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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 13:29 GMT
Iran ban for Garcia Marquez novel
Copies of Garcia Marquez's book in the original Spanish
The book was first published in its original Spanish in 2004
The latest novel by Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez has been banned in Iran - but only after censors noticed its title had been sanitised.

The book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, was published in Farsi as Memories of My Melancholy Sweethearts.

The first edition of 5,000 had sold out before the authorities realised.

The novel tells the story of a man who wants to mark his 90th birthday by sleeping with a 14-year-old virgin in a brothel and ends up falling in love.

Iran's culture ministry said a "bureaucratic error" had led to permission being granted for the book's publication, the Fars news agency reported. The official responsible had been sacked, Fars said.

The book sold out within three weeks of arriving in Iranian bookshops.

But the book angered religious conservatives who drew the authorities' attention to its original title and content.

The ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, which must approve all publications in Iran, then refused to issue a permit to allow the book to be reprinted.

Iran has tightened censorship of books since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1982, is popular in Iran, which has published many of his books, including One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores relates the life of an aged man who had always slept with prostitutes but who wants on the night he turns 90 to give himself a night of "wild love" with an adolescent virgin.

A brothel madam finds a girl for him, but when he arrives at the brothel the girl is asleep.

From then on, he spends every night watching the girl sleep, finding love at the end of his life.

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