Memories of my Melancholy whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

memories of my Melancholy whores

Memories of my Melancholy whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Columbian fiction

Original title – Memoria de mis putas tristes

Translated by Edith Grossman

Source – Library

Well I decide a while ago when news of Gabriel Garcia Marquez having dementia and not in the best of health at this moment in time ,he has won the Nobel prize and sure is a writer I have to say little about as he is one writer in translation that seems to have crossed that magic barrier to be read by everyone regardless of it being in translation (wouldn’t it be great for more writers to break that wall in the reader’s mind )  well up to now I have only one book under review  on the blog by him so hope in coming months to add a few but not being a big rereader at best of times when I was this on in the library which I hadn’t read it seemed a great place to start .

At one time I thought these bed-inspired accounts would serve as a good foundation for a narration of the miseries of my misguided life ,and the title came to me out of the blue .Memories of my Melancholy whores .

The narrator comes up with the actual book title .

Well where to start with Memories of my Melancholy whores ,it is his last book published in English and the last but one in Spanish (that being a collection of his speeches published in Spanish in 2010 ).So the main character in the book is a unamed reporter ,he is on the verge of his 90th birthday ,he decides he wants one last fling with a teen virgin to maybe go out in a blaze of glory  .So he meets the local madam Rosa to set this up ,as we do this the man recalls past women ,the narrator the old man choose a wild life of women over love he recalls his life over the course of the book in small chunks  .He then meets the girl Rosa has found for him Delgradina ,she is 14 and perfect in the old man’s eyes, she has wonderfully flawless skin and hair , because the second he sees her for the first time in his life he falls deeply in love .He shares nights with here but Delgradina isn’t her real name ,he never finds out more about her .

She was surprised when I mentioned the name Delgradina .That isn’t her name ,she said ,her name is …. Don’t tell me I interrupted ,for me she’s Delgradina .She shrugged all right ,after all ,she’s yours,

He never even knows her real name this young girl he has fallen so much for

 

 

Well this is a clever switch on his earlier book love in the time of cholera ,florentino is the flipside of this narrator a man who meet and had to leave his true love for most of his life sleeping with many women ,waiting this story follows a man maybe not knowing it but searching for that true love .Other Marquez traits are there like a  time span narrative , like  in a number of his other books. This book although is told in the present as the man reflects and remembers  the  nine decades in which he has lived   and the changing scenery around him  ,Marquez has always been the master of regret and solitude in his books his two best novels are rife with it  both present in this book .What is this man ?What is the sum of his life ? yes he is a fairly well-known report that has in the recent times written a weekly piece on the town and its life .But is that enough ? questions always questions  in Marquez (well that is what I come away with questions of life ) false turns ,missed chances ,lost loves and that one true love .If this is his last book it is a fitting tribute to the man as it has what made him the star he has been for the last fifty years and I would say is short enough for even those none readers to try .One can say yes maybe a 90-year-old and 14 year is wrong ,but the actual sex and meeting is a sideline in this book .The main themes are Marquez stand fare .

Have you read this book ?

The dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa

dream of the Celt Mario Vargas Llosa

The dream of the Celt  by Mario Vargas Llosa

Peruvian Fiction

Translator – Edith Grossman

Original Title -El sueño del celta

Source Library

Just other two yyears ago after he had won the Nobel prize for Literature I reviewed his novel the bad Girl which I enjoyed ,this is his latest book published in Spanish in 2010 ,this translation was published last Year and done by the Wonderful Edith Grossman .Mario Vargas is easily the most well known name from Peruvian fiction this book is his 15th novel in a career that dates back to 1959 and the start of the Latin American Boom .

When in Liverpool with his cousins ,Roger sometimes conquered his timidity and Asked Uncle Edward about Africa ,a vontinent whose mere mention filled his head with Jungles ,wild animals and interpid men .

The first time we see the draw of Africa on Roger Casement

This book focus on the well Known Irish nationalist figure Sir Roger Casement ,I say well-known before I read the book I knew he was associated with Ireland had been executed by the british and he was part of some sort of scandal .So to the book Yes Roger Casement was from Ireland and the book takes you through his youth there then to time spent in Africa ,Peru and the amazon basin then back to Ireland .The book is about a man’s journey  Form Idealist , British Diplomat to Disillusioned ,humanitarian and Irish freedom Fighter .We see  this youth In Ballymena (just thought mention this it isn’t a large part but my step mother is also from this town in Northern Ireland ) he is a quiet and quite shy young man growing up much different to the figure he later became ,Then in his late teens  joining the British government as a diplomat . Where he ends up being sent to Congo ,where he see the horrors of the dying embers of the slave traders and How the white Europeans treat the natives ,whilst in Congo he meet two well-known figures in History ,the Explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley and the Novelist Joseph Conrad .Then he is sent to sort out and report back on a dispute in Peru involving the Local tribes of Indians Seven in all and The rubber company .The Indians have decided they need more rights ,because we see people whip and mistreated for not following the company lines or doing what was expected .Following all this he returns to Ireland where his views on his own home land and nation have changed radically and he ends up on the Gaol waiting to be killed  .Well  a lot as you see ,oh and he was gay and tend to like younger men than himself (rather well handle by Llosa it is easy to make this the main theme of the book ,which it could but this is a book on the wrongs of Empire really ) at a time when this was against the law .

O what has made that sudden noise?
What on the threshold stands?
It never crossed the sea because
John Bull and the sea are friends;
But this is not the old sea
Nor this the old seashore.
What gave that roar of mockery,
That roar in the sea’s roar?

The ghost of Roger Casement
Is beating on the door.

John Bull has stood for Parliament,
A dog must have his day,
The country thinks no end of him,
For he knows how to say,
At a beanfeast or a banquet,
That all must hang their trust
Upon the British Empire,
Upon the Church of Christ.

The ghost of Roger Casement
Is beating on the door.

Instead of a second quote I choose to put two verse of the W B yeats poem about Casement which is also quoted in the book

So I suppose like me reading this book on the blurb , the first name that came to mind with this book Is Conrad ,Yes it is similar settings but this is more a view of the natives downfall through a European eyes that Conrad’s books are ,I was also reminded of the recent novels by Bernardo  Atxaga  seven house in France  which I review  here and other book dealing with  the horrors in the Congo at roughly the same time as this book .Another book Ithat sprung to mind was the last but one book by Juan Gabriel Vasquez which I also reviewed on here The secret history of Costaguana another book which set in Latin america and based on a Conrad novel .Vargas has tried to show through one man the wrongs of empire and also how empires are able to fall .The horror of the treatment the locals around the world is eye-opening to you as a reader ,but also to Casement and lead him down a new path seeing these horrors .

Have you read this book ?

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