Dear Memories of my Melancholy Whores,
Love is a peculiar thing. We never know when it will strike, and for you it was 90 years old. I enjoyed seeing the change in you as love grew and changed. I’m glad I got the chance to meet you.
P.S. Book Details
Author: Gabriel García Márquez
Book Length: 115 pages/ 4 hours
Book Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: February 2004 (translated to English in 2006)
Awards: Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (2005)
Synopsis: On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting, but exhausted as she is from caring for siblings and her job sewing buttons, she can do little but sleep. Yet with this sleeping beauty at his side, it is he who awakens to a romance he has never known.
Love has the power to transform a person, no matter the age.
The statement above is the main takeaway from the book for me. I usually enjoy a Gabriel García Márquez book, and while I did enjoy this book, I found myself recoiling at the perception of Delgadina (the name the nameless narrator attributes to his paid dalliance). She was exactly how he, the narrator, liked women – asleep. He explicitly said he preferred her asleep. So, basically, all he wanted was a silent woman who allowed him to feel like a man?
Noticing the changes in the narrator were interesting, and I think the premise is interesting of loving a person who remains asleep for the entire relationship. He only knew her in the visions he had of her. Is this love? Lust? Something in between? Can a person really love another solely for their beauty and what they can do for the other? It doesn’t sound like the healthiest relationship, for either individual involved. Yet, I have to be careful, because I am bringing my own bias and worldview influence my perceptions. I was reminded by another reviewer on Goodreads about the concept of a “sleeping beauty” being a theme in other fairy tales and stories, before this book. So, perhaps I am being too critical of Márquez.
In summary, while the theme was a little off-putting, when I look past my minor annoyances, this was a good book. It has Márquez’ unique voice, and I was drawn in as a reader. I am left to ponder on my own, what is love? How does a small thing like love change the course of a persons life? And, will this relationship last for the narrator?
If you are prepared to look past the woman who is merely a piece property, in my view, this book is worth reading. It highlights a man living in a dream-state, who is awakened by a sleeping girl. His awakening unfolds, turning his life upside-down. The story which ensues is a thought provoking piece on our perceptions of reality in the different seasons of life.