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Iran bans Marquez's latest book

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores is about a nonagenarian's tryst with a virgin.

books Updated: Nov 15, 2007 19:35 IST

Iran has banned the latest novel by celebrated Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez Memories of My Melancholy Whores, saying the initial publication of the book was a bureaucratic error, the Fars news agency reported Wednesday.

The culture ministry refused to issue a permit for the reprinting of the book, whose Farsi translation appeared under the slightly more cautious title Memories of My Melancholy Sweethearts, the agency said.



The cultural official responsible for originally authorising the book's publication has been sacked, it said. The first edition of around 5,000 copies, which hit bookshops three weeks ago, has already sold out. "The publication of this book was an error," an unnamed cultural official was quoted as saying.



"This kind of thing can happen when 50,000 books are published every year in Iran." All publications in Iran must be approved by the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance and publishers have complained of tighter censorship on new books since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.

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The novel tells the story of a nonagenarian who decides to celebrate his old age by treating himself to a night with an adolescent virgin and asks the madame of the city's most successful brothel to help. The book has angered conservatives in the Islamic republic, which applies tough screening on music, books and movies to see if they are in line with Islamic values.



The acclaimed Latin American novelist is one of the most popular writers in Iran, which has published many of his works such as One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

One Hundred Years of Solitude was banned for years in the Islamic republic but expensive photocopies and second-hand copies of its first Farsi edition could be bought on the black market.