Gabriel García Márquez' Memories of My Melancholy Whores illuminates another deep tropic province of the world he created in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Here we overhear the stoic yet sensual introspection of an aged esthete and voluptuary who had slept with 514 women by the time he was fifty. But what I prize most in this cunning story-telling are the pithy aperçus that distill so much in single phrases, such as when he hears Bruckner's String Quintet as "an edenic oasis in the cataclysm of his work." Or when he speaks of "the ascetic lyricism of Satie" or of "the blind impetus with which the twentieth century came on the scene." The marvelous translation is by Edith Grossman (translator of Don Quixote). She produces extraordinary colloquial equivalents of the most difficult passages—all the more remarkable since English is not a Siamese twin to Spanish (as is Italian).
—Recommended by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights Books
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.
Tender, knowing, and slyly comic, Memories of My Melancholy Whores is an exquisite addition to the master's work.