Memories of My Melancholy Whores is often compared alongside Nabokov’s Lolita, through the relationships that may; or may not, occur. Outside of that, Lolita uses third-person perspectives where this novella uses an unnamed, mysterious Narrator.
Our 90-year-old unmarried Narrator has slept with hundreds of women; through the way of payment only, begins to urge for a virgin lover. Using an old contact, he meets an untouched adolescent that’s staying at his local brothel. Through the time he spends with the girl, he begins to value the true meaning of love, even though they never pass a word between them.
Memories of My Melancholy Whores Book Review
I must say, going into this book I was sceptical as hell. For one, the title could offer up so many variations on what the plot line is. And secondly, with the book being a little over 100 pages, would it live up to its perceived hype?
I’m glad to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Memories of My Melancholy Whores, much more than I expected. Well written and with an elegant air, the story is easy to read; especially given the subject matter. Marquez’s brilliance shines through the pages, drawing you into his dusty Columbian towns and then, unceremoniously throwing you into the lion’s pit.
Don’t let the title scare you
Despite first appearing as a dirty old man, the Narrator begins to show deeper signs of human affection; towards both the girl and her madame. His eternal loneliness is what drives him towards change, towards sharing his life with another.
However, the Narrators conversion to narrative does lead to an unprecedented look into his everyday life and feelings, even if they can’t all be trusted.
Closing Thoughts on Memories of My Melancholy Whores
This novella is not just about finding significance in love but the reality of one’s mortality. As the Narrator draws nearer to death he becomes more nostalgic about his life and the time (as well as money) he spent with the prostitutes.
He reiterates throughout that those around him, who’ve reached his age, have died. Not only does this show his long life but also the focus he has on his own death. Couple this with his new-found idea of not dying alone, it’s this unfulfilled life that keeps him up at night and yearning for more.“No matter what, nobody can take away the dances you've already had.” - Gabriel García Márquez Click To Tweet
Furthermore, his loveless liaisons that bring no joy or happiness are what awakens a desire for more… for love.
Both poetic and sensual many have condemned this book as sick, with the main character who’s nothing more than a dirty old man. It’s those that aren’t able to look beyond their own ideals of life that discredit this book as tawdry.
In my opinion, it is the books central focus of both beauty and age, along with what it speaks of man’s love for another; all-be-it in a rather extreme example, that makes this book so great.