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Showing 1-10 of 76 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 204 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 August 20, 2011
Despite the title, this isn't a book about a man's reflections over the women he's paid for through the course of his life. What it is, a story of hope. A 90 year old not too talented writer, having lived a solitary and loveless life, contacts an old madam to procure a young virgin for his 90th birthday, believing it's his last fling before death. But upon arrival at the brothel, the girl who's been procured for him is asleep and he finds himself oddly touched by her innocence.

He develops a fantasy life for himself and this girl, feeling her presence in everything that he does, even though she's not physically there. What is central the book is not the girl herself for we are not given any indication of her personality, her thoughts and indeed her feelings, but how the man reacts and changes with his continued fascination for her. There's something about her that manages to touch his core and awakens emotions he's not experienced before. Just when he was planning on checking out of life, he now finds himself with a new lease in life, instead of resigning from his job as a columnist, he continues writing but with a different honesty, he adopts an elderly cat and

It's a story of hope, love, self-acceptance and passion. What I wish was different though, was the author's choice of the girl. It smacked a little too much of pedophilia for my liking. But there's no denying Marquez's genius in soulful writing.
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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 August 12, 2015
This charming little novel is considered a minor work by the Nobel Prize winning Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Whatever its literary status, it's a worthwhile read. The frame of the story involves a ninety year old man who falls in love with a young prostitute, who's not really a prostitute. Within that framework, the author works in some wonderful insights into aging, love, friendship and death. The prose flows through the book like a quiet river on a summer day and provides the reader with a gentle reflective tale by one of the 20th century's greatest writers.
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on November 2, 2006
In 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 straegy 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.
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on May 13, 2014
Gabriel García Márquez died last month so I looked for a book I hadn't read. "Memories" proved an excellent choice. His language is rich, voluptuous and humid as the Colombian jungle. His 90 year old narrator is fully alive and describes a world where teenage girls are facilitated into prostitution and an omnipresent government censor peers over the narrator's work at the newspaper—and makes it all appear totally natural.

The physical book looks and feels like it came from a different era, a slim volume with a textured cover, off-white pages and archaic Janson typeface.

And we English speakers should offer special thanks to Edith Grossman, García Márquez's superstar translator.
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on May 20, 2017
To read Marquez is like drinking a fine Wine.
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on February 16, 2006
I am not an educator or literary critic and I may not be as witty or technical in my review, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is the second of Marquez' books I've read, the first being "One Hundred Years of Solitude," which brought tears to my eyes upon reading just the first two pages for it's beautiful prose. Marquez is a mystical writer, in that things are not to be taken so literally, as when standing before a work of art, one is aware of their overall feeling and impression before examining it's smaller details.

After reading the preceeding reviews, one has a fairly good idea as to what the story is about. I found it left a touching and lingering impression on me. Depending on one's experience and perspective, you could concentrate on the thighs or breasts of a nude, or one could step back a bit and see the beauty and proportion of the entire work. As sex is presented in this book, it can either serve as a distraction or merely the backdrop to a man at last coming to terms with his personal existence and inevitable mortality. Those larger issues are presented gently and sweetly, with peace and acceptance and even joy and hope.

Marquez often exhibits a fantastic-al or almost whimsical style, and I wouldn't doubt that in this novella he hasn't intentionally used sex and whores as a sort of joke to see if the uninitiated reader can get past that and still "get it." One of the greatest tools of a writer is irony, and being subtle in that regard is one of this author's greatest gifts. He begs the reader to suspend their sense of disbelief, and in this case, disregard preconceived notions about life, old age, and death.

This little novel has the qualities that allow it to be read again and again at various stages of one's life and glean something new from it each time. Marquez' words are so beautiful in translation, they make me long to learn to speak his language fluently to truly appreciate them as they were written. I would recommend that the average reader (particularly younger ones) familiarize themselves with at least one of the author's previous works in order to gain a sense of his style and not to take this latest work out of context.
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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 February 10, 2008
I am new to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's work, but having read and enjoyed "Love in the Time of Cholera", I wanted more. My family is Colombian, and the way Marquez describes the scenery and everything around the main character, I can actually picture it, as well as understand the cultural nuances. This story is a nameless older man, who having never married, decides to spend his ninetieth birthday with a virgin. Instead of enjoying the carnal pleasure, he finds her asleep, and is enamored of how young and beautiful she is. He begins to make a habit of going to the brothel just to watch her sleep. As time passes, he comes to fall in love with this girl that he's never met, but has only watched sleep. His curmudgeon ways change, and he comes to love life, and realize what a better place the world is when you have love. A great read.
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