall in the more poetic side of novels and I was fine with that, despite my misgivings about novels like that I was more than willing to go into this one with an open mind. Now it may surprise some that I actually liked a lot of the story. I found the character of our unnamed protagonist to be fascinating, at 90 years old he calls a madame requesting a virgin for the night to help him celebrate.

Now I request that you get your heads out of the gutter because while the book is sensual there's no other words for it, it is not sexually explicit. In fact if you read it you'll know what I'm talking about.  Most of the book actually focuses on the man reminiscing about what he has missed out in in life as well as his recollections with whores.

Despite the fact that I liked this book more than I thought I would I feel as though I didn't get what I expected out of reading it. I thought that it would be better and more...captivating. Perhaps it's because that it's a novella and that to fully experience this writers obvious talents I will have to read one of his longer works, of which I have every intention. However, I'm thinking that it will be a long while before I pick up anything written by him. I appreciate the book for what it was and his writing style is beautifully poetic and I adore it. For me it was the story that was slow and lacking.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy novellas, poetic novels, fans of the author or other people who want to give this author a try but are not sure where to start. Like always, I encourage you to try the book for yourself and see if you like it. If you do. Leave me a link to your review.

★ ★ ★


  1. Just From Reading your review, I feel inspired to read this book. It seems good :)

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  3. I have been looking forward to reading this book. I think I will, sometime soon.

  4. Indeed, Kimberly. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing style is poetic. For me, the most memorable scene in ""Memories of My Melancholy Whores"" is when Delgadina slept under the influence of valerian and bromide, while El Sabio softly sang to her - that's one of the sweetest thing you can offer a woman, and nowadays, it's pretty rare to see a man do that. Delgadina's character was quite entertaining to me because when I was young, I used to chase my best friend whenever she's riding on her bicycle. LOL Quite hilarious but seriously, that's how it was. You should read it, Pragya. Kimberly's right, it's worth the read. :)

    One can't help feeling that, in the past, this story would have been reduced to a pithy few pages woven into a more ambitious scheme. Still, there's something haunting about this story, and it stays in the memory long after you've turned the last page. There's life in the old man yet. That's what to expect from the great author himself, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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