Memories of My Melancholy Whores

ISBN: 0307278492
ISBN 13: 9780307278492
By: Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez Edith Grossman

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About this book

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature"Garcí­a Márquez has composed, with his usual sensual gravity and Olympian humor, a love letter to the dying light."--John Updike, The New YorkerOn 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 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 master's work."Luminous....The cunning of Memories lies in the utter--and utterly unexpected--reliability of its narrator."--The New York Times Book Review"Masterful. Erotic. As hypnotizing as it is disturbing."--Los Angeles Times"Profoundly haunting....Fiction of the very highest order."--The Times Literary Supplement

Reader's Thoughts

د.حنان فاروق

بالتأكيد قراء ماركيز يجب ألا يكونوا من القراء الاعتياديين..أقصد بالقراء الاعتياديين هؤلاء الذين يقرؤون وهم يأكلون مثلاً أو لشغل وقتهم في الحافلة أو القطار أو الطائرة أثناء السفر..هؤلاء الذين لا يستطيعون منح تركيزهم بالكامل للكلمات التي بين أيديهم ويعتبرونها مجرد ترفيه أو طريقة لبعثرة الوقت الممل أو ماشابه..ماركيز دائماً يأخذك إلى منطقة لا تستطيع الفكاك منها ..لأنها ببساطة فيك..داخلك ..فهو يتوغل إلى تلك الأعماق الضيقة الميكروسكوبية التي في الإنسان بكل رحابته وقدرته على الحكي ويتلوها عليك تماماً كما تلا بطل القصة هنا حكاياته الأثيرة على الطفلة الأنثى التي أحبها وهي نائمة ولم يرد منها حتى أن تكلمه أو تبادله الحديث..لم يرد إلا وجودها ..هذا الوجود الذي صنعه هو..إننا في كثير من الأحيان أو في كل الأحيان كل الحكاية..والذين يعيشون معنا أو بداخلنا في حقيقتهم هم نحن الغائبة الحاضرة التي تبحث عنا في كل شيء..في القصة هو ابن تسعين لكنه أبداً لا يشعر إلا أنه هو..ذلك الرجل الذي بدأ جنونه ورحلاته المكوكية في الدنيا مذ كان في الثانية عشرة أو أقل..إن الشيء الوحيد الذي ينبهنا لأننا كبرنا في السن هو الشكل الخارجي أما بداخلنا فنحن لا نتغير أبداً إلا في بعض القناعات واتساع أو اختلاف وجهة النظر لكن نحن...رؤيتنا...تعاطينا مع الأمور ...تظل هي هي..إننا مختبرون بالحياة..مفتونو ومبتلون بها..وغارقون فيها حتى الموت...وفي كل حياتنا نظل نبحث عن الشيء الذي لا نعرفه أو لانراه بدأب من أجل أن نرى..فقط من أجل أن نرى..فالرؤية والمعرفة هما المحفزان الأساس لاستكمال الحياة رغم أنهما لا تكتملان أبداً...ربما ماركيز دائماً يعلمنا ألا نكون أسرى للعينين المغروستين في رؤوسنا وأن نتحرر أكثر فلو دققنا النظر سنكتشف أننا ككل عين كبيرة جدا على الحياة لكن المشكلة فقط في الإدراك..هذا الإدراك الذي لا يأتي بالاستسلام للقوالب الجاهزة سابقة الإعداد ولكن يأتي ويتأكد بالتدريب وشحذ الحواس بكل وسائل الروح والجسد الممكنة التي تمكننا من أن نرى ما وراء الأشياء وما بينها..بل..ونراها هي نفسها على حقيقتها...ومازلت مع المايسترو جابو وماركيز(كلاهما واحد) عن الماهيات الحقيقية التي قد تكون هي نفسها من صنع الخيال ..فالخيال حقيقة بل أكثر من حقيقة طالما طاله الإدراك..

Yzobelle

This is quite an easy read -- something that can be finished while having a haircut and an ice cream sundae after. I couldn't say much about the grandeur of this book. It's not much. But it did give me quite a number of realizations. Some are profound. Some are simply amusing. One thing that struck me is the commonality I have, at 32, with a 90-year-old man. Marquez, speaking of himself: "I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. ...."Another thing that this book made me believe is that Spanish men are entertaining storytellers and naturally romantic.Oh btw, is it just this book edition that doesn't enclose dialogs in quotation marks? The absence of that slows down the reading pace and makes it a little annoying.

