Natalie's Reviews > Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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I can't in good conscience give a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book any less than three stars, but this one ranks at the bottom for me. The prose was as beautiful as it always is with GGM, but the story and its unfolding absolutely skeeved me out.

A ninety-year-old man "buys" himself a fourteen-year-old virgin as a birthday present. The girl is tired from working and taking care of her family, and falls asleep while the unnamed narrator watches her. Over the course of the next year, the narrator spends nights with the girl; he watches her sleep, never speaks to her, touches her and kisses her naked body all over, and sings to her. God, creepy! Despite this power-imbalanced "relationship" and the fact that the two characters never exchange one word during the course of the novel or of the year in which it takes place, our Spanish Humbert Humbert believes himself "dying of love" for the girl, and is encouraged by acquaintances to marry her in order not to die alone.

Meanwhile, Humberto Humberto reminisces about the hundreds of other women he has "bought" over the course of his life - he has never slept with a woman he did not pay, and lost count at 514 when he was fifty years old - and the romanticizing of extreme ephebophila, sex and love as commercial transactions, the narrator's violent temper tantrum when he believes that his "love" has sold her virginity elsewhere, all served to squick me big time.

I couldn't get past the commodification of womens' bodies and the absolute entitlement that the narrator felt to female bodily access; surely I'm missing the point of the novel, but this is certainly not one of GGM's better efforts.
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Devowasright yeah, this book was pretty creepy. you summed it up nicely with "squick". :) was the era this took place in clearly defined? i can't recall.

and i learned a new word.. "ephebophilia". as common as it is, you'd think the word would be more well known.

Natalie It's hard to tell, but I gauged that it took place between 1950 and 1970, based on context. I'm reading another GGM book now to wash the taste out and rekindle my love for his writing :)

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