Review Kenangan Perempuan Penghibur yang Melankolis

Sabtu, 17 Maret 2012





Kenangan Perempuan Penghibur yang Melankolis

by Gabriel García Márquez, Dian Vita Ellyati (Translator)

Karya ini indah sekali. Memories of My Melancholy Whores bukan sekedar kisah seorang lelaki yang menemukan Eros tepat pada waktunya, melainkan tentang betapa ide itu selalu terus berayun-ayun di atas kepala kita, bahkan sampai saat terakhir dalam hidup kita.

Prosa Marquez yang kaya dengan kecerdikannya dalam merangkai cerita, menunjukkan kita pada sebuah kesadaran baru dalam kehidupan kita. Marquez dipandang sebagai tokoh utama dari gaya sastra realisme magis. Dalam novel pendek ini kita akan menikmati sebuah cerita yang lembut, bertutur lincah, mempesona, dan mengusik simpul-simpul indera perasa. Memories of My Melancholy Whores adalah sebuah karya tambahan yang sangat indah dari sang master

Selasar Surabaya Publishing 2009

Dahlia: Untuk keeper : Yang g tangkep bgini keep, tokohnya (tua bangka nyentrik sok idealis) yang sedang berulang tahun ke 90 ingin menghadiahi dirinya sendiri dengan perempuan muda perawan (g langsung inget Syek Puji!)

Tanpa diduga, dia malah jatuh cinta ma perempuan itu. Dia memujanya dalam khayalan tanpa mau melihat kenyataannya,tapi...keadaan mengatakan lain. Akhirnya karena cinta, dia terpaksa harus mulai jujur dan menghadapi realitas. Cinta sejati itu datang terlambat yang katanya masih mending daripada tidak datang sama sekali (jangan tanya ngapain aja neh tokoh selama 90 tahun hidupnya bersama ratusan cewek keep,cuma tidur duank keknya). G geli memikirkan kakek tua mabuk cinta,aneeeeeh... Terus...g bener2 ga bisa melepaskan si tokoh kakek tua dari sosok Florentino Ariza di Love in the Time of Cholera.

Udah ya? itu aja...thx bukunya. Ntar sore g balikin lagi :D *malaju ke kantin, klaperan*

Cindy: Sampai lebih dari setengah buku ini kubaca, belum juga kudapat apa kemauan penulis menulis cerita ini. Tapi setelah halaman terakhir selesai, barulah kusadar, bahwa tema cerita telah disampaikan dengan sangat halus, menggugah, dan tentu saja MELANKOLIS.

Seorang laki-laki tua, getir, miskin, sendirian, kesepian, tidak punya kebanggan apapun. Seumur hidupnya yang puanjaaang itu tak pernah sekalipun mengenal cinta. Malam-malam masa mudanya dihabiskan di ranjang pengantin semalam para pelacur yang dipilih karena harganya daripada keterikatannya, dalam gelap agar dapat membayangkan diri sendiri lebih baik daripada adanya.

Lalu dari keinginan antah berantah, pada ulang tahunnya ke-90 menghadiahi dirinya sendiri gadis perawan belasan tahun, 'calon pelacur' cilik yang siang harinya bekerja sebagai buruh pabrik. Dari gadis ini, yang selalu tertidur karena kelelahan dan obat penenang, ia malah belajar tentang cinta, rasa cemburu, rasa memiliki dan takut kehilangan. Tanpa perkenalan, tanpa sentuhan fisik, tanpa kesadaran. Hanya kebersamaan di hening malam.

GGM menuliskan tentang Cinta, di waktu dan tempat yang sama sekali tak terduga. Hanya cinta. Titik.


Note: Aku bukan penggemar berat tanda-tanda baca, bahkan seringkali sebal, saat tesis diobrak-obrik dengan tinta merah oleh dosen pembimbing hanya karena 'hal sepele' tsb. Tapi setelah baca buku ini, baru terasa, bahwa tanda kutip /"..."/ dan spasi / / dan pergantian alinea itu ternyata penting sekali. Ha!!! ^_^

Amanda: On a certain level, I truly enjoyed "Memories of My Melancholy Whores". I am always ready to be swept up in the simple whimsy of G.G.M's language, and the sweeping romance and dramatic emotion of his work always appeals to me. But on another very real level I found this book disturbing and sexist.
The book's theme is strikingly reminiscent of "Talk to Her", a recent Almodovar film. Both deal with men who build flowery romantic/erotic relationships in their minds with a completely passive sleeping woman. In the film, the man in question is a nurse in a hospital caring for an accomplished ballerina who is in a coma. In "Melancholy Whores", the "lover" is a man who has just turned ninety and falls in love with a 14 year old prostitute who he visits every night while she sleeps deeply (possibly drugged).
If you choose to put aside the creepy elements and focus on the romantic sentiment and poetic pedestal that Delgadina (the name the old man invents for his nameless "whore") is placed atop, the book is a very beautiful reflection on the need for love and the degradations of aging. If you can't put is aside, this is a story of a strange pedophilic attachment that certainly should not be romanticized.
Both the Almodovar film and this book romanticize and rhapsodize about the perfectly passive woman-- a woman as little more than an object-- and construct fantasy relationships with someone who never speaks, or even opens her eyes. I once saw an issue of Hustler that had this photo of "The Ideal Woman". She had Jack Daniels coming out of one nipple, and milk out of the other. Guacamole issued from her nether regions and stuffed in her mouth was a tampon. The caption explained that since this woman menstruated from her mouth she was completely silent for about a week every month. This is, of course, disgustingly crude, but take away the frills of magical realism and I feel like "Memories of My Melancholy Whores" is not that different.

