António Lobo Antunes is an author that amazes me ever time I read him. His prose is so fresh and unique, seldom dipping to cliché and often soaring to the realms generally reserved for poetry. I realize that his works are translated from the Portuguese and since I know no Portuguese I am at the mercy of the translator, but I still find them exquisite. Antunes is not a traditional writer and his novels are full of wild imagery, surrealistic events, and experimental construction (standard punctuation and those welcome novelistic conventions such as chapters and paragraphs are usually missing or twisted in some imaginative way).
I have a small library of titles by Antunes that I have yet to read so I am looking forward to the pleasure for many years to come; of course, at my age I might need to speed up the process if I want to get them all in. Right now I am reading Knowledge of Hell, which is an earlier selection from the Experiment Fiction group (XFX) I am just now getting to.
Here is a list of novels by António Lobo Antunes from Wikipedia. They are all highly recommended (even the ones I have yet to read):
- Memória de Elefante (1979) Elephant’s Memory
- Os Cus de Judas (1979) The Land at the End of the World (available in English)
- Conhecimento do Inferno (1980) Knowledge of Hell (available in English)
- Explicação dos Pássaros (1981) An Explanation of the Birds (available in English)
- Fado Alexandrino (1983) Fado Alexandrino (available in English)
- Auto dos Danados (1985) Act of the Damned (available in English)
- As Naus (1988) The Return of the Caravels (available in English)
- Tratado das Paixões da Alma (1990) Treatise on the Soul’s Passions
- A Ordem Natural das Coisas (1992) The Natural Order of Things (available in English)
- A Morte de Carlos Gardel (1994) The Death of Carlos Gardel
- O Manual dos Inquisidores (1996) The Inquisitors’ Manual (available in English)
- O Esplendor de Portugal (1997) The Splendor of Portugal (available in English)
- Exortação aos Crocodilos (1999) Exhortation to the Crocodiles
- Não Entres Tão Depressa Nessa Noite Escura (2000) Don’t Go Through That Dark Night So Fast
- Que Farei Quando Tudo Arde? (2001) What Can I Do When Everything’s on Fire? (available in English)
- Boa Tarde às Coisas Aqui em Baixo (2003) Good Evening to the Things From Here Below
- Eu Hei-de Amar uma Pedra (2004) I Shall Love a Stone
- Ontem Não te vi em Babilónia (2006) Didn’t See You In Babylon Yesterday
- O Meu Nome é Legião (2007) My Name Is Legion
- O Arquipélago da Insónia (2008) Archipelago of Insomnia
- Que Cavalos São Aqueles Que Fazem Sombra no Mar? (2009) What Are Those Horses That Shade In The Sea?
- Sôbolos Rios Que Vão (2010)
Several years ago I read a novel by the Portuguese writer titled The Siege of Lisbon. It was a love/hate endeavor with my appreciation of the author’s keen observations on life and excellent prose (in translation) often masked by the shear energy it took to concentrate on the dense text. I was so relieved when I finished the last page that I immediately grabbed a copy of the latest Kinky Friedman opus and tried to drown my brain in inanity. Since then I have read many novels by Saramago and have gained a huge appreciation for his writing and his thinking. This is one author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature that I can openly approve … in fact, he deserves two awards.
I was down at the Book Exchange this morning and picked up a copy of a recent work, Death with Interruptions, that was published only five years before the author’s own death. I see that there are a couple of even newer novels I have missed, one published postumously. Adding Saramago back into my reading list is good for me but I also want to emphasize that everyone should read this author. I have suggested in the past that new readers of Saramago might want to consider the paired novels, Blindness and Seeing; I believe they even adapted Blindness to the cinema.
Here is a list of José Saramago’s fiction. I was very partial to All The Names and since I have three or four Saramago novels on my shelf, I think I’m getting ready for an author binge.
- Terra do Pecado (Land of Sin)
- Os Poemas Possíveis (Possible Poems)
- Provavelmente Alegria (Probably Joy )
- Deste Mundo e do Outro (This World and the Other)
- A Bagagem do Viajante (The Traveller’s Baggage)
- As Opiniões que o DL teve (Opinions that DL had)
- O Ano de 1993 (The Year of 1993)
- Os Apontamentos (The Notes)
- Manual de Pintura e Caligrafia (Manual of Painting and Calligraphy)
- Objecto Quase (Quasi Object )
- Levantado do Chão (Raised from the Ground)
- Viagem a Portugal (Journey to Portugal )
- Memorial do Convento (Baltasar and Blimunda)
- O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis)
- A Jangada de Pedra (The Stone Raft)
- História do Cerco de Lisboa (The History of the Siege of Lisbon)
- O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ)
- Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness)
- Todos os Nomes (All the Names)
- O Conto da Ilha Desconhecida (The Tale of the Unknown Island)
- A Caverna (The Cave)
- A Maior Flor do Mundo (Children’s Picture Book)
- O Homem Duplicado (The Double)
- Ensaio sobre a Lucidez (Seeing)
- Don Giovanni ou o Dissoluto Absolvido (Don Giovanni, or, Dissolute Acquitted)
- As Intermitências da Morte (Death with Interruptions)
- As Pequenas Memórias (Small Memories)
- A Viagem do Elefante (The Elephant’s Journey)
- Caim (Cain)
I have given the titles in both Portuguese and the English Translation for those who read Portuguese. Note that not all the early works are available in English at this time.