Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- Book Review

"The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin."

It was a beautiful title, and a promising beginning, but that was all. Usually I will give a book 50 pages before passing judgment and casting it aside, but in this case I was already halfway to the end. If it had been a longer book, I would not have finished it.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores follows the story of an old man who decides, on his 90th birthday, that he wants to fuck a young virgin. Instead of having sex, however he "falls in love" with the sleeping child in the whorehouse.

It's not the pedophilia that bothers me in this book. I found Nabokov's Lolita irresistible. I just felt no connection with the character, and I did not find his love for the girl at all credible or compelling. He never really speaks to her--he makes up a name for her (Delgadina) rather than attempt to find out what she calls herself. He cannot recognize her with her clothes on (a sure-fire sign he did not spend much time looking at her face) and he does not even have an interesting fantasy version of her to fall in love with.

I kept waiting for the book to be something more, to take me somewhere interesting, but from the first line the story is headed downhill. Perhaps I missed the point, but if Marquez is trying to communicate some truth about old age, maybe I would rather remain unenlightened. I still intend to read either Love in the Time of Cholera or One Hundred Years of Solitude before solidifying an opinion on the author, but I must say my expectations have been lowered.

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