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A corner for reading... the first being Marquez

Staff Reporter



A GLIMPSE OF THE MASTER: Literary critic Vaikom Murali, theatre personality T.M. Abraham and former Cusat Vice-Chancellor Babu Joseph at the reading session of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's new novel. Photo: Mahesh Harilal

KOCHI: It was a perfect beginning for a readers' club - a reading session followed by a discussion on the new work of a master.

The inauguration of the Readers' Forum at DC Books was marked by the Statewide launch of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's new novel `Memories of My Melancholy Whores.'

This is Marquez's first work of fiction in 10 years and the anticipation of the bibliophiles was palpable, `Memories of My Melancholy Whores' coming after the first part of the master story-teller's autobiography `Living To Tell the Tale.'

The new work has an ageing journalist as protagonist, who, on the eve of his 90th birthday, decides to give himself "the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin." That encounter changes his life, as he falls in love, unconditional and pure love, for the first time in his long life.

Suddenly, his weekly columns get infused with so much of life and passion that they become a hit and give him a celebrity status. In just about 100 pages, Marquez weaves the magic tale about desperation and celebration of old age and love.

"What we lack in the city is a regular readers' club, where we can read and discuss the new releases," said Babu Joseph, former Vice-Chancellor, Cochin University of Science and Technology, while inaugurating the forum before the reading session at DC Books on Tuesday evening.

Critic Vaikom Murali introduced the book to the small, but attentive, crowd at the shop. He also read out excerpts from the book.

Like all prominent writers, Marquez also serves as an introduction to quality literature. There are many more talented writers in Latin America, but none reached the acme of fame as Marquez did. And he remains a pointer to the best of what Latin American literature can offer, Mr. Murali said.

Later, talking about the work, theatre personality and former vice-chairman of Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Akademi T.M. Abraham said the book was another example of Marquez's mastery over narration. "I am not a quick reader, but I could complete the work in one-and-a-half hours. It shows the way in which the novel grips the reader," he said. Literary critic M.V. Benny also spoke.

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