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Showing 1-10 of 77 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 205 reviews
on November 28, 2011
I recently read the author's acclaimed work "Love in the Time of Cholera" and enjoyed it very much. It spurred me to seek out more work by Marquez, hence this and several others that I recently purchased. My second foray into Marquez was "One Hundred Years of Solitude". I was very disappointed in that novel and concerned that I'd perhaps already seen the best he had to offer. Luckily, I followed up with "Love and Other Demons", finding it to be well worth the effort.

This very short work (it has the page length of a novella, but is in reality little more than a short story, easily read in under two hours) has as its subject, a 90 year old journalist, who has decided to reward himself with a fourteen year old virgin. Upon encountering the young girl asleep, he is so overcome with her innocence that the remainder of his life is consumed with a love that is never consummated. The book is full of recollections and remembrances of his life and many of the women he has encountered.

Marquez's writing is certainly unique in its earthiness. He deals with such subjects as sex, bodily functions and graphic illness as if they are parts of everyday life ... because they are. It is refreshing.

Marquez is also known as one of the leading practitioners of the literary device of "magical realism" in which events are introduced into the story which are quite fantastic. This was a major device used in One Hundred Years of Solitude and perhaps contributed to my dissatisfaction with that work. The device is happily absent in this work.

The author's writing is indisputably beautiful and at times mesmerizing. Much like LitToC, this is a haunting and compelling story, filled with sadness and regret. It is very short, however, and not up to the standards of much of the author's previous work.
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on October 16, 2011
The story told in Memories of My Melancholy Whores is rather sordid on the surface, the type of tale that many of us would not otherwise read were it not for the fact it was written by the much beloved author Gabriel García Márquez.

As celebration of his 90th birthday a journalist of little accomplishment solicits, through his favorite madam, an adolescent virgin for his delights. The gentleman, who is never named, is more than familiar with sex, once named a brothels client of the year, but he has never known love. Never really cared to know love. That is the story on the surface. What lies beneath is a tale which at the heart is about first love with all its longing, jealousy and madness. What makes the story remarkable is that it is a 90 year old who is experiencing this and the literary mastery of Marquez keeps us engaged and makes us all believers.

Not one of Marquez' best books, but when you are talking about one of the modern day masters of fiction, even a lesser accomplishment is a treasure.
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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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VINE VOICEon February 8, 2006
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 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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on May 14, 2015
A very interesting read. I've never read anything from this author before, but I did enjoy his ability to get the reader inside a very subjective experience, through this first-person stream of consciousness account of an old man's last year on earth. You don't always like him, but he is fascinating.
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on December 13, 2013
Dramatic...Wildly imaginative...a journey into a world of sexual fantasy
once you start reading this book you cannot put it down. the reader is left wondering what's next, how does the interweaving sexual trysts and forage into memories of upbringing turn out...only to be surprised. You keep asking yourself is this story real or fantasy....the answer is left to the reader!
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