Memories of My Melancholy Whores

Wow. I loved this book. I'm not sure I can even call it a book because it's five chapters and 115 pages but it is considered a book... and I loved it. I love it in that weird way that I love Lolita. But actually, I don't love it the same way I love Lolita. I suppose I am ashamed to love it in the way I am ashamed to love Lolita. Because it's great, but has a disturbing premise.

Ok - enough of my cryptic elusiveness. This novel is about an old man who has never been in love and on his 90th birthday decides the one thing he would like to gift himself is an underage virgin. Said virgin turns out to be 14 and said 90-year-old falls in love with her before he ever makes love to her. Creepy preface, I know (hello comparison to Lolita!) but this mans love for the young girl, who he begins to call Delgadina, prompts him to reconsider and evaluate the conflict of growing old but feeling young, death, love and beauty. Ultimately the old man is forever changed by his love for Delgadina.

But then, I'm not sure if he even loved her at all. I'm not sure if we're meant to believe he did. Maybe he did, or maybe it was just the idea of her. After all, the title of the book is Memories of My Meloncholy Whores and I think thats what this man feel in love with; his memories of this girl. The fact that in his own mind she was whatever he wanted her to be. He romanticized the idea of her and didn't really get to know her at all. Upon the girl's 15th birthday the old man comments, "It troubled me that she was real enough to have birthdays". And later:

"From then on I had her in my memory with so much clarity that I could do what I wanted with her. I changed the color of her eyes according to my state of mind: the color of water when she woke, the color of syrup when she laughed, the color of light when she was annoyed. I dressed her according to the age and condition that suited my changes of mood... Today I know it was not a hallucination but one more miracle of the first love of my life at the age of ninety.
Which of course, lends itself to the idea that the very thought of someone and how you make them out to be in your head can actually become an ideal version of that perons. That maybe you have fallen in love with the idea of someone, or the person that you create them to be, rather than the actual soul behind the pretty face. Again, while the premise itself is a bit disturbing, the ideas and feelings behind this novel are very real and very relatable. In a strange way that I can't describe Marquez invited me into this sick and twisted love story and left me thinking "oh my God... this is soooo fantasic". We are never meant to understand the old man as unbalanced or dangerous - he is simply a man who has never been in love and has found it in this girl.So, I recommend this book to anyone who can get passed the 90-year-old obessed with a 14 year-old girl.

Published by: Vintage
Year of First Edition: 2004


  1. I haven't read a Marquez for years. Reading your review... I agree, the book sounded creepy at first but I now understand what its about...life, love. It actually sounds less disturbing than Lolita which I didn't like at all.

  2. Much less disturbing than Lolita, yes. Thank goodness :)

  3. Great blog..stopping by from the blog hop links :)


  4. Hey there! I just read (and reviewed) this book too! Had to study it for my English class. If not for it, I would have never picked up this book.

    Seems like Marquez likes his characters' ages to be far apart from each other. One will be too old and the other too young. And yeah, from the surface, it's kind of gross thinking about a 90-year-old man and 14-year-old girl.

    Here's my review of the book.

    I came here from the blog hop too! :)


  5. I find it really interesting that you say you're 'ashamed' to like these books. I will happily and unashamedly let everyone know how much I love Lolita. I adore books with disturbing undertones, and I think it's important that I'm not embarrassed about it. So don't be ashamed, embrace it!

    With that said, I'm promptly adding this to my TBR. I've never read anything by this author and I love these themes.

  6. stopping in via the blog hop great blog keep up the good work

    mine is http://www.communitybookstop.com

  7. Bethany - Thanks for pointing this out. I've never thought about it that way but you are totally right!

  8. The title is certainly an attention grabber.

  9. I haven't read anything by this author...yet, but it seems he may have some intriguing thoughts (albeit creepy!).

    Here's mine:


  10. Stopping by on the Hop. My Hop is here.

    Happy Friday. :)

    From the Shadows

  11. Good review, I'll need to pick this one up. I've only read G.G.M.'s two biggies - One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. But, I liked both quite a bit. Also recently read and enjoyed Lolita.

  12. I hopped by and have become a follower of you blog... My blog: http://www.primoreads.com/

  13. Just "hopping" by to say HI! Looking forward to reading your reviews :D

    Have a great weekend!

    Vanessa :D
    {Don't forget to check out our NEW bookish Vlog! Thanks!!}
    Book ♥ Soulmates

  14. I always feel like I have a dirty little secret while reading Lolita. Memories of My Meloncholy Whores sounds like it's on the same caliber (and I mean that in a good way).
    Happy Friday! I have an award for you.

  15. Hi Brenna - I'm glad I found your blog through the hop. I always look at Garcia Marquez and am put off by the whole magical realism thing but maybe I'll give this a go.
    Look forward to reading more. I love Wuthering Heights too!

  16. Hopping over from the blog hop. I love your blog!



  17. Hello! I'm stopping in from the blog hop. I was sold on your blog the minute I saw you had reviewed both Marquez and Bronte.

    I haven't read this particular book yet, but I've read quite a bit of his other works, including the short stories. He has such a talent for making the absurd seem completely organic. I would imagine that is part of what would lead someone to love a story such as this in spite of the creepy premise.

  18. Krista - This is my first Marquez and yes, he does make the absurd seem completely organic. Well put!

  19. Hopping on by. I just discovered your blog and became a follower. I hope you can return the visit at http://www.booksnob-booksnob.blogspot.com

  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your site -- the design is super-cute!