Robert

The review I wrote for amazon.A curious and lovely bookIn the US, we understand sexy but we struggle with the erotic. We read the body like we read the newspaper, by habit; with a glance. Our real failure in love is our failure to take our time. It's not in our nature to wait, to sample, to savor. We rush into love as if we were late to an appointment. Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his MEMORIES OF MY MELANCHOLY WHORES doesn't rush. The book is a seduction and moves at that quiet lazy confident pace. The protagonist turns 90 and, mindful of his mortality, wants what he's never had: "A night of wild love with an adolescent virgin." Of course, desire is a dream and dreams are an attempt to remember. And, what do we want to remember, everything, everyone we've ever loved. Memory, though, is an admission of loss. Desire is our strategy to reclaim what was lost. Of course, memory is a trickster...and that's part of the joy of this book, as the "Professor," defies death less through contact with flesh, than though memory and desire. In this book as in life, it is the approach, it is anticipation, that sets us on fire.

Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain

So far, it is the worst book I have read this year. The story itself starts very disgustingly. A journalist, on his 90th birthday, wants to have sex with a virgin. He calls the local madam, Rosa Cabarcas and she arranges a 15 year old girl for him. The journalist, in his 90 long years, never found love. All he wants is just to please himself physically and to test his 'performance' at this age. When the journalist meets the arranged girl, he discovered he fell in love for the first time in his life. The plot is somewhat eccentric and ambitious but the execution is not up to the mark. The whole plot is destroyed due to pretension. The repetitive description of the girl's naked body is also very disturbing. One has to be the old journalist of the novel while reading for enjoying the book. I tried really hard, but couldn't see myself in his place. For books like this, I think I am going to make another bookshelf. And I shall name it 'Total waste of time'.

Mark

Despite my well documented affection for the author, I actually had mentally prepared myself to dislike or at least be disappointed by this book. I had read lukewarm reviews and was somewhat under-whelmed by the brief on the book jacket. A 90 year old man who falls in love with a sleeping 14 year old virgin. Marquez has written about these sinful or impossible loves before, one novella of his is about a priest who falls in love with a 14 year old girl. Ultimately though, I found this book to be engaging and charming even though it does not rank among Marquez's greater works. I enjoyed the idea of this man taking a sleeping girl and in his mind building her into the love of his life. the telling sentence is when the lovesick 90 year old hears the girl's voice and decides that he likes her better sleeping than awake. If you have not really read Marquez, this is not the best example of what he is capable of, but if you have enjoyed his musings on life, age and love in the past then this book is worth a read.

Bonnie

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars ‘Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.’ Memories of My Melancholy Whores opens with a most surprising statement from our unnamed narrator: “The year I turned 90, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.” While this might not inspire any sort of positive feelings towards this man, the truth is he has lived long enough to not really care because his lasciviousness is simply who this man is and has always been. Introduced to love-making at an early age in a local brothel, he boastfully states that he has never gone to bed with a woman that he didn’t pay to do so. After a statement like that it comes as no surprise that he was also the twice crowned client of the year. He stopped keeping track of his sexual escapades at age 50 when he had reached 514 tallies.Memories of My Melancholy Whores may not feature your typical grandfatherly figure but our narrator still manages to charm us in his liveliness even at such an advanced age. While sleeping with virgins won’t likely be on my bucket list when I reach 90, being in a healthy position to do so regardless is definitely something to aim for. Our unnamed narrators story stirs up comparisons to another older fellow who was fond of a young girl, one Humbert Humbert. ‘Seeing and touching her in the flesh, she seemed less real to me than in my memory.’ The way this story was written is also similar to Lolita in that it almost feels like an attempt to explain and defend his feelings for what happened between him and the 14 year old girl he names Delgadina. Instead, his actions would indicate that he has no reason to not be truthful and that his decision to call upon Rosa Cabarcas and ask for the girl was the first step towards doing what he should have done all along: look for love. Not unexpectedly, this is not your typical love story. Our unnamed narrator is smitten with the young girl, yet even he can see the ridiculousness of the situation he has found himself in, especially when his meets with the girl are always while she’s asleep. He reads her stories and strokes her body and while away from her he fantasizes of a life spent together with her. ‘...that was the beginning of a new life at an age when most mortals have already died.’ Memories of My Melancholy Whores is more than just an unlikely story of love. It is also about when reaching the point in your life and being able to look back on how you’ve spent yours causes you to change and transform into the person you had always intended to be. For one that spent his life never truly knowing love, it finally came to him when least expected.

