Mummy's Reviews > Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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Dec 04, 10

bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2009

To enjoy this book you have to enter the mind and world of this old, old man, living the last years of his life in poverty in the once-grand, decaying house of his youth. His career never rose above second-rate reporter, he never married and never even fell in love. His personal relationships with women were limited to the whores he paid for. A most unfulfilled life.

But then, for a present for his 90th birthday, he gives himself a 14 year-old virgin, a would-be whore. Exhausted from menial labour and drugged-up by the brothel madame with valerian, she sleeps every night they spend together and for the first time in his life he falls in love. In love with the idea of his sleeping beauty.

This is a poetic, sensual book that many reviewers, unable to see beyond their own ideas of fitness, have condemned as tawdry, a paean to pedophilia and just plain sick. But it isn't. Its the last flowering of a rose; touched by frost it should have died but instead is more glorious, more beautiful because it is so unseasonal, a real surprise. What it says about the nature of men's love for young beauty is age-old: look good, be quiet and demure, and let him be the dominant one, is taken to an extreme here. It worked for Snow White and it worked for the Sleeping Beauty and it works for Delgadina too.
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Comments (showing 1-31 of 31) (31 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Based on your review, I will seek this book out. I had wanted to read it in the past but after seeing other reviews, decided not to. Thanks for this insight.


Mummy It is a beautiful book and definitely worth reading, a real gem.


Kwesi 章英狮 This is a very short book the same with his time left living in this world. I don't know why his books are too expensive for very thin book.


message 4: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia What a wonderful comment from Kwesi.Sadly, he is probably not long for this world. Unfortunately, books are getting expensive but for the pleasure they bring,it is well worth the investment.


message 5: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly I love the rose references.
The last flowering of the [old] rose, within the context of a concern about whether he deflowered the [young] rose or rosebud.
Two extremes in the life of a rose.
Then the fact that his career never "rose" above second-rate reporter!

["Je vois la vie en rose": I see life in rosy hues]


Mummy Ian wrote: "I love the rose references.
The last flowering of the [old] rose, within the context of a concern about whether he deflowered the [young] rose or rosebud.
Two extremes in the life of a rose.
Then t..."


I would love to claim I had the depth of vision in my rose reference that you did in your comment but I didn't :-( He never did deflower in the book, he just sat by her bed and dreamed while she slept. He wasn't that pervy and anyway at his advanced age it was probably beyond him anyway (which might have been one of the rasons why the author decided not to put him to the test!)


message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly So he never rose to the occasion?

I have since read "Ulysses" and roses play a big part in it as well.


Mummy LOL. Are you this witty at dinner parties?

Ulysses 'suffered' a horrid accident when I was reading it, so apart from the bunch of flowers I don't know what more part roses played in it.


message 9: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly Petra X wrote: "LOL. Are you this witty at dinner parties?

Ulysses'suffered' a horrid accident when I was reading it, so apart from the bunch of flowers I don't know what more part roses played in it."


I used to be, though nobody invites me to dinner parties any more.
I thought they died out in the 80's or post-kids.

I made a bunch of references to roses and flowers in my review:

http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2...


Mummy Even if my copy hadn't become 'waterlogged', I would never had the interest to gain the depth of understanding of the book you have.

If you live on a very small island, dinner parties are de rigeur for any kind of social life. Come to think of it, I don't actually have a social life, I have Goodreads :-)


message 11: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly I still can't tell whether you did actually drop your book in the bath or whether you're just kidding.

Anyway, you make a great point in the review of "Melancholy Whores": "To enjoy this book you have to enter the mind and world of this old, old man..."

I think it applies equally to James Joyce, not to mention my reviews.

I love the fact that you live on two little islands, the other being England.

Goodreaders should have more dinner parties together.


Mummy Ian wrote: "I still can't tell whether you did actually drop your book in the bath or whether you're just kidding."

;-)


message 13: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly Now I understand what the critics mean when they say that "Ulysses" occasionally descends into bathos.


Mummy LOL

did that just come to you or did it take a while?


message 15: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly ;-) That would be telling.

See, the thing that appealed to me about your predicament was the irony that "The Odyssey" was a "logbook" of Odysseus' travels across the waters of the Aegean Sea, whereas your copy of "Ulysses" might have descended into the waters of your bathtub and become a "waterlogged" book.

It took me a little while to realise this, and a little while longer to write it, but I wasn't prepared to get out of bed.

I still feel that I'm missing a joke about "waterlogged" though.

I hate it when I sail right past and miss the point.


Mummy The last line of my review should have made it clear if I really dropped Ulysses in the bath tub or was just making excuses!

I understand why you enjoyed Ulysses so much though. You don't miss a beat, you must have caught every literary reference.


message 17: by Ian (last edited Aug 31, 2011 10:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian Pagan-Gladfly I honestly thought there was a chance that you had dropped your audiobook in the bath.

Hopefully, we can just laugh about this exchange over dinner one day. On one of our islands.


Mummy Ian wrote: "I honestly thought there was a chance that you had dropped your audiobook in the bath.

Hopefully, we can just laugh about this exchange over dinner one day. On one of our islands."


I've just seen this.

Yes. One day.


Mummy I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


message 20: by PGR (new) - rated it 4 stars

PGR Nair A very crisp review and some original observations too. I have read it and enjoyed it too, though it is vintage Marquez


message 21: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert I hope I enjoy it as much as you did.


Mummy I think the trick is to allow yourself to get into the mind of the old man and not to see things from a modern Western perspective.


Shaun I cringed through the first few pages thinking what did I get myself into. Then I was completely blown away.


Mummy Shaun, I know what you mean. But you have to read it to know it. (view spoiler)


Shaun I loved his writing so much I immediately bought two other books.


message 26: by Mummy (last edited Mar 05, 2013 10:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mummy Which ones? did you get? My favourites are Love in the Time of Cholera and Innocent Erendira. Those are 7 star books. All other GGM ones are 5 star!


Shaun Of Love and Other Demons, which I read and enjoyed, and The Autumn of the Patriarch, which is in my "to read pile" at home. They were the only two books of his in the bookstore. I've promised myself I'm going to get to them all, though. There's something about his writing that gets under your skin in a good way. In the two books that I've read, he demonstrates an exceptional understanding of himself and others.


Mummy I loved those two books as well. I can't think of anything of GGM I didn't love. I agree, there is something about his writing. He deserved his Nobel prize.


message 29: by Alan (new) - added it

Alan Hunter Havent read it yet, but SEX@90 THAT IS HARD 2 BELIEVE...


Mummy He didn't have sex. He just sat and watched her sleep.


Joanna Choo Beautiful review :-)


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