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Why does he have a troubled conscience? Why would the act of telling his story ease it? Does he succeed in this goal? What is it, both physically and spiritually, that he gets instead? What is the significance of the narrator falling in love with Delgadina while she sleeps? What does he discover about himself? How has his experience with Delgadina led him to this knowledge? Why does he choose to have sex only with prostitutes?
A North American novelist celebrating love between a ninety-year-old man and a fourteen-year-old girl would very likely be condemned for endorsing child sexual abuse.
In what ways is Memories of My Melancholy Whores like a fable or fairy tale? What is the meaning of the sentence the narrator finds written in lipstick on the mirror: Who left this message?
The narrator at times doubts the reality of Delgadina. Is his love for her simply a projection onto the blank screen of her sleeping body, or is he in fact responding to her on some primal, transformative level? Why does he feel he is finally experiencing real life? In what ways has his life up to this point been unreal? If you have read any of his other work, in what ways is the experience of love treated differently in Memories of My Melancholy Whores than in his earlier writing?
Introduction On the eve of his ninetieth birthday, the unnamed narrator of Memories of My Melancholy Whores is seized by an inspiration: All his life, beginning at the tender age of eleven, he has gone to bed only with prostitutes, and many of them, so many in fact that he has twice been awarded the dubious honor of client of the year by the town brothels.