Kwesi 章英狮

Life is so complicated to understand at the same time the working mind of every people, how they think, they act or develop in their entire life. When I was walking nearby a bar, I saw an old man wearing his new clothes bought from the department store while guided by his nurse and stick, and entered a bar. I cannot imagine such scene in my mind esepcially the sexual interaction between an old man and a very young lady.In this novella, Gabriel García Márquez, put you into deepest imagination while reading a very interesting and lonely letter of a 90-year-old man searching for a girl. An old bachelor man is searching for a young virgin on his 90th birthday to enjoy his old body mind. Until he met a 14-year-old girl, searching for money to help her family, through Rosa Cabarcas, the owner of the illicit house. Poor cat trying to read the book but he end up beaten in the middle of the second chapter as he saw the virgin maiden lying naked and arms in cross. Meow. It was well-written and in a way reader will not bore to death reading a very short narrative of a very old man searching for love in his death bed. This story is quite common but cannot be shared as part of the societies acceptance. Although, it was banned in Iran after a group of conservatives said it was implementing prostitution. I think Gabriel García Márquez, only showed that love cannot be determine by age, love is ageless because age doesn't mean you are old or how old you feel. Recommended to those people who likes to read romance written by male authors.The book was also written in poetic prose, the sentences are clearly beautiful. But the idea of an old man with a body that aches and wrinkly skin is having an intercourse with a young girl is unacceptable in my mind, even though I liked this book. I just can't stop my vivid imagination of the scene to stop. Maybe if I'm older and still a bachelor, it is up to me to decide whether the man really done the right thing or not. I'm sure I won't forget this book forever.P.S. I don't like to be an old bachelor. Picture tell lies, so beware and be careful of what you see and it may depicts your true intention. This picture is quite amazing, such a masterpiece for an old man. I think I need a spectacle this time. OhSaraOhOh! Review posted on Old-Fashioned Reader .Rating: Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel García Márquez, 4 SweetsChallenges:Book #193 for 2011Book #110 for Off the Shelf!

Amir

این کتاب آخرین داستان بلند گابریل گارسیا مارکز هست... کتاب در سال 2004 نوشته شده و ترجمه فارسی اسم کتاب میشه خاطرات روسپی های سودا زده من... کتاب در ایران با اسم خاطره دلبران سودازده من چاپ شد و بعد از اینکه چاپ شد وزارت ارشاد ممنوع اعلامش کرد و شروع کرد به جمع کردنش و با مسئولانی هم که مجوز چاپ داده بودن به شدت برخورد کرد و به نقل از خود وزارت ارشاد اخراجشون کرد... .توضیح مختصری در مورد کتاب بگم براتون... سبک نوشتاری کتاب کاملا همون سبک آشنای مارکز هست... (گابریل گارسیا مارکز جزو نویسندگان مورد علاقه من هست)... نسبت به کارهای قدیمی ترش تفاوتی که خیلی مشهود بود این بود که سبک رئالیسم جادویی مارکز خیلی بیشتر به سمت رئالیسم پیش رفته... داستان کلی در مورد تفاوت بین عشق و ارتباط جنسی هست... دیدگاهی که مارکز در مورد مسائل جنسی داره دیدگاه متفاوتی نسبت به نویسندگان اروپایی و آمریکای شمالی هست و در دو تا کتاب دیگه ای که من ازش خوندم (صد سال تنهایی و پاییز پدرسالار) همین دیدگاه تکرار شده... داستان عبارات و کلمه هایی داره که متناسب با عرف نیستن... برای من جای تعجب داره که چطور این کتاب حتی با سانسور قسمتهایی ازش چاپ شده... در کل من کتاب رو کار خیلی قوی نمی دونم ولی کار نسبتا خوبی هست... کتابهای متنوعی از نویسنده های مختلف در مورد تحلیل اجتماعی و روانشناختی روسپی ها خوندم و به نظر من در این مقوله این کتاب، کتاب نسبتا خوبی هست.

