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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Vintage International)


Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9781400095940
ISBN10: 1400095948
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. The unnamed narrator of Memories of My Melancholy Whores says that he has “resolved to tell of my own free will just what Im like, if only to ease my conscience” [p. 5]. Why does he have a troubled conscience? Why would the act of telling his story ease it? Does he succeed in this goal?

2. The narrator wants to give himself a “night of wild love with an adolescent virgin” [p. 5] to celebrate his ninetieth birthday. What is it, both physically and spiritually, that he gets instead?

3. What is the significance of the narrator falling in love with Delgadina while she sleeps? Why is he so taken by the “improbable pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty” [p. 29]?

4. The narrator says that thanks to Delgadina, he “confronted [his] inner self for the first time as [his] ninetieth year went by” [p. 65]. What does he discover about himself? How has his experience with Delgadina led him to this knowledge?

5. When Rosa Cabarcas is about to tell him the young girls name, the narrator cuts her off: “Dont tell me . . . for me shes Delgadina” [p. 68]. Why doesnt he want to know her real name?

6. The narrator says that he has never gone to bed with a woman he didnt pay and that by the time he was fifty he had been with over 500 women. Why does he choose to have sex only with prostitutes? How might his own first sexual experience-being “initiated by force into the arts of love” [p. 109] by a prostitute when he was not yet twelve-be related to this choice?

7. A North American novelist celebrating love between a ninety-year-old man and a fourteen-year-old girl would very likely be condemned for endorsing child sexual abuse. What cultural or literary factors allow García Márquez to write such a story without provoking a firestorm of criticism?

8. In what ways is Memories of My Melancholy Whores like a fable or fairy tale? How does it combine the elements of magic and realism that are trademarks of García Márquezs style?

9. What is the meaning of the sentence the narrator finds written in lipstick on the mirror: “The tiger does not eat far away” [p. 56]? Who left this message?

10. The narrator at times doubts the reality of Delgadina. “It troubles me,” he remarks, “that she was real enough to have birthdays” [p. 71]. Is his love for her simply a projection onto the blank screen of her sleeping body, or is he in fact responding to her on some primal, transformative level?

11. At the very end of the novel, the narrator says, “It was, at last, real life” [p. 115]. Why does he feel he is finally experiencing real life? In what ways has his life up to this point been unreal?

12. Love is a central theme in Gabriel García Márquezs fiction. If you have read any of his other work, in what ways is the experience of love treated differently in Memories of My Melancholy Whores than in his earlier writing? In what ways are such works as One Hundred Years of Solitude, Innocent Erendira, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Of Love and Other Demons similar to Memories of My Melancholy Whores in their treatment of love, sex, and sexual exploitation?

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

shep_9, September 27, 2011 (view all comments by shep_9)
I am a BIG fan of Marquez. I have read at least half a dozen of his books/novellas and this is my second favorite. First, it's short. Marquez's style is very much, for me, like Hemingway. That rambling prose with very deep stories and connections that take some paying attention... Marquez isn't a pick it up, put it down, and pick it up 4 months later kind of a writer. So this novella was very manageable. This story, along with much of his work, may not appeal to all as it includes questionable sexual practices. But I love his stories and the way he tells them. They are so rich and involved.
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wendy35, May 15, 2009 (view all comments by wendy35)
I think this book has been a mix of suprise and exitement. T o read this book is like going on a rollercoaster in the dark-it gets better but you can't see what is it!! you'll love it!!!
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Product Details

Garcia Marquez, Gabriel
Vintage Books USA
Grossman, Edith
Grossman, Edith
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Translated by Edith Grossman
Garca Mrquez, Gabriel
rquez, Gabriel
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Translated by Edith Grossman
Gabriel Garc
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia
Garcma Marquez, Gabriel
Literature-A to Z
fiction;novel;colombia;literature;love;magical realism;latin america;romance;aging;prostitutes;colombian;prostitution;latin american;old age;sex;south america;21st century;latin american literature;nobel;nobel prize;marquez;south american;literary fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage International
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.98x5.28x.36 in. .31 lbs.

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Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 128 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400095940 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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 , "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)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[A] fictional memoir to join the first volume of his true memoirs."
"Review" by , "It is an existential riff on the many qualities of love and a skillfully controlled and disciplined work of literature."
"Review" by , "The novel is nimble and brief, and it uses the transformational power of love to rise above moralism."
"Review" by , "This is an exquisitely wrought tale, and Edith Grossman's translation ably captures its autumnal beauty."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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