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The Skinniest Novel

It has been a long time since I read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I had assumed that by now he was dead. But after reading a review in yesterday's Sunday NYT's of Marquez's new book Memories of My Melancholy Whores, I picked up a copy (and set aside Zadie Smith's On Beauty for the moment) to have something to read while traveling today on business.

I am not far on in it, although it has to be the skinniest novel on the bookshelves theses days, but there is a passage which is vintage Marquez (from what I remember anyway) and profound in what it says about getting older . . . "The truth is that the first changes are so slow they pass almost unnoticed, and you go on seeing yourself as you always were, from the inside, but others observe you from the outside."

There are also passages in the first few pages that are shocking in their power . . . "I don't have to say so because people can see it from leagues away: I'm ugly, shy, and anachronistic. But by dint of not wanting to be those things I have pretended to be just the opposite." This kind of honesty about self escapes most of us. But reading it pushes you to reflect on how you are seen and what pretenses you assume in order to hide the parts of yourself you wish weren't there.

This reading should be a geat, if short, journey.

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