1da

Memoria de mis putas tristes...I LOVE Gabriel García Marquez. He weaves his magical realism right into your brain and it's like I was peeking in through a window rather than reading. I've read a few not so good reviews of this novella and they cannot be more wrong. Yes, Gabo's intricate magical realism is not as pronounced as it is say in Cien años de soledad (100 Years of Solitude), but it's definitely there. If you missed it, I suggest you go back and reread because it is there. This was a short and bittersweet read. I felt like I was starving waiting for a 3 course meal and got only the appetizer. This book let me read it so quickly that it left me with a hungry, hollow empty feeling. So, I read it again as soon as I finished it and I found many new tidbits to fill me up.Nostalgia and melancholy...blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb and star fruit topped with smooth fluffy cream...all that sweet and tart that just kinda explodes into your mouth. So bitter inside my mouth that I felt tears welling in my throat then suddenly the sweetness of the cream and everything seemed like pure bliss. Yellows, reds, greens, blues and pure pure white. Something about the way GGM writes that he evokes colors and flavors vs just words on the page. Don't miss the point, this novella, as I've seen commented, is not just about a lonely old man who never found true love nor do I think it's Gabo's farewell to his readers. Don't let brevity lead you to think this is a shallow little story. This novella delves into some deep themes like love, sexuality, prostitution, pedophilia, aging, soul searching and, one of my favorite themes, the lover and the beloved. Oh and it has a moral.I highly recommend you read this...twice even. On and if you can, read it in Spanish. The translation is great, but some things just don't translate.

Stela

Mi-am spus inițial că faptul că am citit Povestea tîrfelor mele triste aproape imediat după Casa frumoaselor adormite e un caz clasic de serendipitate. Acum mă gîndec că poate nu a fost o coincidență chiar aşa de fericită. Cu textul nipon atît de proaspăt în minte mi-a fost cu neputință să nu trec povestea lui Marquez printr-o avalanşă de interpretări interogative : parodie ? dialog intertextual ? continuare ? reinterpretare argentiniană a simbolurilor japoneze ?Din păcate, am terminat lectura cu senzația că e din toate cîte puțin dar într-un mod superficial şi ezitant, ca şi cum tocul a devenit prea greu pentru mîna prea obosită să păstreze fermitatea scriiturii. Ca şi Kawabata, Marquez dezvoltă tema morții şi a dorinței umane de a o învinge în căutarea fîntînii tinereții veşnice. Si aici eroul are epifania identității dintre Hypnos si Thanatos. Doar că batrînul de 90 de ani descoperă cu uimire că poți să-ți iubeşti moartea chiar dacă n-o poti ocoli şi că această iubire îți poate oferi singura şansă la nemurire – potențialul creator. Cei o sută de ani de singurătate se răscumpără astfel, ba chiar devin reversibili, cărare de aur ducînd înapoi spre Kansas:Aveam, în sfârsit, parte de viață reală, cu inima la adăpost si condamnat să mor de dragoste adevărată în agonia fericită a oricărei zile după ce aveam să împlinesc o sută de ani.Frumos, cum spuneam, dar nu întru totul convingător şi departe atît de delicatetea prozei lui Kawabata cît şi de magia propriei scriituri, cu toate că ici şi colo mîna redevine fermă, iar tonul mesemerizator marquezian ne mîngîie încă o dată auzul cu poveştile sale atît de amuzant absurde şi atît de fermecător ironice :Ultimul ei tip, un negru zâmbitor din Camagiley, căruia îi ziceau Iona Ocnaşul, fusese un trompetist dintre cei mai de vază la Havana, până şi-a pierdut zâmbetul complet într-o catastrofă de tren.

Sarit

Garcia Marquez is getting tired. He dashed off this half-hearted little story and no publisher or faithful reader could resist the draw of his name. But if it had been someone's first work, it never would have been published.

