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Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The narrator in Memories of My Melancholy Whores is an unnamed 90-year old man in a Latin American city. He's a lonely journalist who's never known love and whose only, although numerous, sexual experiences have been with prostitutes or other women he's forced to accept money for sleeping with him. For his 90th birthday, he has the madam of the brothel acquire for him an adolescent virgin. When he arrives at the brothel, the 14-year girl is asleep and he's unable to rouse her. He never has sex with her and lies next to her body. Each visit follows the same pattern, although he talks to her, reads to her, and brings her presents. His life suddenly seems to have meaning and even his writing improves. Is this love or just an old man's folly? Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella (128 pages) has received mixed reviews with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Like any relationship, what is memorable about this affair is not the narrative trajectory of its story, but the exquisite details that make this particular love meaningful and unique. And because of this loving attention, what Marquez achieves in this slim narrative is no less than magnificent."