There are definite high points. The protagonist's reflections on aging were sharp and funny. The epic nature of the love described in the text whips you away on a Sleeping Beauty/Beauty and the Beast fairy-tale romance that evokes true punch-in-the-stomach emotion.

But in the end, this "princess" is a pre-pubescent prostitute who slaves away sewing on buttons all day to take care of her family and spends her nights fondled and admired by an aged delusional "beast", who will never take her away from reality in princely fashion. In the end, for me anyway, the ick factor breaks the spell.

Hilda: I really didn't like this story. The writing as always was wonderful - the descriptions, the language, the character development - all excellent. The story however was extremely disturbing and sad.

Chapter 1 in particular, when the narrator describes how upon turning 90 he decided he wanted to have sex with a young virgin was appalling. Then the local madam finds a 14 year old, poor, illiterate girl for him. He goes to see her and finds her asleep because she had been so afraid she had to be sedated. Although he doesn't have sex with her because she's asleep, he describes her naked body in detail - describing her pre-pubescent breasts, etc. It was disgusting and disturbing.

This book wasn't written in a time when this was even discreetly acceptable, it was written in 2004 when it is considered by most societies, certainly Garcia-Marquez's society as taboo. He did it to shock and titillate - well all it did was disgust me. He's a brilliant writer, he doesn't need these gimmicks.

Charu: Powerful book of a decrepit man taking refuge in lechery ??!!!! I don't think in enjoyed it much !

This was given to me by a friend and i loathed it in the purest sense ! The plot was repulsive based on pedophilia and prostitution...a nonagenarian who decides to bed a virgin on the eve of his ninetieth birthday (assuming it would be his last fling before death)

Author neither could make it erotic nor could he do any justice to the debate "love over sex" (the polemic quote - "sex is the consolation for not finding enough love" was my favorite one in the book)...

But, certainly the book does give few profound, yet amusing revelations ! The protagonist who in the first case - an old madam who wanted so much to procure a young virgin for his 90th birthday...never sleeps with her and finds himself touched by her innocence...arghhh....a bit too much, even for being considered as "magical realism" !! I felt more disturbed with the ignoble idea of a man who'd spent his entire life purchasing women than feeling pity for a man whose life appears to be empty and sad.

Ida: Memoria de mis putas tristes...I LOVE Gabriel García Marquez. He weaves his magical realism right into your brain and it's like I was peeking in through a window rather than reading.

I've read a few not so good reviews of this novella and they cannot be more wrong. Yes, Gabo's intricate magical realism is not as pronounced as it is say in Cien años de soledad (100 Years of Solitude), but it's definitely there. If you missed it, I suggest you go back and reread because it is there.

This was a short and bittersweet read. I felt like I was starving waiting for a 3 course meal and got only the appetizer. This book let me read it so quickly that it left me with a hungry, hollow empty feeling. So, I read it again as soon as I finished it and I found many new tidbits to fill me up.

Nostalgia and melancholy...blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb and star fruit topped with smooth fluffy cream...all that sweet and tart that just kinda explodes into your mouth. So bitter inside my mouth that I felt tears welling in my throat then suddenly the sweetness of the cream and everything seemed like pure bliss. Yellows, reds, greens, blues and pure pure white. Something about the way GGM writes that he evokes colors and flavors vs just words on the page.

Don't miss the point, this novella, as I've seen commented, is not just about a lonely old man who never found true love nor do I think it's Gabo's farewell to his readers. Don't let brevity lead you to think this is a shallow little story. This novella delves into some deep themes like love, sexuality, prostitution, pedophilia, aging, soul searching and, one of my favorite themes, the lover and the beloved. Oh and it has a moral.

I highly recommend you read this...twice even. On and if you can, read it in Spanish. The translation is great, but some things just don't translate.

Elana: An old man at the end of his life wakes one morning with the desire to sleep with a young virgin. This desire seems natural for a man who has been with many women, all of which he had to pay for. On the surface our protagonist seems like a dirty old man with no regard for anyone but himself, but as we take a look into his quaint life we realize that he, like any other person faced with the finality of time, is reflecting on his own life with nostalgia and perhaps a bit of regret.

The reader may feel disgust towards this ninety year old man desiring a much younger woman at first, but as Marquez writes on it is hard not to feel sympathy for the man who has never experienced true love. He's never made love to a woman he's loved, and he is fully aware of the void of intimacy in his life. All these events have led him to the young girl he calls Delgadina, a girl most would regard as too young for any man, and now at the eve of his life he will finally fall in love.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez' florid language successfully weaves reality with fantasy as the protagonist relays his memories. After all isn't memory just the rewriting of events past? The old bachelor recognizes that memories can be deceiving. "My only explanation is that just as real events are forgotten, some that never were can be in our memories as if they had happened." And it is with this sentiment that the old bachelor falls in love with a young girl he hardly knows, because the fantasy is much more appealing than the reality. He nevers ends up having intercourse with the young girl, perhap because that would be too real. He acknowledges that 'seeing and touching her in the flesh, she seemed less real to me than in my memory.' Instead the old man falls in love with her image something his own imagination could not tarnish.

Yzobelle: This is quite an easy read -- something that can be finished while having a haircut and an ice cream sundae after. I couldn't say much about the grandeur of this book. It's not much. But it did give me quite a number of realizations. Some are profound. Some are simply amusing. One thing that struck me is the commonality I have, at 32, with a 90-year-old man. Marquez, speaking of himself:

"I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature. ...."

Another thing that this book made me believe is that Spanish men are entertaining storytellers and naturally romantic.

Oh btw, is it just this book edition that doesn't enclose dialogs in quotation marks? The absence of that slows down the reading pace and makes it a little annoying.