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Friday, October 22, 2004

Love in the Time of Chlamydia

The other day I wrote about the one plot of the modern novel:

1) Dullard is disappointed in his mundane life.
2) Dullard blames this on family/spouse/Society, rather than dullardism.
3) Dullard turns to substance abuse/wild sex.
4) Astonishingly, this fails to cure him of his dullardism, and his disappointment remains. Unless he kills himself.

So yesterday I saw this article, about how Gabriel García Márquez has published his first book in a decade, and made some last-minute changes because pirates were already selling half-price knockoffs on the street. The book is titled Memories of My Melancholy Whores:

The long-awaited novella explores love, sex and life by telling the story of a male journalist who decides to celebrate his 90th birthday by having sex with a young virgin.


"...the novel celebrates ... the complete happiness of someone who over the years has learned that there's more pleasure in choosing to say no than there is in satisfying all of one's carnal desires," R.H. Moreno-Durán, a Colombian writer, told the Colombian weekly newspaper Cambio."

The Guardian elaborates:

Set in Colombia in the mid-1950s, it tells how an elderly journalist decides he must celebrate his 90th birthday by taking the virginity of a 14-year-old prostitute. But, when he is presented with the ideal candidate, she has been drugged by the brothel madam and refuses to wake up.

Damn. Does no one understand the meaning of quality anymore?

For nights on end he observes, strokes, kisses, reads to, sings to and sleeps beside the always dormant object of what becomes a tormented, jealous, but life-giving, love.

"Sex is the consolation that you are left with when you do not attain love," he concludes, having kept a record of more than 500 prostitutes he has slept with.

(Nights on end? What did they give that poor child?)

Which reminds me of an alternate ending to the modern novel:

4) Dullard learns something everyone else figured out decades before. Author is proud of his insight.
5) Other dullards swoon over the novelist's genius, award him pretentious literary prizes.
6) Public yawns, buys more Stephen King novels.
7) Stephen King sells enough books to buy Colombia.