Sunday, February 7, 2010

Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

As I’m sure you can tell by the title of this book, this is one blog/book that may not be for everyone. Marquez’s writing has always intrigued me and when I saw the spine of this book among his others at the Barnes and Noble, I had to pick it up. I mean, who wouldn’t pick up a book with that title? Even more, who wouldn’t pick up the first new novel by Marquez in ten years?

This book follows a bachelor who, for his ninetieth birthday, decides to have a wild night of love with a virgin. He calls up the Madame of his local brothel and she gives him a fourteen year old girl. Because this young girl has to work so hard during her days sewing buttons onto shirts and caring for her family, she sleeps the entire night and he cannot bring himself to wake her up. This pattern continues as he watches her sleep for months on end without waking her or sleeping with her.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the fact that you got to know the main character so well, as if you have known him for his entire ninety years on earth. There is no detail that Marquez leaves out whether it’s how much he hates his job at the newspaper or how many women he has slept with over the years (believe me, it’s a lot).

This book seemed more like a character study than anything else. This is a lesson on the affects of age and the affect love has on the people it touches. This is a man who has never felt love. He grew up as a spoiled child and used sex as a means of instant satisfaction and instant love. One of the first quotes of the book is:

“Morality, too, is a question of time, she would say with a malevolent smile, you’ll see.”

As people age it becomes easier to give up morals and just do things for the sake of doing them, because you have an impulse. What this book shows is what happens when a man who has lived his whole life among whores who are paid to love actually falls in love. The main character says:

“I always had understood that dying of love was mere poetic license…But I also realized that the contrary was true as well: I would not have traded the delights of my suffering for anything in the world… Ah me, if this is love, then how it torments.”

One of the most beautiful scenes in this book is when he runs in to one of his former whores, one who he was involved with for quite a long time. She had gotten married since and he tells her the entire story of his ordeal with meeting the 14 year old girl and falling in love with her and her purity. After hearing the entire story, his old lover tells him to call the girl immediately because dying alone is the greatest tragedy of all. She says:

“Don’t let yourself die without knowing the wonder of ***having sex* with love.”

This book uses very um… colorful language and imagery… which I myself have no problem with; they are just words after all. But, this could put a lot of people off so read this book knowing that. It is worth a read, though. This book makes you think about age, love, and above all, life.

* I changed the words there....

Until next time, happy reading! Send me your book recommendations if you have them, I’d be happy to check them out and review them all! Leave any comments below! I’d love to hear them!