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review 2017-06-15 00:00
Whores for Gloria
Whores for Gloria - William T. Vollmann,Gloria Vollman https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/161848367868/whores-for-gloria-by-william-t-vollmann

…I haven’t told the truth for so long now that I’ve given up lying.

William T. Vollmann’s name has come up often and been noticed on lists of books deserving to be remarked upon. For some reason I have resisted reading him, but my being recently compared to him by another writer I am intimate with, I decided to examine a bit of the fuss behind the legend of Vollmann. Whores for Gloria signals my starting point. And what a point it is.

…Virgin Mary candy full of sunlight and ocean fruit…

The narrator’s voice is natural and through the use of no punctuation the dialogue between all the players is easy to discern, understand, and know at all times just who is talking. But the subject matter perhaps excludes too many of us on purpose. And I like it that Vollman’s work is exclusionary. Becomes a sort of fraternity I have been temporarily made member of. In this particular case a membership in what might be referred to as a gutter club. Flying dirt balls of emotion and most certainly a fated dead end. It is obvious to me that Vollmann has studied his whoring subjects well. His disturbed protagonist is named Jimmy.

It isn’t easy for me being this close-up to Vollmann. Too few pages of pure joy, reading pleasures somehow massaging the pain and loss that permeates everything everywhere. Jimmy’s absent love conjured up in real time, futile attempts at recovering some sense of belonging in the world, even in light of his daily encounters with a confounding nature called time. And sadly, time being something apparently needing to end for him.

…alley by alley I will search and destroy…he could not believe that he was actually remembering anything because he had not done that since before he started drinking, and he felt uneasy…

In light of Jimmy’s incessant delusion in his remembrance of his long-lost Gloria the story is as much about forgetting. Fueled by alcohol his escape from the horrors of the Vietnam War seemed to morph into a parallel fantasy regarding the woman of his dreams brought to life through the seedy culture of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

One night Riley hopped a freight into town, and because he had been living the life of himself he was in bad shape.

For me, my first exposure to William T. Vollmann was portend, portend, portend. And for more of that I will be back. [b:Butterfly Stories|45683|Butterfly Stories|William T. Vollmann|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348089356s/45683.jpg|44857] is calling.
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review 2015-02-21 00:00
Memories of My Melancholy Whores
Memories of My Melancholy Whores - Gabriel García Márquez "The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin."

This is the first period of the book. So, from the beginning, we know this novella is about a veeery old man getting involved with a teenager.

Give me a moment to process that.

So that is why some reject this story as misogynistic. I can understand that. But if we are to reject characters so bluntly, then what is the point of reading? One of the perks of appreciating high literature is that it increases empathy, not lessen it.

Whenever we see an old man with a much younger woman, we smell mid-life crisis from kilometres away. With our 90-year old protagonist, it is the same. His desire for a younger woman stems from his insecurities of an (extreme) old age. And this relation stand throughout all the story.

So, are we reproaching the protagonist for using an innocent girl for sexual validation, or are we using his misbehaviour as a lesson about the perks of ageing, of absence of love, of carrying of life without greater sentiment, or even the vulgar problem of sex vs. love?

Forgive me, but I think I can take something good from this.

And the writing style is very flowy, the wording exact; it is the best paced Marquez I ever read.

So I can see why it irritates some, but overall it stands as an excellent piece of work.
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review 2015-01-07 00:00
Wizards & Whores
Wizards & Whores - Addison Garr I almost gave up. I thought I knew where it was going, but how wrong could I be? The characters were likeable - even when they were annoying each other. The plot was as ridiculous as you'd expect it to be. In fact I enjoyed it so much I missed my bus stop and had an extra walk!
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review 2014-10-08 00:00
Memories Of My Melancholy Whores
Memories Of My Melancholy Whores - Edith Grossman,Gabriel García Márquez This beautifully written and provocatively-titled novella follows a lonely commitment-phobe who, on his 90th birthday, wants a night of mad passion with an adolescent virgin. But instead of the usual heartless, physical sex he has had 514 times in his life, he finally finds real love in the form a young hooker in the midst of a deep sleep.
"I was ignorant of the arts of seduction and had always chosen my brides for a night at random, more for their price than their charms, and we had made love without love, half-dressed most of the time and always in the dark so we could imagine ourselves as better than we were. That night I discovered the improbably pleasure of contemplating the body of a sleeping woman without the urgencies of desire or the obstacles of modesty."
At first glance, this story could easily be seen just as the tale of a dirty old man infatuated with a little girl, but I was taken by the deeper exploration of the emotional and physical effects of aging, the celebration of the innocent and pure, and a man finding love so late in the game and finally being rejuvenated at the terminus of his years. This book would make an interesting companion piece with Walter Mosley's [b:The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey|11012820|The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey|Walter Mosley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348357930s/11012820.jpg|11572023], with which it shares similar themes.
"“Blood circulated through her veins with the fluidity of a song that branched off into the most hidden areas of her body and returned to her heart, purified by love. Before I left at dawn I drew the lines of her hand on a piece of paper and gave it to Diva Sahibí for a reading so I could know her soul.”"
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review 2014-07-11 00:00
Memories of My Melancholy Whores
Memories of My Melancholy Whores - Gabriel García Márquez 3 1/2

It moves well, easy to get through. Garcia Marquez has a smooth writing style. The MC is interesting, if not particularly likeable. But I think Garcia Marquez took the 'while she was sleeping' gimmick too far.
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