Gabriel García Márquez has always left his readers mesmerized with his writing, the account of details in his stories and the perception one has towards unworldly situations. IT has always made me a better judge at perceiving situations on a daily basis too. Marques has always left me pondering over the conclusion to every book of his I’ve read.
A bright yellow backdrop with the image of a young girl lying on a bed, with the look of utter indifference, does justice to the story that follows this cover.
The narrator, the 90 year old columnist who talks about his life which revolves around his work by day and the whorehouses by night. His encounter with the Madam, Rosa Cabarcas, who introduces him to the nameless 14-year old girl, whom he names Delgadina, after he falls in love with her. The story has been woven around various characters who were a part of the narrator’s life, from the time he entered the whorehouse at the age of 12.
The narrator, presently 90 years of age, is a columnist writing for the local papers. On the eve of his 90th birthday, he has a request to Rosa Cabarcas, the Madam of the most sort after whorehouse in the town, for a night with a virgin. Rosa Cabarcas, with her usual flair for achieving the impossible, in the shortest duration of time, arranges for his request. Little did he know that this night would get him to question all about his life and himself?
When he meets the 14-year old girl on the night of his birthday, he is awestruck by her presence, her aura of simplicity, of serenity that he falls in love with her. And this, at the age of 90, gets him to face and feel certain emotions and thoughts he never had until that point of time. He names her Delgadina, after the heroine of a medieval ballad that tells the story of the incestuous love of a king for his youngest daughter. His belief of age, being a feeling and not the appearance of a person, is questioned after his encounter with Delgadina, who has not spoken to him but is always asleep at his arrival, after her exhausting day which she spends working to support her family of siblings. The narrator realizes how he prefers her this way, every time he meets her.
The events that follow are an insight to his life thereafter. His contemplation of the events in his life, starting from how his curiosity at the age of 12 led him to the upper floors of the whorehouse that set to change his perception of ecstasy, of longing and his idea of happiness, to the various encounters he has had with women every night.
Márquez, in this most twisted tale of realism and romance, has taken into account the way life always has its circle of events and how one would never fail to face his own demons.
The entire tale is written in the first person narrative. The narrator tells the story of his life, of love that’s new to him, and of how he writes about love and his experiences in his columns, thereafter.
The style of writing is simply mind blowing. The narration of the events and the way they are all intertwined has been elegantly done. The plot is something one would have thought of at some point of time, but reading this book makes one get a bit of an insight into a man, 90 years of age, in love with a girl who can pass off as his grand-daughter.
None. Absolute delight reading this.
The book is definitely an insight to some of the natural ways of a person’s perception to desire, to the definition of being in love, and to the ways we anticipate situations when things don’t go the way we planned it to. Every reader will definitely perceive this book in a different way and that’s the beauty of it.
To all the curious minds out there.
Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.
Morality, too, is a question of time.
Just as real events are forgotten, some that never were can be in our memories as if they happened.
The truth is I’m getting old, I said. We already are old, she said with a sigh. What happens is that you don’t feel it on the inside, but from the outside everybody can see it.
I always had understood that dying of love was mere poetic license.
Don’t let yourself die without knowing the wonder of fucking with love.