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LT / A love for the ages

12:00:00 AM

Memories of my Melancholy Whores is a book written by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the same man who penned two other lyrical, beautiful, and enthralling novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Love in the Time of Cholera.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez. RESPECT.
(photo from the internet)
If you haven't read the book, I urge you to grab a copy and start reading right this second. And please stop reading this entry now. This post contains SPOILERS. You have been warned.

At a mere 111 pages, Memories of my Melancholy Whores is one of the shortest books I have ever read. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in power. It's not like anything I've read before. Coming-of-age stories are all the rage, but this is not one of them. This is the 'after' in a coming-of-age story.
Bestseller
The main protagonist, also the narrator the story, is a bachelor who is way past his prime. He never married; he just went from one whore to the next. Each day, he's inching closer to his inevitable death, and he is aware of it. He was old, and everything ached. So he promised himself a wild night with a virgin for his 90th birthday.

Rosa Cabarcas, the owner of the town's whorehouse, found him a 14-year-old girl. Okay, I know some of you might find the idea of a 90-year-old man having sex with a young girl quite appalling (I do, too), so let me spoil it for you: it didn't happen. The girl was far too busy sleeping. The old bachelor did not have the heart to wake her up.
Glowing reviews
What he did have the heart for was something he did not expect: love for the girl. Often, we find the idea of old people falling in love ridiculous, or perhaps even disgusting, and I don't blame you. But the novel is so beautifully-written that I found myself believing that people can find love very late into their lives.

More importantly, the novel reminded me of how romantic love can (still) be pure. They never did have sex, but their love was complete. Marriage requires consummation to be finalized, but love does not need that act to be true. I guess it was, for him, both a return to innocence, and an awakening to love. And luckily for him, the girl loved him right back, in her quiet, innocent way.

This has become one of my favorite novels since I first read it. It's written by a master, so of course it's good.

isawisay

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