StephenWright, November 27, 2007 (view all comments by StephenWright)
There is always a possibility when one reads a book that has been translated that some of the subtlety of the writing is lost in translation, however, in the light of Love in a Time of Cholera, News of a Kidnapping, One Hundred Years of Solitude et al, this is undoubtedly second rate Garcia Marquez. As with Love in a Time of Cholera, it focusses on a man whose life appears to have been wasted by virtue of the fact that it has been spent paying for 'love' as opposed to having a fulfilling relationship. Pervsely, when he finds love, he still has to pay for it, and it remains unconsummated. I suppose this is part of the irony, that a man who has been satisfied to whatever degree, by paying for sex, is now paying for emotion - and in the process his relationship with the girl is completely in his mind. Surely what it shows is that in old age, one attempts to correct the mistakes in ones life and make up for lost time, and in this instance appears rather depressingly to be missing the point. Ultimately, like sleeping with prostitutes, the supposed innocence of the situation is fractured by the fact that it is still all about him.
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lukas, November 26, 2007 (view all comments by lukas)
I think I picked this up just because it had "whores" in the title. Just kidding. Readers looking for a sexy read will instead find an autmumnal, bittersweet, graceful tale of a 90 year old man's unlikely relationship with a teenage prostitute. If the plot sounds distasteful, it's redeemed by Marquez's rich, textured writing and the wry, aristocratic protagonist. It doesn't break new ground for him, but it is a sensual, lyrical, slim novel that is a good introduction to the master's work.
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crowyhead, August 18, 2006 (view all comments by crowyhead)
As usual, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's writing is gorgeous and finely crafted, and I understand why this novella was critically acclaimed. It was one of those books that my feminist sensibilities just couldn't let me fully enjoy, however. Women in Marquez's books tend to exist to drive the plot and give the protagonists grand epiphanies, and I've pretty much resigned myself to this. But I had a really hard time getting past it in this one, since basically it's all about how the protagonist is given a new lease on life at ninety by a fourteen-year-old virginal prostitute. Yes, it turns out to be a largely chaste relationship, and yes, he is able to assist the young woman (who is largely nameless in the novel -- the protagonist gives her a name in his mind and has no wish to know who she really is), but she remains an object for his enlightenment, rather than a character in her own right.
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Alfred A. Knopf -
by Martin John Brown,
In Memories of the My Melancholy Whores, García Márquez demonstrates that, even in his late seventies, he remains one of world literature's most intelligent and passionate writers.
by Martin John Brown
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
"Review A Day"
by Scott Raab, Esquire,
"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." (read the complete Esquire review)
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"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."
A cause for celebration, this is the Nobel laureate's first work of fiction in ten years--a masterpiece by the master storyteller of our time.
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