Jonyleo

"The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin." So begins Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and it becomes even more unlikely as the novel unfolds. This slim volume contains the story of the sad life of an unnamed, only slightly talented Colombian journalist and teacher, never married, never in love, living in the crumbling family manse. He calls Rosa Cabarcas, madame of the city's most successful brothel, to seek her assistance. Rosa tells him his wish is impossible--and then calls right back to say that she has found the perfect girl. The protagonist says of himself: "I have never gone to bed with a woman I didn't pay ... by the time I was fifty there were 514 women with whom I had been at least once ... My public life, on the other hand, was lacking in interest: both parents dead, a bachelor without a future, a mediocre journalist ... and a favorite of caricaturists because of my exemplary ugliness." The girl is 14 and works all day in a factory attaching buttons in order to provide for her family. Rosa gives her a combination of bromide and valerian to drink to calm her nerves, and when the prospective lover arrives, she is sound asleep. Now the story really begins. The nonagenarian is not a sex-starved adventurer; he is a tender voyeur. Throughout his 90th year, he continues to meet the girl and watch her sleep. He says, "This was something new for me. I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we had made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark, so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were ... That night I discovered the improbably pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty." Márquez's style never falters throughout this recounting of his life and his exploration of love, found at an unexpected time and place. The erstwhile lover is still capable of being surprised--and fulfilled. After an absence of ten years, it is a treat to have another parable from the master. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Joyzi

This book reminds me so much of Pretty Woman. A man and a prostitute falling in love with one another. However in this one the male protagonist was over ninety years old and the female protagonist was about fifteen years old. The book was an easy read, I read it in one sitting. Good somewhat philosophical and it talks about life, aging, love and death. Nevertheless I was a bit disturbed with the age difference of the main characters so I'll just gave this one three stars. Extra: This book was banned in Iran because a group of conservatives thought the book was promoting prostitution.

Luís

An old man decides that the ninetieth birthday will have to present "a night of mad love with an adolescent virgin." Little did he know that this would fancy him ready.The night and awaited the following, the protagonist will be limited to contemplate the naked body of young beautiful sleeping and imagine a life beside her. This experience will rise to a feeling which the old man always fled: love. "I never slept with any woman without paying, and the few who were not convinced of the office by reason or by force to receive the money if only to throw away." This fear is due in part to a traumatic experience in childhood the protagonist, forcibly sexually initiated by a prostitute.Moreover, the elder leads an empty life, chronicling dull and reviews for El Diario La Paz, one provincial newspaper, and teaching of Latin grammar and spanish. "I was a bad teacher without training, without any vocation or pity for those poor boys who only went to school to be the easiest way to escape the tyranny of parents. The only thing I could do for them was to keep them under the terror of my wooden ruler so that at least would lead to the remembrance of my favorite poem. "But García Márquez, love life and have no existence independent of one another. As if intoxicated by an elixir of youth, the feeling by nymphet Delgadina, the character is invaded by a great will to live. Reform the old house where he lives, expose yourself to some ridiculous like riding a bike with singing "airs of the great Caruso" or destroy the room of a brothel of jealousy. The change in the lives of the elderly is also reflected in his writings. "Clouded by the evocation of inclement Delgadina asleep, moved without the slightest malice spirit of my chronicles Sunday. Whatever the subject wrote them for her, them laughing and crying for her, every word would be my life [...], as I wrote the love letters that everyone could make their own. "The author also questions the old age in his novel. Would it be the beginning of the end? Worth changing, even with death so close? Is it possible to fall in love so ardently in old age?~In addition to a beautiful and intelligent love story, García Márquez's book questions the age and shows that it is never too late to change and love. A must for fans of the author and lovers of good literature.

Shaun

The truth is, I'm getting old, I said. We already are old, she said with a sigh. What happens is that you don't feel it on the inside, but from the outside everybody can see it. page 98This is just one of many great insights found within Memories of My Melancholy Whores.While the premise of this book, which revolves around a ninety-year-old bachelor who longs to celebrate his birthday with a virgin (a sleeping girl of 14 who becomes the source of an unconsummated love), invokes a certain amount of disgust for obvious reasons, if you are able to get beyond the political incorrectness and depravity of what's being suggested on the surface, you will find a masterfully written story about life, loving, living, and aging.Marquez's story is honest, funny, insightful, sensual, and occasionally disconcerting, even repugnant. Yet morally challenged or not, his characters are perfect in their imperfections and so completely human as to make us all a little uncomfortable with our humanity. I'll end with another excerpt that illustrates some of the literary excellence found in abundance throughout the book:"I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we made love without love, half dressed most of the time and always in the dark so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were. That night I discovered the improbable pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty." page 29

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