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Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Vintage International)by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"As in One Hundred Years of Solitude, his masterpiece, the clarity, precision, and unblinking authority of his voice make García Márquez one of the finest storytellers ever born. A table, too, can sometimes be a miracle." Scott Raab, Esquire (read the complete Esquire review)
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Garcia Marquez's slim, reflective contribution to the romance of the brothel, his first book-length fiction in a decade, is narrated by perhaps the greatest connoisseur ever of girls for hire. After a lifetime spent in the arms of prostitutes (514 when he loses count at age 50), the unnamed journalist protagonist decides that his gift to himself on his 90th birthday will be a night with an adolescent virgin. But age, followed by the unexpected blossoming of love, disrupts his plans, and he finds himself wooing the allotted 14-year-old in silence for a year, sitting beside her as she sleeps and contemplating a life idly spent. Flashes of Garcia Marquez's brilliant imagery — the sleeping girl is 'drenched in phosphorescent perspiration' — illuminate the novella, and there are striking insights into the euphoria that is the flip side of the fear of death. The narrator's wit and charm, however, are not enough to counterbalance the monotony of his aimlessness. Though enough grace notes are struck to produce echoes of eloquence, this flatness keeps the memories as melancholy as the women themselves. 250,000 first printing." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The Colombian master storyteller's latest novel is grounded in the steamy atmosphere and gamey politics of his native country; at the same time, in the universality of its theme, it transcends the peculiar traits of his bougainvillea-filled homeland....Garcia Marquez's beautiful, poignant story both avoids sentimentality and escapes salaciousness." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A] fictional memoir to join the first volume of his true memoirs." Library Journal
"It is an existential riff on the many qualities of love and a skillfully controlled and disciplined work of literature." San Francisco Chronicle
"The novel is nimble and brief, and it uses the transformational power of love to rise above moralism." Oregonian
"This is an exquisitely wrought tale, and Edith Grossman's translation ably captures its autumnal beauty." Los Angeles Times
A New York Times Notable Book
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 masters work.
About the Author
Gabriel García Márquez 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 nonfiction.
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