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on October 21, 2017
What an unusual story. It's difficult to describe this book without spoiling the experience for those who have not yet read it. Still I can say that any lover of books and great narratives will find this novel an incredibly fascinating account. The way he Marquez circulates around a social taboo and keeps the reader in suspense is just marvellous and very elegantly done. Enjoy but have an open mind.
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on September 30, 2017
Really loved this novella. It was a deep dive into the mind of an old man who regardless of all that he did and was still had love and still wanted to be loved. It's a quick and enjoyable read that'll make you ruminate on mortality and maybe some other off color topics.
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on October 13, 2017
Another well written book by Gabriel Garcia Marques.
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on May 20, 2017
To read Marquez is like drinking a fine Wine.
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on August 29, 2017
It is a great book.
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Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short novel, "Memories of my Melancholy Whores" is a deeply moving yet ironic parable about how emotional transformation and a newly-found ability to love are possible, even at an advanced age.

The main character in the story is an unnamed narrator who, to celebrate his ninetieth birthday, contacts a madam of his longstanding acquaintance, Rosa, to procure a young virgin with whom to spend the night and to demonstrate his continued virility. The narrator tells us that in his long life he never had sex for which he had not paid and that he had engaged the services of over 500 women before he stopped counting. He had planned to use his experiences as the basis for writing memoirs with the title of this novel.

Rosa procures for the narrator a 14 year old girl from a poor family who works during the day sewing buttons at a garment factory. She drugs the girl and takes the narrator to the sleeping girl's bed. There is no sexual consummation; instead the narrator gazes at the body of the young girl and departs at early morning. At the madam's instigation, he continues to see the girl, chastely, reads to her, tries modestly to teach her, but largely watches her while she peacefully sleeps. His attractions are strongest when the girl is asleep. Gradually he finds himself in love with the girl and his life is transformed. He brings her presents and candy, thinks of her obsessively, becomes protective, and jealous. He writes of love in a column he has prepared for 50 years for a local newspaper and becomes famed for his eloquence. He adopts an aged cat, learns to take care of it, and steps in to prevent the cat from being put to sleep. He comes to believe, with some reason, that he has learned of love for the first time at the age of 90, without the thought of payment for sex and, indeed, without sex. The narrator's life takes on a meaning and a purpose it hadn't had before.

The narrator exhibits what is commonly known as the "Madonna - Whore" complex in that throughout his life his extensive sexual activity has been limited to the latter component of the dichotomy. With his partial transformation at age 90, he doesn't get a great deal beyond the complex as his love for the young girl remains, as far as we are told, physically restrained and nonsexual throughout. In addition, Marquez tells his story with a great deal of irony and distancing. While the narrator shows some growth in character and in understanding a love that had been closed to him, it is at the expense of a poor, exploited, and underage (only the madam's connections keep her from prosecution for procuring a minor)girl. The girl is far more apppealing, the story suggests, asleep than awake, both physically and in terms of her disposition and character. The narrator gives her a pet name, Delgadina, and never learns her true name. The madam, an unreliable source, plays a key role at many points in the story in whetting the narrator's interest in the girl, and we frequently see the course of events through her highly interested eyes. All of this and more suggests that our aged protagonist remains more in love with an ideal than with an actual woman.

For all its ambiguities, the story seems to me inspiring, if bittersweet. I was left with the feeling that wisdom and love can come to people, even if they come late and come imperfectly.

The story spoke to me of the transforming power of love, when it combines with and illuminates human sexuality.

Admirers of Marquez and of this book might enjoy J.M. Coetzee's recent and learned review in the February 23, 2006, New York Review of Books.

Robin Friedman
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on December 10, 2017
I first came to be aware of this through a NPR review. I did enjoy reading it. It was very descriptive in its storytelling.
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on September 27, 2016
Garcia Marquez is my favorite author, but I'd not heard about this slim volume. The subject matter at first was off-putting but, once I started the novel, I understood the premise better. It's a lush, lovely book. Highly recommend it.
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on September 6, 2016
Good book, sometimes confusing. And please if you see in the reviews some negativity, because of how an old men felt for a girl just ignore and read the book! It has some taboo in love so don't get scared.
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on September 14, 2015
Marquez introduce you in his world in such way that you would like to be into this magic entour but at the same time you can react and know the thinkig of the latinoamerican men. So i hope the change of mentality related with the misoginy and the treatment of the women exposed in the book.
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