by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I finished my first book of 2008!
Marquez's newest novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores is a beautifully written narrative in the voice of a ninety-plus year old man (not far off from old Gabriel himself). On his ninetieth birthday he calls the madam of a local brothel- an old friend of his- and says he wants a virgin for that very night.
What ensues is the last waning days of an old man’s life as he stumbles on the reality that he hasn’t had a lasting loving relationship his entire adult life, opting instead for the temporary thrills of whores. He is coming to terms with his life long loneliness despite literally hundreds of relationships.
As is usual with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the pages are laden with a very palatable, often heart gripping romanticism. Loss, loneliness, love, friendship are always of epic proportions. Homes fall into decay as their inhabitants suffer life without love. Old friends nurse the dying to health by mere reminiscence of greater by-gone days. It’s all corny when said this way, and no other writer I know could get away with this today, but Marquez is a master storyteller. Certainly among the world’s best. He puts a spit shine on life. He illuminates the depth and meaning in even the most mundane of lives. He’s certainly done it again in this short novel.
Ever since I met a professor who studies “senior sexuality,” I have been apprehensively intrigued by the issue. I will be sending him this book.